New Small-Scale Food Business Guide available from Ohio Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau’s legal team has created a new members-only resource for those looking for information about rules and regulations for small-scale food businesses.

The Small-Scale Food Business Guide covers both federal and state regulations for selling food products such as raw meat, dairy, eggs, baked goods, cottage foods, fruits and vegetables, honey and more.

The guide provides a breakdown of the registration, licensing, processing, food safety, inspection, labeling, and any other regulatory/legal standards to be considered when running a small-scale food business. Look at this guide when starting a food business to discern what you may need to do, starting at the farm and ending at the market/consumer.

“The laws and rules surrounding the production and sale of food products come from many different sources, both state and federal, often creating a confusing and hard to navigate regulatory space,” said Leah Hetrick, Ohio Farm Bureau director of legal education and member engagement. “The purpose of this guide is to aid Ohio Farm Bureau members in identifying the food safety regulations that are relevant to the item they would like to sell and where they would like to sell it.”

Some of the topics include:

  • Cottage food guidelines for those producing food for sale from their own homes, such as baked goods, fruit jams and jellies, candy and more. Learn about proper labeling and major food allergens, among other requirements. The guide includes checklists and steps to get your cottage food business off the ground.
  • Home bakery requirements with a step-by-step checklist to ensure you have a legally compliant home kitchen.
  • An overview of requirements and exemptions for maple syrup, honey and sorghum production. Included is information about proper packaging and labeling requirements.
  • FDA fruit and vegetable regulations through the Food Safety Modernization Act, working with local health departments for retail food establishment licenses, and farm market and farm product auction registration.
  • Selling eggs from backyard flocks — Small egg operators enjoy certain exemptions that make local egg sales possible. While there are fewer requirements, this does not mean there are no regulatory requirements.
  • An overview of the rules and regulations that may be encountered when looking to process and sell the livestock raised on your farm and the requirements to sell meat or dairy directly to customers.

The Small-Scale Food Business Guide is a 72-page resource available exclusively for Ohio Farm Bureau members. A downloadable version is available at

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