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A CFO is an enterprise at a private home where low risk food products are prepared or packaged for sale to and consumption by consumers.
Private home means a dwelling including an apartment or other leased space, where individuals reside.
A CFO can have no more than 1 full-time equivalent employee (not counting immediate family or household members).
Yes, a CFO is limited to $50,000 or less in gross sales.
Only foods that are defined as "non-potentially hazardous" are approved for preparation or packaging by CFOs. These are foods that do not require refrigeration to keep them safe from bacterial growth, which could potentially make people sick. The CDPH has established and maintains a list of approved cottage food categories on their website.
*For those foods not included on the below list, you may petition CDPH to add new items to the list on the CDPH CFO Webpage.
The following food categories are included in the current list:
Foods not included on the above list must be produced in a properly permitted commercial facility, such as a facility with Cannery License or a facility with valid Processed Food Registration (PFR) issued by the California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch. Foods other than those listed above shall not be made or packaged for resale in a home kitchen.
CFO's fall into one of two classification:
"Direct sale" means the consumer purchases the cottage food product directly from the CFO. Direct sales include, but are not limited to, transactions at holiday bazaars, bake sales, food swaps, transactions at farm stands, certified farmers markets or at a community event.
"Indirect sale" means an interaction between a CFO, a third party retailer, and a consumer, where the consumer purchases cottage food products made by the CFO from a third party retailer that holds a valid permit issued by the local Environmental Health agency in their jurisdiction. Indirect sales include, but are not limited to, sales made to retail shops or to retail food facilities where food may be immediately consumed on the premises.
All CFOs must comply with the following:
Note: There will be no water testing requirements for treated, public water supply. If you are on a private water supply such as a drilled well, you will be required to perform some water quality testing to demonstrate if your water is potable. Minimum tests required initially are bacteriological testing (potability test), nitrate, and nitrite. Bacteria testing shall be done every three months thereafter, nitrate every year and nitrite every three years.
A CFO must acquire a valid California Food Handler Card within three months of being registered or permitted. Please submit a copy of your Food Handler's Card or other valid Food Safety Certificate with your application form.
Any expansion or remodeling must be consistent with a residential home kitchen. Contact the county or city building, planning, and fire departments for approval and applicable permitting requirements. All cottage food operations including storage, preparation, assembling, and packaging/labeling shall occur inside the living space of the home. Garages, sheds, backyards, vehicles, and out buildings or any other structure or locations outside the living space are not permissible for use in your CFO.
Yes! The following apply"
Registrations and permits are non-transferable between persons, locations, types of foods, types of food sales (direct vs. indirect).
For current fees please review our fee schedule (PDF). Additional fees may be charged for inspections and/or enforcement activities if the CFO is found to be in violation of California Food Safety Laws.
Yes. Class A CFOs may only sell within Placer County. Class B CFOs may sell in another county only if you have permission from that county's Health Department to sell in their jurisdiction with a Placer County CFO permit. Additional health permits may be required to sell at other locations such as certified farmer's markets, community/temporary events, or swap meets. Please contact us for additional permit requirements.
CFO can accept orders and payments via internet, mail or phone. However, products must be delivered directly (in person) by the CFO to the customer. To deliver products via US Mail, UPS, Fed Ex or any other indirect delivery method requires a state permit/license. Contact the California Food and Drug Branch at 916-650-6500 for more information.
Only Class B CFOs from other counties may sell in Placer County. We will require a copy of your permit from your county of origin when submitting your permit application to sell in Placer County.
Class A CFO kitchens and food storage areas are not subject to initial or routine inspections. Class B CFO kitchens and food storage areas are inspected initially, prior to permit issuance, and then annually after that.
Both Class A and B are open for inspection by Environmental Health on the basis of consumer complaint, or if there is any reason to suspect that adulterated or otherwise unsafe food has been produced, or operations are found to be in violation of Food Safety Laws. Inspection activities may include viewing and copying of records, seizure of products, and taking photos. Both Class A and B are open for inspection of packaging, product handling, and labeling during community events, farmers markets, bake sales, swap meets, or any third party retailer.
All cottage food products must be properly labeled in accordance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec.343 et. seq... The label shall include:
Cottage foods sold in a permitted food facility without packaging or labeling shall be identified to the customer as homemade on the menu, menu board(s), or another easily visible location. An example of a product label can be seen on page 1 of the CFO Permit Application (PDF).
To apply for a CFO Permit or Registration, submit the following to Environmental Health:
An Environmental Health Specialist will review your application and request any changes or modifications, if necessary. Class B CFOs require an initial inspection prior to final approval, which the Specialist will schedule with you after the application is approved. Once the process is complete, the Specialist will provide you with your permit/registration number, which must be applied to each product label. A signed copy of the self certification portion of the application (page 2) will be mailed to you along with your permit or registration. Please keep your permit/registration and self certification form in a safe place as you may be requested to produce them at a later date.
Yes. The Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) are available to print.