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Cottage Food Operations (CFO's)

Zoning and Planning Requirements

While you may be operating a cottage food facility from your private residence, you may be required to meet certain zoning and planning criteria, such as parking, noise, traffic control, density, or other standards. Please contact your local building department for specific zoning requirements.  Please contact Permit Sonoma for specific zoning requirements.

Septic System Requirements

Cottage Food Operations connected to an onsite septic system for liquid waste disposal, verses a county or city sewer may be required to meet additional criteria. Please refer to Permit Sonoma's website Cottage Food Operation Permit Requirements for Operators on Septic Systems for further information.

Do I Need a Cottage Food Registration or Permit?

Cottage Food Operation Registration - Class A

  • If you plan to sell your food in-person directly to consumers (aka "direct sales") from your home or at community events, bake sales, farm stands, farmers markets, or other locations, you need a cottage food operation registration. 

Cottage Food Operation Permit - Class B

  • If, in addition to direct sales, you plan to also sell your food indirectly from local shops (wholesale), restaurants or other third-party locations, you need a cottage food operation permit.

These are the steps to take to obtain your cottage food operation permit or registration. To sell cottage food products at community events you must obtain a temporary food facility permit.

Labeling and Packaging

Cottage food products are required to be labeled in accordance with specific state and federal labeling regulations. Complete federal labeling requirements may be found in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Title 21.

Labels shall include:

  1. Home kitchen identification
  2. Common or descriptive name
  3. CFO identification
  4. Registration or permit number
  5. Ingredients
  6. Net quantity
  7. Allergens
  8. English language
  9. Nutrient content claim
  10. Health claim
  11. Nutrition fact panel

Label Example

image of a label example

  • Labeling requirements are the same for Class A and Class B; the identifier listed is either "Registration #" for Class A or "Permit #" for Class B.

Nutrition Fact Panel Example

image of a nutrition fact panel

Food label


Any packaging materials that come into contact with the 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 must be affixed to the packaging.

Packaging Example

Packaging consists of 6 1/2" x 5 1/2" clear, fold top plastic twist ties. Two chocolate chip cookies will be placed in each bag and the bag will be sealed closed. A computer-generated self-stick label will be placed on each bag.

Apply for a Cottage Food Registration
Class A

Copies of labels for each cottage food product you are proposing to manufacture must be included with your application.

Apply for a Cottage Food Permit
Class B

Copies of labels for each cottage food product you are proposing to manufacture must be included with your application.

How to Get a Cannery License

California law requires that a canner of certain acidified foods and/or thermally processed low-acid canned foods (LACF) must obtain a Cannery License, issued by the California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch (FDB), prior to initiating processing operations.

How to Get a Processed Food Registration

California Health and Safety Code Section 110460 requires businesses that manufacture, repack, label, or warehouse processed food products in this State to register with the Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch.