Home Based Food Operations



Cottage food means the production and sale of food produced at a private residence other than time/temperature control for safety food as provided in Iowa Code section 137F.20 as enacted by 2022 Iowa Acts, House File 2431, section 10, and food for resale that is not time/temperature control for safety food. “Cottage food” includes home-processed and home-canned pickles, vegetables, or fruits that have a finished equilibrium pH value of 4.60 or lower or a water activity value of 0.85 or less for which each batch has been measured by a pH meter or a water activity meter and each container that is sold or offered for sale contains the date the food was processed and canned. “Cottage food” does not include any of the following: 1. Milk or milk products regulated under Iowa Code chapters 192 and 194. 2. Meat, meat food products, poultry, or poultry food products regulated under Iowa Code chapter 189A.


Home food processing establishmentmeans a business on the premises of a residence in which homemade food items are produced for sale or resale, for consumption off the premises, if the business has gross annual sales of less than $50,000. However, “home food processing establishment” does not include a residence in which food is prepared to be used or sold by churches, fraternal societies, charitable organizations, or civic organizations. 


  • “Demonstrate control” means the ability to provide clear and convincing evidence that a home food processing establishment has implemented written standard processes and practices that are intended to control food safety hazards including but not limited to standardized recipes, standard operating procedures, personal hygiene standards, temperature monitoring records, equipment calibration records, production or batch records, sanitation records, predefined corrective actions, training documents, distribution records, and receiving records.


  • Standardized recipe means a recipe that has been tried, adapted, and retried several times for use by a given food service operation and has been found to produce the same good results and yield every time when the exact procedures are followed with the same type of equipment and same quantity and quality of ingredients. At a minimum, a standardized recipe includes the recipe name, listing of each ingredient, a measurement of each ingredient, equipment and utensils used, preparation instructions, and procedures to ensure the safety of the food.


Homemade food item means a food that is produced and, if packaged, packaged in a home food processing establishment. “Homemade food item” includes food that is not time/temperature control forsafety food but does not include such food if it is produced and sold under Iowa Code section 137F.20.Homemade food items do not include the following:

1. Unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juice;
2. Raw sprout seeds;
3. Foods containing game animals;
4. Fish or shellfish;
5. Alcoholic beverages;
6. Bottled water;
7. Packaged ice;
8. Consumable hemp products;
9. Food that will be further processed by a food processing plant or another home food processing
10. Time/temperature control for safety food packaged using a reduced oxygen packaging method;
11. Milk or milk products regulated under Iowa Code chapters 192 and 194;
12. Meat or meat food products, and poultry or poultry products regulated under Iowa Code chapter
189A, except for any of the following products when sold directly to the end consumer:
     * Poultry, poultry byproduct, or poultry food product if the producer raised the poultry pursuant
        to the exemption set forth in 9 CFR 381.10(c)(1) limiting the producer to slaughtering not more  than one thousand poultry during the calendar year;
     * Poultry, poultry byproduct, or poultry food product if the poultry is from an inspected source
       exempted pursuant to 9 CFR 381.10(d); or
     * Meat, meat byproduct, or meat food product if the meat is from an inspected source exempted
       pursuant to 9 CFR 303.1(d); or
13. A raw agricultural commodity. Other than raw bean or seed sprouts, raw agricultural
commodities do not require a license issued by the department to sell and may be sold by home food
processing establishments, although they are not homemade food items.


Common Food Chart




Laws & Regulations


Cottage Food

Resources - Iowa Law

Resources - Iowa Administrative Rules


Home Food Processing Establishments (HFPE)

Resources - Iowa Law

Resources - Iowa Administrative Rules