The labeling requirements for San Diego Cottage Foods are listed in the registration application–but there’s more that is required by state and federal law. Also, some words should not be used to describe your product. Save yourself time and trouble down the road by using these tips to get your label right from the start…
According to San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, Food and Housing Division, you
DO SAY the following on the primary label of your packaged Cottage Food product:
1. The words “Made in a Home Kitchen” in 12-point type
2. The name commonly used for the food product
3. The name of your Cottage Food Operation which produced the food (The name you have registered with the Dept. of Environmental Health)
4. The common or usual names of the ingredients listed in descending order by weight. Sub-ingredients must be included and can be listed following the name of the ingredient. For instance: enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine, mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid).
5. Your registration or permit number. (Note: The terms Permit or Registration reflect whether or not you want or have an A or B permit. Wording is very precise re. the county department approving your application. For precise wording see San Diego
Environmental Health Department’s SAMPLE LABEL information.)
AND According to CA state law through AB1616, the Homemade Food Act, it also must have
6. The address of your Cottage Food Operation
7. The net weight or volume or count of the food product stated in both English (pounds/ounces) and metric (grams) units. (It should include the weight of liquid in the package if the liquid is normally also consumed.)
PLUS the Federal Government also requires that you
8. Declare in plain language if the food contains any of the 8 following major food allergens (or ingredients derived from them)
Important!Milk, egg, fish
(e.g., bass, flounder, or cod), crustacean shellfish
(e.g., crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts
(e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnut), wheat, peanuts, or soybeans.
You can note the allergens in a separate statement immediately following or next to the ingredient list OR within the ingredient list. Cottage Foods Sandie recommends listing any allergens separately beneath the ingredients so as to avoid causing a bad allergic reaction in your customer due to them overlooking the allergen in the ingredient list!
Warning! Free, low, reduced, fewer, high, less, more, lean, extra lean, good source, or light
The Federal Food and Drug Administration has specific conditions for the use of these terms. (For instance, sodium free means the product has less than 5 mg of sodium per serving. Use of these terms may require you to get, and display, a nutritional analysis which is currently NOT needed for cottage food products in California.)
2. Anything that describes a relationship between a food component and a disease or health-related condition is considered a health claim. Phrases like “sodium and hypertension,” or “calcium and osteoporosis” are defined and regulated under 21 CFR 101.14 and 101.70 et. seq.
- Labels must be in English (but can have a translation on the label or package)
- If you will be providing unpackaged/labeled products to a food facility, the facility must identify the product as homemade to their customers.
- If you label your product as “Organic” it must be certified by an accredited third party certifying organization. That organization’s name must appear on the label
- Glossy labels often reproduce and look better than matte. Experiment to get the right “look” for your product and packaging.
- Any labels, wrappers, inks, adhesives, paper, or packaging materials that come into contact with your cottage food product by touching the product or penetrating the packaging must be food-grade (safe for food contact) and not contaminate the food.
- Labels don’t have to be boring! Use color, designs, and graphics to make them visually appealing. Just make sure to have the right information.
For an example of a label acceptable to the San Diego Environmental Health Department, please see this LABEL link
Important! NEW! October 2013
San Diego now allows you to have ingredients listed on a Secondary Label.
“The list of ingredients may be on a secondary label affixed to a different location on the product. All other information must be included on the primary label that is affixed to the top or front of the product.”
Have questions, comments, or experiences you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!