Three jars of homemade jam
December 17, 2020
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Albany, NY

State Agriculture Department Announces Nearly 56 Percent Increase in New Home Processors in New York State From 2019

State Agriculture Department Announces Nearly 56 Percent Increase in New Home Processors in New York State From 2019
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Home Processors are Required to Register with the Department to Ensure Products are Being Made and Sold Safely

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced that the number of newly registered home processors in New York State has increased by nearly 56 percent over the previous year. In 2020, the State registered 1,538 new home processors compared to 986 in 2019. Home processors are exempt from obtaining the State’s Article 20-C food processing license and Article 28 retail food store license but, to protect public health, are required to register with the State. Registration information for home-based food businesses, including a list of products permitted and labeling requirements can be found here.

Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Ensuring the safety of our food supply is a critical function of the Department and that includes overseeing the home processors in our State. There has been a significant increase of New Yorkers starting a home-based food business this past year, and we urge anyone who is interested to reach out to the Department to get properly registered and to understand the program’s guidelines to produce food safely. We are also encouraging consumers to be aware of the products they’re purchasing and confirm they are being made in a registered home kitchen. We want to see these small businesses succeed and the registration helps to ensure these homemade products are being made and sold safely.”

As of this week, the State has a total of 7,086 registered home processors that are making and selling items ranging from cookies to cupcakes, as well as repackaging products, from spices to trail mix. View the complete list of businesses. 

In 2018, the Department added several food items to the list that home processors were permitted to sell to consumers, including repackaged dried soup mixes, dehydrated/dried fruits and vegetables, trail mix, toffee/caramel apples, plus many more. It also expanded business opportunities for home processors by allowing them to sell their products online within New York State and sell direct from their home or at a farmers’ market. These changes allowed small home businesses to increase their customer base and reach new markets.

The list of approved and prohibited foods, and additional information on how to register to become a home food processor is on the Department’s website at https://agriculture.ny.gov/food-safety/home-processing.

About the Department’s Division of Food Safety and Inspection

The Division of Food Safety and Inspection works to ensure that the food and feed supply is safe for New Yorkers to consume. This is the Department’s largest division, with a staff of approximately 150 full-time employees, covering every county in the state.

In addition to regular inspections, the Division handles licensing of the State’s food processing and retail food establishments, collects food products for analysis by the Department’s Food Laboratory, investigates consumer complaints of foodborne illnesses, and verifies product labeling.

The Division has a robust food surveillance program, regularly discovering products found to contain undeclared ingredients and live pathogens. Most recently, the Division was involved in several investigations regarding products contaminated with heavy metals and industrial dyes. This work received recognition by the FDA and led to several recalls, found at https://agriculture.ny.gov/food-safety-alerts and seizure of several tons of contaminated products.

The Division also hosts New York’s Commercial Animal Feed, Pet Food, and Farm Products programs. For more information on the Division’s compliance history and types of deficiencies commonly observed, please visit the Department’s website at https://agriculture.ny.gov/food-safety.