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Resources for Starting Your Own Preserved Foods Business:
Can I sell my home preserved food?

Can I sell food made in my home kitchen?

The short answer is, "probably not." Each state is different, so proper advice is needed from a specialist in each state. Some states allow sales at farmer's markets of select foods; others prohibit sales altogether. The National Center for Home Food Preservation does NOT provide guidelines to home food preservers who wish to take the next step from home food preservation to commercial food preservation. Home food preservation is not regulated; however, food preservation and processing for commercial purposes is regulated. There are federal level regulations from the U.S. FDA (also USDA for meat and poultry products), state level regulations, and often county or city regulations. Read further to find someone who can help.

Who can help?
Processed Food Business Resources

  1. If you are wanting to sell canned, low-acid or acidified foods, also see “Acidified and Low-Acid Canned Foods”: http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/acidifiedlacf/default.htm

  2. Search through some of the internet sites from Cooperative Extension Service programs or some other state-specific sites listed below. An excellent source is this web page from Penn State University Department of Food Science: http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety/entrepreneurs

  3. Contact your county Cooperative Extension Agent to locate a program in your state or contact your state university's Food Science program. See: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html for a clickable map of contacts who can lead you to the right person. (This site is maintained by USDA, not the NCHFP.)

  4. Check your state's Department of Agriculture for resources. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture maintain a web site with links to state departments of agriculture at: http://www.nasda.org/9383/States.aspx

  5. Look for "Value Added" programs that encourage small scale processing of foods. An example of a value added process is when a strawberry grower turns his strawberries into jam. Many state university Extension or other agriculture programs, state departments of agriculture or rural development centers have value-added initiatives and assistance. An internet search using terms such as “valued added agriculture” generates a list of web sites.

  6. Check to see if your state has an incubator kitchen program. Some states have programs that help entrepreneurs develop recipes to commercialize. These are usually test kitchens that share resources. Again, state Departments of Agriculture or a state university's food science department are good leads for finding incubator programs.

  7. It is important to look for state-specific resources to help you know what regulations will apply to your situation. However, if you want to jump-start your thinking about whether a food processing business is right for you, this web page from Penn State University Department of Food Science has some links to helpful reading for early decision making: http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety/entrepreneurs/starting-a-business

Cooperative Extension Program Links

State Resources
Alabama Starting A Food Processing Business? What You Should Know Before You Get Started
(HE-753, New May 1998, Alabama Cooperative Extension System)
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/H/HE-0753/

(PDF version of above)
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/H/HE-0753/HE-0753.pdf

Alaska State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, Alaska:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#AK2

Arizona Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook
University of Arizona, Agricultural and Resource Economics:
http://ag.arizona.edu/arec/pubs/dmkt/dmkt.html

California University of California Food Safety Home page
www.ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu

Colorado

Colorado Farm to Market Website:
http://cofarmtomarket.com/

Colorado Farm to Table Food Safety:
http://farmtotable.colostate.edu/prepare.php

Colorado Department of Agriculture Resources for Food Processors:
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/ag_Markets/CBON/1251624765246

Conneticut Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship
(A Partnership of Cornell University and University of Vermont):
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu

Delaware State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, Delaware:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#DE

Florida University of Florida Center for Agribusiness:
http://www.fred.ifas.ufl.edu/agbuscenter

Georgia Getting Started in the Food Specialty Business,
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin 1051:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/business/food_business.pdf

Is Your Agribusiness Project Feasible?,
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin 1066: (pdf only)
http://www.foodscience.caes.uga.edu/extension/documents/IsYourAgribusinessFeasible.pdf

Starting a New Food Business Website, with helpful links to regulations and University of Georgia Food Science and Technology resources available to help:
http://www.caes.uga.edu/departments/fst/extension/EFS_SNFB.html

Hawaii Some Costs and Considerations for Establishing an Entrepreneurial Community Shared-Use Kitchen or "Test-Kitchen" Incubator,
University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service Publication FMT-2:
http://www2.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/FMT-2.pdf

Idaho University of Idaho Food Technology Center: http://web.cals.uidaho.edu/ftc/

Illinois Purdue University, Department of Food Science,
International Food Technology Center: http://www.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/   

Indiana Purdue University, Department of Food Science,
Food Processing Environmental Assistance Center:
http://www.fpeac.org/

Purdue University, Department of Food Science,
International Technology Center:
http://www.ag.purdue.edu/foodsci/foodtechcenter/Pages/default.aspx

Purdue University, Department of Food Science,
Workshop Offerings including Starting a Specialty Food Business in Indiana:
http://www.ag.purdue.edu/foodsci/Pages/extension.aspx#workshops

Iowa

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Value Added Agriculture website: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/valueaddedag/

Starting a Home-Based Food Business in Iowa
Iowa State University Extension Publication PM 1294:
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1294.pdf

Kansas Kansas Department of Commerce Value-Added Agriculture and Food Processing: http://www.kansascommerce.com/index.aspx?nid=638

Kentucky University of Kentucky Food Systems Innovation Center: http://www.uky.edu/fsic/

Louisiana Louisiana State University, Food Science Department:
http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/foodscience/

Massachusettes Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship
(A Partnership of Cornell University and University of Vermont):
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu

Maine ‘Thinking of Starting a Food Business’, New England Food Entrepreneurs website: http://extension.unh.edu/nefe/starting_a_food_business/index.html

Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneursheip (A Partnership of Cornell University and University of Vermont):
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu

Maryland Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center, including Food Processing in Maryland section http://mredc.umd.edu/

State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, Maryland:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#MD

Michigan Michigan State University Food Business and Regulation: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/food_business_regulation  and Product Center: http://productcenter.msu.edu/
Minnesota Guide to Starting a Local Food Business in Minneapolis: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@cped/documents/webcontent/convert_269947.pdf

University of Minnesota, Department of Food Science and Nutrition Website - Pilot Plant:
http://fscn.cfans.umn.edu/researchandservices/pilotplant/index.htm

Mississippi Considerations Before Starting a Small Food-Processing Business,
Mississippi State University Extension Service Information Sheet 1554
http://msucares.com/pubs/infosheets/is1554.htm  

Missouri University of Missouri Agricultural Business Management Programs: http://cafnr.missouri.edu/extension/programs.php

Montana Starting A Specialty Food Business,
Montana State University Extension Service Resource Guide:
http://www.msuextension.org/nutrition/documents/FoodBusinessResourceGuide.pdf


Nebraska University of Nebraska, The Food Processing Center Web Site - 
http://www.fpc.unl.edu

Nevada State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, Nevada:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#NV  

New Hampshire
New England Food Entrepreneurs http://extension.unh.edu/nefe/state_specific/state_nh.html

Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship
(A Partnership of Cornell University and the University of Vermont):
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu 

New Jersey Rutgers State University, NJ Agricultural Experiment Station Web Site -
Food Innovation Research & Extension Center (FIRE):
http://www.foodinnovation.rutgers.edu 

New Mexico New Mexico State University Food Technology: http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/foodtech/

New York Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship (at Cornell University)
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu   
North Carolina

North Carolina State University Exetnsion, Food Entrepreneur Assistance Website:
http://ncsu.edu/foodscience/extension_program/entrpreneurs.html

North Carolina State University, Cooperative Extension Web Site -
Publications for Developing a Food Business:
http://ncsu.edu/foodscience/extension_program/publications.html 

North Dakota Food Entrepreneur, your Resource Guide to the Food Industry,
North Dakota State University Extension Service Online publication:
http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodent/fex-2.html
Ohio Ohio State University, Food Industries Center:
http://foodindustries.osu.edu/

Ohio State University, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Web Site -
Small Business Series (Entrepreneurhsip, Home Business & Micro Enterprises):
http://ohioline.osu.edu/lines/busi.html#BCDEV 

Oklahoma Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center Website:
http://www.fapc.okstate.edu/ 

Oregon Oregon State university and Oregon Department of Agriculture Web Site -
Food Innovation Center:
http://fic.oregonstate.edu
Pennsylvania Penn State University, Deparment of Food Science Web Site -
Resources for Small Food Processors & Potential Entrepreneurs
http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety 

Rhode Island Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneursheip
(A Partnership of Cornell University and University of Vermont):
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu 

South Carolina Starting  A Food Business selections from Clemson Extension, Clemson University:
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/business/  

South Dakota South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Division of Ag Development Web Site -
The Value Added And Crop Marketing Program:
http://sdda.sd.gov/farming-ranching-agribusiness/value-added-crop-marketing/

State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, South Dakota:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#SD

Tennessee Getting Started in a Food Manufacturing Business in Tennessee,
University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service Publication PB1399:
https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1399.pdf

Considerations for a Value-Added Agribusiness,
University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service Publication PB1642:
https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/pb1642.pdf

Design and Construction of Food Processing Operations,
University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service Publication ADC Info #18:
http://cpa.utk.edu/pdffiles/adc18.pdf

‘Getting Started in a Food Manufacturing Business in Tennessee’ publication, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange (Trace): http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexfood/41/

Texas Texas A&M University, Texas Cooperative Extension Web Site -
Home-Based & Micro Business, Entrepreneurship:
http://fcs.tamu.edu/money/your_business/index.php

Adding Value to Agricultural Products,
Texas A&M University Agricultural Extension Service Publication L-5361:
http://nacogdoches.agrilife.org/files/2011/06/value_added_ag_11.pdf
Utah
State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, Utah:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#UT  

Vermont Northeast center for Food Entrepreneurship
(A Partnership of Cornell University and University of Vermont):
http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu  

Virginia

State Extension Food Business publications:  http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/category/food-business.html

Virginia Tech Food Innovations Program to help entrepreneurs: http://www.fcs.ext.vt.edu/fnh/food-innovations/index.html

Washington

Washington State University Extension Food Processing: http://www.foodprocessing.wsu.edu/

West Virginia State food safety contacts for Cooperative Extension Service, West Virginia:
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/directories/food/list.cfm#WV  

Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin, Cooperative Extension:
Food Business Innovation Network Web Site http://fyi.uwex.edu/foodbin/

Food and Value Added Agriculture Web Site http://fyi.uwex.edu/aic/


Wyoming Wyoming Business Council Web Site -
Promoting Products "Made in Wyoming":
http://www.wyomingbusiness.org/business/agri

University of Wyoming, Small Business Development Center website: http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.biz/

The original version of this page written by Brian A. Nummer, Ph.D. and Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph. D., National Center for Home Food Preservation, June 2006. Revised February 3, 2014 by Kasey Christian.

This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Deparment of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 00-51110-9762.

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