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Regulatory Handbook -> Food Requirements -> Cottage Food Operation Permit

Cottage Food Operation Permit

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
The Cottage Food Operations law was enacted in 2011. The Cottage Food Operations Permit allows people to make low-risk food in their home kitchen and sell directly to consumers. The application includes a water test or water bill, business license, food worker card, recipes, and labels. The application must also include the following plans: floor plan, processing, packaging, cleaning and sanitation, production dates, sales plan, and child and pet management plan. Labels must follow the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling guidelines. To protect public safety, WSDA reviews every ingredient in a recipe and label and the applicant often must correct recipes and labels to meet requirements. Once the application is complete, WSDA conducts an inspection of the home kitchen.
Who Issues this Permit?
Washington State Department of Agriculture
What Activities Require this Permit?
Activities including the making of baked goods, some fried foods, standardized jams, jellies, preserves & fruit butters, stovetop or microwave candies that are not potentially hazardous, vinegars, and dry mixes.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
The permit fee is $230.
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application which is called 'Cottage Food Operation Permit' is online and can be accessed at https://agr.wa.gov/departments/food-safety/food-safety/cottage-food.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
A complete application includes:
  • Water supply testing
  • Food workers card
  • Business license
  • Sketch of floor plan
  • Recipe,processing,packaging,labeling and production process
  • Cleaning and sanitation plan for equipment and utensils
  • Processing dates and sales plan
  • Child and pet management plans
  • Check or money order for fees
These attachments are described in the application packet: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/food-safety/food-safety/cottage-food
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
The applicant's home kitchen must pass an inspection.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
The average time from submission of an application for a new permit to approval or denial of the permit is approximately 6 weeks. The average time from submission of an application for a renewal permit to approval or denial of the permit is approximately 3 days.
Where do I Submit my Application?
Washington State Dept. of Agriculture
Food Safety & Consumer Services
P.O. Box 42591
Olympia, WA 98504-2591
How Long is my Permit Valid?
Each permit will expire 1 year from the date it was issued on the last day of the month.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
Upon notice by the Department to deny or revoke a permit, a person may request a hearing under Chapter 34.05 RCW, the Administrative Procedures Act.
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here: https://www.oria.wa.gov/ORIA-2018-PermitTimelinessProgressReport.pdf.

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 7
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 20

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 28
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 266

(Summary results based on 218 submittals in 2020)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Helpdesk phone: (360) 902-1876
Subject matter expert phone: (360) 902-1876
Subject matter expert email: cottagefoods@agr.wa.gov
Other:
The application packet gives the customer useful information and tools such as examples, helpful hints, links to other sites for further information, sample labels, recipes and floor plans, and best practices. A checklist of the requirements is included. An informational website walks the customer through the process , answers a customer's common questions, links them to outside resources, and addresses issues that might arise during the application process and how to correct them. The department also conducted a workshop where a customer reviewed their application one-on-one with a WSDA reviewer before submitting the application. WSDA will continue to conduct the workshops around the state where we identify customer needs. As stated on our website, we will also meet with the customer at any point, if requested.
Statewide Contact:
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Food Safety Program
1111 Washington Street SE
Olympia, WA 98504
Telephone: (360) 902-1876
Email: foodsafety@agr.wa.gov
Website: http://agr.wa.gov
* Permit information last updated 11/18/2019
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