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Cottage Food Businesses


The Cottage Food Act of 2013 allows residents of the District of Columbia to register as a Cottage Food Business and prepare certain foods from their residential kitchens and sell them at farmers markets and public events. Title 25-K of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations) provides the regulations that pertain to this kind of operation. Foods prepared in residential kitchens by approved Cottage Food Businesses are permitted to be sold at farmers markets and public events within the District of Columbia. Internet sales and wholesale are not allowed. In order to become a Cottage Food Business, you will need to submit an application to DC Health and undergo a pre-operational inspection. 

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED

  • Home Occupancy Permit (https://business.dc.gov/quick/1457) from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)
  • Proof of calibrated scale(s) if your food will be sold by weight from the Office of Weights and Measures at DCRA
  • Certified Food Protection Manager’s Certification (CFPM)
    (https://dchealth.dc.gov/node/1405511). 
  • DC-Issued Certified Protection Manager ID-Card, Issued by DC Health based on your CFPM Certification
  • Submit a Cottage Food Business Registry Application DC Health at 899 North Capitol, St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
  • Submit an application review fee of $50.00 to DC Health in the form of check, money order, cash, or credit/debit. Make checks payable to DC Treasurer.


See the links below for more information.

Below are documents for guidance on safely operating your Cottage Food Business. This is not a complete list and you are encouraged to learn as much as you can about safe food handling. Please review the checklist below. It contains contact information for the Office of Zoning Administration (OZA) to obtain the Home Occupancy Permit (HOP) as well as Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) if you need to have scales certified for food items sold by weight. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Division at [email protected].

Cottage Food Business Guidance:  
Important Information  
Checklist  
Cottage Food Business Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions

The Cottage Food Business Registry Application is below. The application must be submitted to DC Health's Processing Center located at 899 North Capitol Street NE, Washington DC 20002, with an application fee of $50. Complete applications will be reviewed within thirty (30) business days. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, a representative from the Food Safety and Hygiene Inspection Services Division will contact you to schedule your pre-operational inspection. All inspections will take place during normal business hours unless previously approved by a supervisor. To prepare for your inspection, please familiarize yourself of Subtitle K of Title 25 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations and view our guidance materials. 

Cottage Food Business Registry Application:  
Application 

Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) Certificate:  
CFPM Information
Application for CFPM ID card