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    The Foods Group is within the
    Division for Regulatory Services
    P.O. Box 149347
    Austin, TX 78714-9347
    512-834-6770
      

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    Link to Texas.gov

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    External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may not be accessible to people with disabilities.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Foods Group


1. Can I manufacture food in my home kitchen?
The rules do not allow any type of manufacturing or holding of food for distribution in any areas used as living or sleeping quarters unless it is completely partitioned from your home.

2. What is a food manufacturer?
You are considered a manufacturer if you: (the following are not all-inclusive)

  • Produce a food product or a component of a food and either package it for customer self-serve or sell to another business that will serve to customers or resale (i.e. grocery stores, restaurants, convenient stores, etc.)
  • Have another firm produce your product, but your company's name and address is on the label (see question #5).

3. What is "wholesale"?
The term "Wholesale" means to sell something to another individual, company, store (i.e. grocery store, convenient stores, restaurants, etc.), for the purpose of *resale (*serve or sell to customers).

4. What is "retail"?
Retail means to sell product directly to the final consumer.

5. What is considered a "Private Label Manufacturer"?
A Private Label Manufacturer is a person that does NOT directly manufacture product. Another firm makes the product, and the private label manufacturer labels the product with their own name and address.

6. If a Private Label Manufacturer doesn't actually manufacturer any product, then WHY must I license as a food manufacturer?
By placing your name and address on the label, you are responsible for the purity and proper labeling of the product. Therefore, you must license as a food manufacturer.

7. What type of license do I need if I just want to store food in a warehouse and distribute to retail outlets?
You will need a wholesale distributor's license, a warehouse operator's or a wholesale distributor's registration. How to License.

8. Do I need a license to sell candies, soft drinks, chips, and etc. through my company-owned vending machines?
No license is needed from this department. Be sure to check with your local health department for any local requirements.

9. How do I obtain a food manufacturer's or wholesale distributor's license?
License applications can be downloaded from the Licensure page and by clicking the appropriate license under Food Licenses. Print the application off and send in with the appropriate fee. Applications without fees will not be processed. You can refer to the Instructions for Filing Licensure Applications in the Licensure website..

10. How long will it take before I get my license?
If the information is complete, you can expect your license within 4-6 weeks. If you do not receive your license in 6 weeks, please call (512) 834-6670..

11. How do I know what fee to pay? I'm just starting my business and have no idea on the amount of Gross Annual Food Sales (GAV).
Make an educated guess on what you think your approximate GAV will be for the next year. If you underpay, the inspector will document this in the report and you will be required to pay the appropriate fee when you renew the license.

12. I want to start a pet bakery manufacturing pet foods, pet treats, etc. What license do I need?
We do not regulate the manufacturing of pet food. You will need to contact the Office of the Texas State Chemists, Texas Feed and Fertilizer Control Service at (979) 845-1121. You can visit their website at http://otscweb.tamu.edu/ for more information. You can also visit the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more information at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/petfoods.htm.

13.I personally know several people who are making products in their home, packaging and selling at flea markets, festivals, fair, crafts shows, etc. How can they do this in their home and without a license?
An individual who manufactures and packages food for sale is required to be licensed as a food manufacturer. A requirement of being licensed as a food manufacturer is that no manufacturing can take place in the home kitchen. Individuals who make products in their home are in violation of the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 431 except for individuals operating under the Cottage Food Bill whose range of operation are restricted to the limited scope of food production processes, sale, and distribution allowed under the Cottage Food Bill. Information about operating under the Cottage Food Bill can be accessed by visiting http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foodestablishments/cfpo/

14. My garage is completely partitioned from my home. Can I use this to manufacture food, hold food for distribution, or repackage?
If your garage is in compliance with all relevant rules and statutes concerning food safety, then you may use your garage. There must be an outside entrance, and you must not be able to enter the garage through the house.

15. How do I know if my garage is in compliance with all relevant rules and statutes of the State of Texas?
The Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Warehousing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing or Holding Human Food code (25 Texas Administrative Code Part 1, Chapter 229, Subchapter N) will need to be reviewed to determine compliance with facility requirements. A few requirements are, but not limited to: (1) hand wash sink with hot and cold running water, (2) sanitation of food-contact surfaces, including utensils and food-contact surfaces of equipment, (that) shall be cleaned as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination of food*, (2) easily cleanable surfaces that are impervious to moisture including floors, walls, and ceilings, (3) tightly sealed windows, doors, and other entries to prevent the entrance of rodents, pest, vermin, etc. and (4) sufficient lighting and facility suitable in size, construction, and design to facilitate maintenance and sanitary operations.

*Note: firms that manufacture food and sell directly to retail consumers are subject to the Texas Food Establishment Rules:  Please review these Rules as they have more specific requirements concerning ware wash sinks and equipment. 

16. Can I manufacture or hold food in a portable building/separate facility at my home residence?
Yes, as long as the building/facility meets the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's) found in Title 25 Texas Administrative Code 229.211-229.222.

17. Can I use a private well as the source of water for manufacturing operations?
Yes, but the private well will require special testing according to25 TAC 229.217(1)(B)(ii).

18. What are the requirements for my manufacturing kitchen?
Please review GMP's 229.211-229.222. A few requirements are, but not limited to: (1) hand wash sink(s) with hot and cold running water, (2) sanitation of food-contact surfaces, including utensils and food-contact surfaces of equipment, (that) shall be cleaned as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination of food*, (3) easily cleanable surfaces that are impervious to moisture including floors, walls, and ceilings, (4) tightly sealed windows, doors, and other entries to prevent the entrance of rodents, pest, vermin, etc. and (5) sufficient lighting and facility suitable in size, construction, and design to facilitate maintenance and sanitary operations.

*Note: firms that manufacture food and sell directly to retail consumers are subject to the Texas Food Establishment Rules:   Please review these Rules as they have more specific requirements concerning ware wash sinks and equipment. 

19. What kind of labeling do I need on my product?
The four main parts to a label are, (1) the common or usual name of the product, (2) net quantity of content statement, (3) name and address of manufacturer (if you are a private label manufacturer, your name and address will be prefaced by "Distributed by:" or "Manufactured For:"), and (4) a list of ingredients in descending order of predominance. Please review http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foods/labeling.shtm for more information on labeling. The labeling can be more involved if you intend to make nutrient content or health claims.

20. Do I have to have a Nutrition Facts panel on my product label?
Yes, unless you qualify for an exemption. See CFR 101.9(j) for exemptions

21. I want to make a non-refrigerated or shelf stable salsa and/or other canned foods. What must I do?
The production of salsa and canned foods fall under two specific federal regulations (CFR 113-- and CFR 114--). In order to determine whether you must comply with these regulations, we recommend you first contact Dr. Al Wagner, Texas A&M University Extension (979-845-7023), for a product evaluation. If the evaluation classifies your product as an "acidified" or "low-acid canned" food, you must:
1) complete forms 2541 and 2541a
2) attend a Better Process Control School (Dr. Wagner conducts class once per year at Texas A&M in College Station)
3) follow critical limits for production of product established by Dr. Wagner or other process authority

22. Do I need a license from the city or county health department?
It would be a good idea to call your city or county health department to discuss this issue. The State of Texas has no control over issuing city/county permits or licenses.

23. I have some labels that I want to get "Approved" before making mass quantities. Who do I send them to?
The Manufactured Foods Division will be glad to answer any specific questions with regards to your labels based on our rules and regulations. However, we do not "approve" labels.

24. Why do I need a license to bag ice?
Ice is considered a food. The definition of a food manufacturer is anyone who combines, purifies, processes, or packages food for sale. Therefore, bagging ice requires you to license as a food manufacturer. A local or county health department license/permit may be a separate requirement and does not substitute for a manufacturer's license from the state.



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Division for Regulatory Services - P. O. Box 149347 - Austin, Texas 78714-9347 - 512-834-6770
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Last updated April 29, 2014