If you plan to make foods such as certain baked goods, jellies, or snack mixes, you may qualify for a Home Processor Exemption. This will allow you to prepare food in your home kitchen for wholesale or retail sale at agricultural farm venues. You will be exempt from Article 20-C licensing.
The information on this page will help you to determine whether or not you qualify as a home processor, and what the requirements are for registration.
In general, these rules apply to home processors:
- All items are for marketing products at wholesale and/or retail, including agricultural venues such as farms, farm stands, farmers markets, green markets, craft fairs and flea markets, via home delivery, or via the internet.
- All items must be sold within New York State and must be pre-packaged in the home and properly labeled. Packaging of food items at an agricultural event (craft fair, farmers market, etc.) is not permitted.
Be sure to consult with your local zoning officials for approval before commencing any home-based business.
Product labels are required to contain the following information: common/usual name of the product, ingredient list in predominance by weight, net quantity of contents, processor name, and full address. All allergens (eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, soybeans, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat) must be clearly identified in the product ingredient statement.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semisweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)
NET WT 1 lbs (453g)
XYZ Cookie Company
123 Chocolate Chip Way
Cookietown, New York 12345
Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy
Approved Home Processed Foods
The home processor license exemption is limited to foods where there is not a history of food borne illness and the nature of the product makes the possibility of illness less likely.
In order to protect public health and to minimize the potential of food product adulteration, this exemption is restricted to the following approved non-potentially hazardous home processed foods.
- Breads containing fruits and/or vegetables are not allowed
- Rolls and/or cinnamon rolls
- No chocolate or candy melts allowed for topping
- Cake pops
- No chocolate or candy melts allowed for topping
- Double-crust fruit pies
- Fruit jams, jellies, and marmalades made with high acid/low pH fruits
- i.e. Apple, apricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, clementine, cranberry, currents, elderberry, grape, grapefruit, lemon, lime, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, raspberry and strawberry
- Repacking/blending of commercially dried spices or herbs
- Repackaging dried or dehydrated vegetables.
- Repackaging dried soup mixes
- Repackaging dried fruit
- Repackaging of dried pasta
- The manufacturing and drying of pasta is prohibited
- Repackaging dry baking mixes
- Seasoning salt
- Popcorn/caramel corn
- Peanut brittle
- Rice Krispies treats
- Granola and trail mix (using commercially roasted nuts)
- Granola Bars (using commercially roasted nuts)
- Repacking candy (excluding chocolate)
- Melting and/or repacking of exposed chocolates or chocolate-like candies is not allowed
- Waffle cones and Pizzelle
- Toffee/caramel apples
- Candy melts are not allowed
- Includes toffees, caramels, hard candies
- Vegetable chips
- Includes potato chips
Any finished food product that requires refrigeration is not allowed to be produced as a Home Processor.
Pet foods and pet treats can be made from the home, but require a separate registration. For more information related to manufacturing and distributing of pet foods, please contact [email protected]
Items where there are legitimate food safety concerns, including products where there is no pathogen kill step, products which have been implicated in outbreaks, products considered Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS), or potentially hazardous food, among others, are not allowed to be made in an unlicensed and uninspected facility.
Some examples of prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
- Specialty or custom (wedding/birthday/anniversary/graduation) cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc.
- Custom bakery items are under the jurisdiction of the state, county, or local Department of Health
- Homemade buttercream/cream cheese frosting containing dairy or eggs
- Breads containing fruits or vegetables
- Products containing alcohol
- “No-bake” products (all products must be baked to ensure product stability)
- Pickles, relishes, or sauerkraut
- Sauces, salsas, marinades, mustards, ketchups
- Pepper jellies, wine jellies, vegetable jellies, flower jellies, chutneys
- Cooked or canned fruits or vegetables
- Vegetable oils, blended oils, salad dressings
- Cheesecake, cream filled pastries, cream pies, meringue pies
- Chocolate candy/products dipped in chocolate/candy melts
- Any products containing raw nuts
- Cheese, yogurt, fluid dairy products, butters
- Meat, fish, or poultry products
- Roasted coffee beans
- Nut butters
Pet foods and pet treats can be made from the home, but require a separate registration. Learn more about manufacturing and distributing pet foods.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q. Do I need to have my kitchen inspected?
- A. Kitchens are reviewed on a complaint basis only.
- Q. Can I have a website?
- A. Yes. Internet sales are allowed within New York State only. Shipping products out of state is not permitted.
- Q. Are interstate sales allowed?
- A. No, all home processed foods must be sold within New York State.
- Q. Do I have to put my home address on the label?
- A. Yes. The place of business shall include the street address or PO Box, city, state, and ZIP code.
- Q. Why are fruit/vegetable breads prohibited under this exemption?
- A. Fruit/vegetable breads generally demonstrate a higher moisture content which requires refrigeration. Refrigerated products are not allowed as a registered home processor.
- Q. Why is tempering/melting chocolate for candy and/or dipping not allowed?
- A. Chocolate and chocolate-like products have been implicated in food borne illnesses. Melting chocolate is not a thermal process (no control step). Chocolate melts at very low temperatures.
- Q. Why are raw nuts prohibited under this exemption?
- A. The use of raw nuts is not allowed because there is no control step with raw products. Raw nuts have been linked to foodborne illness (i.e. salmonella). Processors who wish to use nuts in their products must use commercially processed (roasted or otherwise heat treated) nuts.
- Q. Am I required to obtain liability insurance?
- A. The Department does not mandate you to obtain insurance. Consult an attorney or an insurance professional to discuss your product liability concerns and risks.
- Q. Can I get a home processor license exemption to make products for me to sell at my store or my restaurant?
- A. No. The home processor license exemption is not available to anyone who holds a Department of Health permit or Department of Agriculture and Markets license. When a license or permit is held, all foods offered for commercial sale must be made at the licensed or permitted facility.
- Q. Is commercial equipment allowed?
- A. No. Commercial equipment is not considered ordinary kitchen facilities.
- Q. What if I have a private water system (well)?
- A. If you are on a private water system (well), you must have a water test analysis performed for Coliform, and include a copy of the test results with application, before you can be registered as a home processor.
Register as a Home Processor
Currently there is no fee associated with a New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Home Processor Registration. Approval generally takes two weeks.
The Home Processor Registration does not currently have an expiration date. If you move, you will need to reapply for the exemption, as it is location specific.
To add products to your Registration, you will need to submit the Home Processor Registration Request form again. On the form, please make a note that this is a supplemental registration and include a list of products you wish to add.
Please note that the Home Processor Registration will become Null & Void if you make or sell foods that are not allowed under the exemption or if you open a food business which is inspected and permitted/licensed by either the Department of Agriculture and Markets or the Department of Health. In this case, all food must be manufactured in the commercial facility.
Please email or mail your completed Home Processor Registration Request form, and water test results when required, to the address below.