Cottage Food Registration Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Cottage Food Law go into effect?

The new law became effective Nevada’s cottage food law (SB 206) went into effect on July 1st, 2013. The law allows many different types of food products to be sold, but it is restricted in most other ways. Operations must be registered with their health authority, but the fee for registration will vary by county.

What is a cottage food operation?

NRS 446.866  Exemption from certain requirements; certain local governing bodies prevented from prohibiting cottage food operations; registration; fee; inspection.

      1.  A cottage food operation which manufactures or prepares a food item by any manner or means whatever for sale, or which offers or displays a food item for sale, is not a “food establishment” pursuant to paragraph (h) of subsection 2 of NRS 446.020 if each such food item is:

      (a) Sold on the private property of the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item or at a location where the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item sells the food item directly to a consumer, including, without limitation, a farmers’ market licensed pursuant to chapter 244 or 268 of NRS, flea market, swap meet, church bazaar, garage sale or craft fair, by means of an in-person transaction that does not involve selling the food item by telephone or via the Internet;

      (b) Sold to a natural person for his or her consumption and not for resale;

      (c) Affixed with a label which complies with the federal labeling requirements set forth in 21 U.S.C. § 343(w) and 9 C.F.R. Part 317 and 21 C.F.R. Part 101;

      (d) Labeled with “MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO GOVERNMENT FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION” printed prominently on the label for the food item;

      (e) Prepackaged in a manner that protects the food item from contamination during transport, display, sale and acquisition by consumers; and

      (f) Prepared and processed in the kitchen of the private home of the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item or, if allowed by the health authority, in the kitchen of a fraternal or social clubhouse, a school or a religious, charitable or other nonprofit organization.

What is meant by a private home?

"Private Home" means a dwelling, including an apartment or other rented space, where the operator resides. 

How do I obtain a cottage food registration?

An application must be completed as part of this process. The application must be submitted to the health authority and will be reviewed. You may either email the electronic version as the instructions on the top of the form specify or you can print the manual version off, complete it manually and return it in person or by mail to the Environmental Health office in Carson City.

How will I know if my registration was successful?

You will be notified of your successful registration.

What is the cost for a cottage food registrations?

Cottage food registrations are free. 

Are cottage food sales limited?

Cottage foods are limited to gross food sales of not more than $35,000 per calendar year.

What cottage foods are cottage food operators permitted to provide?

“Food item” means:

(1) Nuts and nut mixes;
(2) Candies;
(3) Jams, jellies and preserves;
(4) Vinegar and flavored vinegar;
(5) Dry herbs and seasoning mixes;
(6) Dried fruits;
(7) Cereals, trail mixes and granola;
(8) Popcorn and popcorn balls; or
(9) Baked goods that:
(I) Are not potentially hazardous foods;
(II) Do not contain cream, uncooked egg, custard, meringue or cream cheese frosting or garnishes; and
(III) Do not require time or temperature controls for food safety.

Can my cottage food item be sold on the internet?

The food is to be sold on the private property of the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item or at a location where the natural person who manufactures or prepares the food item sells the food item directly to a consumer by means of an in-person transaction that does not involve selling the food item by telephone or via the Internet:
o This means that the food may be sold directly to the consumer from your home or from a licensed farmers’ market, licensed flea market or swap meet, church bazaar, garage sale or craft fair, provided it is done in person.
o This does not allow for selling food items via the Internet or over the phone. A cottage food vendor may advertise on the internet, but all sales to customers are required by statute to take place directly to the consumer (i.e. face-to-face transaction).

Does my cottage food registration apply to all Counties in Nevada?

This guide provides information on becoming a registered cottage food operation to produce or sell cottage food in the rural counties of Nevada. This guide does not apply to residents of Carson City, Douglas County, Washoe County and Clark County. Residents of these areas with cottage food questions should contact:
  • Carson City Health and Human Services, 775-887-2190 for Carson and Douglas
  • Washoe County Health District, 775-328-2400
  • Southern Nevada Health District, 702-759-0588

Am I required to have a business license for my cottage food operation?

Business license requirements vary by county. Check with you local county officials to determine if a business license is required.

May I sample my cottage food products?

Food samples may be individually pre-portioned in closed, disposable containers at the cottage food operation kitchen for sample distribution at the sale site.

Open product sampling requires a temporary health permit to operate. Contact the Environmental Health Section location nearest to you if you have permitting questions.

May I produce flavored vinegar?

Flavored vinegar must be strained or filtered prior to bottling and may not contain any flavoring components including but not limited to the following:
o Herbs
o Fruit rinds, berries, or pieces of other fruits used for flavoring
o Vegetables of any kind including but not limited to peppers

Flavored vinegar’s pH is greatly affected by the addition of flavoring ingredients such as herbs, fruits and vegetables. When these components are included in the finished bottled product, the pH can continue to be affected by them and rise to levels that may cause spoilage, and endanger public health. Certain situations have been observed as well where pickled vegetables are being sold as flavored vinegar. To avoid this circumvention of the law and to protect public health, flavored vinegars are required to be free of flavoring components after final packaging and bottling. Producers of flavored vinegars are encouraged to display the flavored vinegar components through labeling, or on the exterior of the bottle, such as a dried herb sprig wrapped around the neck of the container.

What must I do before selling a cottage food?

Before selling foods, the cottage food operator must:

  • Register the cottage food operation with the state health authority.
  • Determine the type of durable packaging that will be used to protect the food items from contamination during transport, display, sale or purchase by consumers.
  • Design labels for the food product.

What information must be on a cottage food label?

NRS Chapter 446 includes labeling requirements of food prepared by cottage food operations. Food packaging must be affixed with labeling that prominently reads: “MADE IN A COTTAGE FOOD OPERATION THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO GOVERNMENT FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION.”

All required labeling information should be printed prominently and conspicuously in English. Print size should be no smaller than one-sixteenth of an inch based on the lower case letter “o” and must include the following:

1. Statement of identity - the common, usual name or descriptive identity of the packaged food item
2. Net quantity of contents - net weight in ounces, pounds, or grams, or net content in fluid ounces pints or liters, or number of pieces
3. Ingredient statement - a list of all ingredients, in descending order of predominance by weight. This includes listing all ingredients of an ingredient that in itself contains two or more ingredients
4. The name and physical address where the product was manufactured, packaged or distributed
5. Declaration of any food allergen contained in the food, unless the food source is already part of the common or usual name of the product or clearly identified in the ingredient list
• Major food allergens include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean or bivalve shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans and any ingredient that contains protein derived from any one of these ingredients or additives
• Allergen information must be included in one of two ways:
o In parentheses following the name of the ingredient, for example: lecithin (soy), flour (wheat), and whey (milk); or
o Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a "contains" statement. Example: Contains wheat, milk and soy

May I prepare pickles as a cottage food item?

No. Pickled foods are a "craft food operation". Craft food operations are regulated by the Nevada Division of Agriculture. Please contact (775) 353-3600 for more information.

Can my club, group or organization register to be a cottage food operation?

No. Only individuals may register a cottage food operation. The cottage food operation must be run by a natural person and not an organization.