Indiana

Law status: ENACTED


Sales type
Direct only
Sales venues
2 out of 8 allowed
Allowed foods
Many

Sales limit
Unlimited

Indiana’s laws are restrictive in that sales are only allowed at farmers markets and roadside stands.  Aside from that, however, the laws are quite lenient.  They allow for any food below a certain pH value or water activity level, which basically allows nearly any kind of non-potentially hazardous food.  There is no registration, fees, or process to get setup, and there is no limitation to how much a vendor can sell.

Selling

Sales Venues
  • Home
  • Farmers markets
  • Food stands
  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Events
  • Mail orders
  • Internet

A vendor may take pre-orders (over the internet, for instance), but they can only deliver them to a farmers market or roadside stand.

Allowed Foods

  • Bagels
  • Biscuits
  • Breads
  • Brittles
  • Brownies
  • Cakes
  • Caramel corn
  • Cereals
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate-covered items
  • Cobblers
  • Cones
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Crisps
  • Donuts
  • Dried pasta
  • Fudge
  • Granola
  • Hard candies
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Jams & jellies
  • Mixes
  • Muffins
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Pastries
  • Pickles
  • Pies
  • Pizzelles
  • Preserves
  • Pretzels
  • Rolls
  • Sauces
  • Scones
  • Seasonings
  • Soft candies
  • Spices
  • Sweet breads
  • Syrups
  • Tortillas

Any food with a pH value of less than 4.6 and a water activity value of less than 0.85 is allowed.

Labeling

Label Requirements
  • Product name
  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Ingredients
  • Net weight
  • Date produced
  • Allergens
  • Nutrition info
  • Statement
Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product is home produced and processed and the production area has not been inspected by the State Department of Health." (10-point type)

Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way
Cookietown, IN 73531

Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)

Produced on 4/20/2014

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)

In addition to net weight, the label must also include the volume of the product.

If a label is impractical (e.g. the product isn’t packaged), the vendor may place a placard with the same information up at the point of sale.

Workplace

A vendor cannot use a commercial kitchen to produce their goods.

Resources

Indiana Cottage Food Bill – HEA 1309

Guidance for HEA 1309 (a document to explain info missing in the original bill)

Using a Home Kitchen to Prepare Food for Sale

General Info about HEA 1309 (a website with resources for more info)

Understanding HEA 1309 (slides from presentation by the direction of Indiana’s Food Protection Program)

This page was last updated on September 16th, 2012

Ericka

I would check with you local health department as they all interpret the HEA 1309 differently. Ours does allow pick up from your home as a HBV. I do cakes and cupcakes and have written ok from our health dept allowing pickup pick up but not delivery.

I am an admin on an online yard sale site where we have 1 weekly meeting among our 122 members. Some of the members post things like, Monkey Bread, Cakes, Cookies, homemade dog treats, homemade laundry soap for sale during this weekly meet ( most are pre ordered on the site days in advance). Is this legal to do. Personally I have only bought the dog treats as I trust no ones kitchen I have not seen.

    Technically this is not legal, unless it’s a fundraiser for a church or something. There may be allowances for reselling commercially-produced items, but probably not at a yard sale. That being said, these kinds of illegal sales are common, but if you’re doing it really consistently, then you probably should look into the legality of it.

Jordan

Thank you David for the detailed information on this subject. I really appreciate it.

monica

Also we have an rv can this be considered a “stand” if we set up roadside? Thanks

    I think it would be allowed. You just need to check with your county’s planning division to make sure that the area you are selling at is allowed.

monica

Hello can the sauce/pastsa be frozen or does it have to be canned?

    It must be canned and should be able to sit out, unrefrigerated, until it is sold.

    Oh and I should clarify that only dried pasta is allowed.

    J

    Canned (Hermetically sealed) acidified or low-acid foods such as salsa, chow-chow, and cooked meats or vegetables are NOT allowed to be sold at Farmer’s Market or Roadside stand under HEA 1309. A tomato based pasta sauce may fall under this detail.

Maria

I want to bake cakes and cupcakes out of my home in NW Indiana. I will be selling them, and also from time to time deliver the goods to their home. Is there any type of license that I should get for doing this or is it legal to run this type of business from my home? Thanks!

I have a booth in a shop with approimately 50 other vendors. Can I set up a display and sell out of my booth in the winter and migrate to the outdoor farmers market when when the weather breaks. The outdoor farmers market is opened weekly in the spring, summer, and fall.

Joyce Pollard

I have a small farm where we grow our own fruits, vegetables, & spices. We have been selling at the farmers market for a year. We remodeled our separate garage where we put a kitchen this is where we do all of our baking, canning, & drying,
We are zoned farming so as I understand it we can open a shop as long as it offers these type items?
I was was old by a market member that pumpkin pie cant be offered for sale is this true?

    It’s quite likely that if your zoning allows it, you can set up a shop (“stand”) at your farm. But I don’t know enough to be absolutely certain. I do know that pumpkin pie is not allowed, because it requires refrigeration.

So as long as I’m doing the farmers market/roadside stand the state doesn’t require a commercial kitchen or a health department certificate?

Abi

Okay I just want to make sure I’m correct on this point. I’m trying to start up my cake/cookie business from home. One day I hope to have a commercial space but that’s obviously not in the cards for me right now. If I put a small stand in my front yard I’m allowed to have customers come pick up their orders from there, just not my front door? Seems slightly ridiculous but obviously I want to make sure I’m doing things correctly. Are their “stand requirements” lol

    No, I highly doubt this would be allowed, and I agree that that would be ridiculous! You need to check with your planning division to see where roadside stands are allowed. I’d assume that almost all residential areas would be prohibited due to zoning regulations. The only way it might work is if you live on a farm on a country road.

jenn

If I am an IL resident, can I sell my product in IN, following their rules/laws?

Selina

Just verifying… I can sell my items at a Farmer’s Market or Roadside Stand but legally, if my friends or family want to buy stuff they can not pick it up at my house nor can I deliver it to them… they would have to pick it up at the market or stand I am at? I can do pre-orders/special requests though (phone, interent, e-mail) as long as they are allowed foods?

Also, as a side item… I am very glad fudge is allowed. :)

    Yes, that’s all correct. If you are selling for profit, even to family and friends, it needs to be at a farmers market or stand. It doesn’t make sense to me either.

I am a baking hobbyist not a professional, but some of my friends have asked if I will sell my goods. I won’t sell outright, but I am thinking about offering for them to come and make whatever they want WITH me as a sort of private lesson/session, and with the understanding that they are responsible for purchasing the ingredients or for at least covering their cost. Assuming the first couple went well, I would charge a small lesson fee. Since I’m not mass producing anything and I’m not actually selling the food, just my assistance and the use of my equipment, do you think the cottage food laws apply? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t want to find out by getting into legal trouble.

    I’m really ignorant about this and I’m afraid I can’t really direct you to where you should look to learn more. But I can tell you that the cottage food laws would not apply to you. And it is quite possible that there would not be a legal way for you to do what you are trying to do. Probably similar kinds of lessons are held in a commercial food facility, which makes them legal.

    But if you are only doing this with friends, I don’t think you need to worry too much. The legal issues in this industry usually stem from customers, not the government. The health dept probably isn’t going to come to your home to stop you unless they hear a complaint.

Tricia Olive

Could you explain why you are not allowed to deliver?

    It’s because the law only allows sales to take place at a farmers market or roadside stand. If food is getting handed from the seller to the consumer at any other venue, then it does not fall under this law. I don’t know why they decided to make the law so limited… that’s just the way it is right now.

David, you seem really to know this subject. I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer. First, just double checking, but cajeta and regular caramel chews are legal in Indiana along with other candies, aren’t they? Second, this next question will likely make you think. Is it legal to sell candy and fudge made with raw goat’s milk? I’ve heard it both ways at this point. Some claim the temperatures involved in cooking make it safe; others say no. I really can’t find a clear law that addresses that directly (or at least one that does and that I can understand). Abiding by our HBV laws seem to be much more complicated than I ever expected, so any advice you can provide would be appreciated. I haven’t sold any food or candy items and don’t plan to until spring, that is if it is legal.

    Thanks — I did the research for this website so that’s why I understand the industry pretty well.
    1) Those candies should be fine.
    2) True, I haven’t heard that question before. But I think I can definitely say that this would not be allowed. Your products cannot be potentially hazardous and anything made with raw goat milk would be a PHF. You seem like someone that likes to check their sources, so check out IC 16-18-2-287.8(b)(1) (page 68).

Stephanie Esterline

Are there any requirements for creating an order form?

Joy

Are the fines and penalties for any violations listed anywhere? I have looked at various health department websites and cannot find anything. Before I get into this, I want to make I won’t lose my house or anything if I make a mistake.

    I highly doubt you’ll find that info online. Sometimes laws give a maximum fine amount, but not Indiana’s. But regardless of whether you are legal or not, you still could lose your house if you made a big enough mistake and someone sued you, and that’s why many operations get insurance. But, you won’t be able to get insurance without a business license, and you won’t be able to get a license without approval from the health department. So it is definitely a risk you’re taking, which you need to calculate. You should also know that it is very common for people to run these kinds of businesses illegally, but that doesn’t make it any more secure.

Miranda

I have made cakes and cupcakes for family and friends for free. And they have been a huge hit. I have been asked to make cakes for party’s for people and would love to do so out of my home but sometimes this would require me to deliver and set up a cake. What would I need to do to be able deliver cakes.

    Unfortunately, the kind of business you are describing requires a commercial kitchen. It is possible to add a commercial kitchen to your home, but it is prohibitively expensive. If you don’t want to build one or rent one, you would have to run your business illegally.

Stephanie Esterline

Regarding label making, does date produced need to be printed or can I hand write that in, since the production days will vary.? Also, how do I obtain net wt?

Brandi

Okay so I was asked by a local restaurant, after bring some cupcakes in to a bday party of a friends and them trying them, if I would be willing to make cupcakes for sporting events there for them because they enjoyed them so much. Personally I am in college, have no want for a cupcake business, but suggested me charging them purely for the cost of the cupcakes themselves (not time, profit, or anything of that nature). Does this mean that I need to be licensed? The cupcakes would be in a box and I could easily do the labeling on the large box if needed as well. Please help.

    Yes, you need to be licensed and the cupcakes need to be made in a commercial kitchen. Normally I’d say that you can get away with selling them to family and friends illegally, but in this case you are potentially putting both yourself and the restaurant in jeopardy by selling them the cupcakes (even non-profit). It is especially bad because you don’t know who will be eating the cupcakes. Since you are in college and probably don’t want to setup a business, my advice to you would be to respectfully decline their offer. But the fact that they are impressed with your cupcakes is a good sign! Under this cottage food law, it wouldn’t be very difficult for you to start selling from farmers markets and potentially make a bit of money on the side.

kim bucheit

if i am making a sauce and make to much can i sell it to some friends and people i know just outright? not doing it for a full thing, just made to much, not a buisness.
am i allowed to bring it to them?
do i still have to have a full on lable in it if it is just over made amount from my house, not a buisness?
and as renae asked, is a roadside stand just a set-up in front of your house?

    The technical answer is that you would need to have a label and follow all of the requirements listed on this page and in the law. However, it sounds like what you’re doing is pretty small — it sounds like if you are only selling to family and friends, you probably don’t need to worry about the law. It just depends on if you feel like you need to do everything by the letter of the law.

Renae

Can the roadside stand be in front of your house? Like a lemonade stand or a porch stand?

    Generally speaking, your stand should be on a more public road, not a road for private residences. Also please realize that lemonade is not a cottage food.

    I looked more into this, and I came across the definition of a roadside stand: “A place, building, or structure along, or near, a road, street, lane, avenue, boulevard, or highway where a home-based vendor sells their food product(s) to the public.”
    The law also says that “A roadside stand… should not be operated in violation of other… laws and ordinances, such as those related to… zoning/planning…”. It also says a roadside stand “…should be located where the land owner has given permission for the home-based vendor to operate at the site.”
    To me that means that you can sell in front of your house, IF you call your planning division and make sure that it is okay for the zone that you live in. If you live in a neighborhood, it will probably not be allowed.

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