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Cottage Food

A Cottage Food Operation is an enterprise at a private home where specific low-risk food products that do not require refrigeration are made and packaged for sale to consumers. The service is available to all individuals wishing to conduct and adhere Cottage Food Operation guidelines within Imperial County.

In Imperial County, cottage food operation permits are divided in two-tiers (Class A & Class B) and enforced by the Imperial County Public Health Department, Division of Environmental Health.

Class A- Cottage food operators may engage only in direct sales of cottage food products. A direct sale means a transaction between a cottage food operator and a consumer, where the consumer purchases the cottage food product directly from the cottage food operation within the county. Direct sales include, but are not limited to, transactions at holiday bazaars or other temporary events, such as bake sales or food swaps, at farm stands, at certified farmers’ markets, and also occurring in person at the cottage food operation location.

Class B- Cottage food operators may engage in both direct sales and indirect sales of cottage food products from the cottage food operation, from offsite events, or from a third-party retail food facility such as restaurants and markets within the jurisdiction of the Imperial County Division of Environmental Health.

Cottage food operation are only allowed to produce specific non-potentially hazardous foods. These are food that do not support the rapid growth of bacteria that would make people sick when held outside of refrigeration temperatures. To view a list of approved cottage foods please click here.