Cottage Food Production Operations

 ** NEW INFORMATION** Texas 86(R) Senate Bill 572 Effective 9/1/2019

1. What recipe sources* can I use to produce acidified (pickled) and fermented foods? 

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 revision is available on line for free at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  The print version is available here.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension So Easy to Preserve book, 6th edition   

Ball Corporation has published many guides over the years. DSHS recommends using more recent editions as scientific studies may have required recipe changes for food safety. 

The following Ball books are approved for use:

  • Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, 37th Edition, by Ball Corporation
  • The All New Ball Book of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes, May 31, 2016, by Ball Home Canning Test Kitchen
  • Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More, July 4, 2017, by Ball Home Canning Test Kitchen 

2. How can I submit a new source for recipes for acidified, fermented, or pickled canned foods to the department for approval?

In order to submit a new source for recipes, please use the existing Request for Official Determination Form.

Please mail or email the Request for Official Determination Form to: 

  • Joe Williams, R.S., Manager
    DSHS Public Sanitation and Retail Food Safety Unit
    • Mail: Public Sanitation and Retail Food Safety Unit MC 1987
      Texas Department of State Health Services
      P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347 
    • Email:

3. Where can I find a list* of Process Authorities?

The Association for Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) has a list on its website here.

4. Where can I find a list* of accredited laboratories to test for pH, water activity (Aw), etc.?

 Name  Address  City, State, Zip  Phone  Website
 A&B Labs, Inc.  10100 East Freeway, Suite 100  Houston, TX 77029  713.453.6060
 Analytical Food Labs, Inc.  865 Greenview  Grand Prairie, TX 75050  972.336.0336
 Food and Ag Lab LLC. 300 Brushy Creek Rd., Suite 205 Cedar Park, TX 78613 512.730.0160 
 Food Safety Net Services, Ltd.  199 W. Rhapsody  San Antonio, TX 78216  210.308.0675
 Food Safety Net Services, Ltd. – DFW Location  2545 114th Street  Grand Prairie, TX 75050  972.602.2078
 I.E.H. – Quanta Labs  9330 Corporate Drive, Ste. 703  Selma, TX 78154  210.651.5799
 Silliker Inc. Texas Laboratory (Mérieux NutriSciences)  2100 N Hwy. 360, Suite 2006  Grand Prairie, TX 75050  Francis Curiel: 312.216.7597                  

*Non-DSHS Websites Disclaimer: Texas Department of State Health Services does not control the content of non-DSHS websites, safety of using those websites, or any interaction the public may have with the service providers listed (i.e. excess fees, untimely service, etc.).

During the 83rd Legislature, Regular Session 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 970 that amends the Health and Safety Code (HSC), Chapter 437, by amending provisions for cottage food production operations. This law is effective September 1, 2013.

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A cottage food production operation is defined as an individual, operating out of the individual’s home, who: 

  • Produces at the individual's home: a baked good that is not a time and temperature control for safety food (TCS food); candy; coated and uncoated nuts; unroasted nut butters; fruit butters; a canned jam or jelly; a fruit pie; dehydrated fruit or vegetables, including dried beans; popcorn and popcorn snacks; cereal, including granola; dry mix; vinegar; pickled fruit or vegetables, including beets and carrots, that are preserved in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution at an equilibrium pH value of 4.6 or less; mustard; roasted coffee or dry tea; a dried herb or dried herb mix; plant-based acidified canned goods; fermented vegetable products, including products that are refrigerated to preserve quality; frozen raw and uncut fruit or vegetables; or any other food that is not a TCS food.
  • Has an annual gross income of $50,000 or less from the sale of the described foods;
  • Sells the foods produced directly to consumers; and
  • Delivers products to the consumer at the point of sale or another location designated by the consumer.


A cottage food production operation is exempt from the requirements of a food service establishment and does not have to comply with the Texas Food Establishment Rules. Health departments do not have regulatory authority to conduct inspections of a cottage food production operation. However, the Department or local health authority has authority to act to prevent an immediate and serious threat to human life or health through emergency order, recall orders and delegation of powers or duties. Health departments are required to maintain records of all complaints against a cottage food production operation.

Requirements and Restrictions

An individual who operates a cottage food production operation must successfully complete a basic food safety education or training program for food handlers accredited under Health and Safety Code, Chapter 438(D) by January 1, 2014.

A cottage food production may not sell to customers potentially hazardous foods. A potentially hazardous food (PHF) is a food that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogen growth or toxin production. In other words, a food must be held under proper temperature controls, such as refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria that may cause human illness. A PHF/TCS is a food that: contains protein, moisture (water activity greater than 0.85), and is neutral to slightly acidic (pH between 4.6 -7.5).

Food produced by a cottage food production operation may be sold via the internet or by mail order if the consumer purchases the food through the internet or by mail-order from the operator and the operator personally delivers the food to the consumer, and before the operator accepts payment for the food, the operator provides all labeling information required by the Cottage Food Production Operations rules to the consumer by: posting a legible statement on the cottage food production operation's internet website; publishing the information in a catalog; or otherwise communicating the information to the consumer.  A cottage food operator may not sell any foods described under the rules at wholesale. The Department of State Health Services is in the process of amending the rule, Section 229.661, concerning cottage food production operations.

Food Labeling

Foods sold by a cottage food production operation must be packaged and labeled. The food must be packaged in a manner that prevents product contamination, except for foods that are too large and or bulky for conventional packaging. The labeling information for foods that are not packaged must be provided to the consumer on an invoice or receipt. The label must include:

  • The name and address of the cottage food production operation; 
  • The common or usual name of the product, if a food is made with a major food allergen, such as eggs, nuts, soy, peanuts, milk or wheat that ingredient must be listed on the label; and
  • A statement: “This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department."
  • The labels must be legible.

Frequently Asked Questions

For a list of FAQs, please refer to the Cottage Food Operations FAQ page.

Cottage Food Production Operation Training

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Food Safety Education 

Cooking Up A Cottage Food Business


Last updated December 1, 2021