Selling Homemade Food Products in NH - The Basics - Part Three [Fact Sheet]

When is a Commercial Kitchen Food License Required?

Starting a homestead food business is a dream of many home cooks. Beginning small, in your own kitchen, with shelf-stable baked goods and other allowed foods is a practical way to try out this venture.

There are some food safety and legal requirements that will help to create a delicious and safe product. This fact sheet, developed from New Hampshire Food Protection Section guidance, can help to get you started. In Parts One ( and Two ( you learned about the kinds of foods you can make and sell in your home kitchen. In this fact sheet, we will discuss the kinds of foods that require a commercial kitchen.

You will need a commercial kitchen food license and access to a commercial kitchen to make and sell these food products:

  1. Acidified foods: low-acid foods to which acid(s) or acid food(s) are added.

          Acidified foods include acidified or pickled:

  • Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Artichokes
  • Cauliflower
  • Puddings
  • Peppers
  • Tropical fruits
  • Fish
  • Salsa
  • Pepper Jelly
  • Relish

    For a complete list, contact DHHS:
2. Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kimchi

3. Special processes – dehydration

4. Refrigerated foods or foods requiring Time/Temperature Control for safety (TCS foods) including cheesecake, sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.

Commercial Kitchen Requirements

  • Commercial refrigeration
  • 3-bay sink to wash, rinse, and sanitize equipment
  • Separate food prep sink
  • At least one hand washing sink
  • Mop sink
  • Floors, walls, and ceilings are required to be smooth, durable, non-absorbant, and easily cleanable

Commercial Kitchen License Requirements

  • Water test results
  • Septic documentation, including approval for construction and approval for operation
  • If the facility is new, then floor plans are required to be submitted for a plan review
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan may be required

Additional FDA Requirements for Acidified Foods

  • Processors of acidified foods are required to attend and satisfactorily complete a Better Process Control School (BPCS) for acidified foods.
  • In addition to the BPCS, manufacturers of acidified foods are required to file and register their scheduled processes with the FDA.

A scheduled process is the steps and controls you use to manufacture a food that will not permit the growth of foodborne illness causing microorganisms.

NH Food Protection has a detailed info sheet on these FDA requirements: (Scroll to page 5)

jar of pickles

For More Information:

Food Processing Authority University of Maine- Beth Calder 207-581-2791

Food processors

Floor plan review

HACCP Principles & Application Guidelines


NH Food Protection Frequently Asked Questions about Homestead Food Businesses

New Hampshire He-P 2300 Sanitary Production and Distribution of Food

NH Food Protection Food Safety and Defense Specialist - Royann Bossidy 603-271-3989

Retail food establishments - commercial kitchens

UNH Extension Food Safety Field Specialists

Mary Saucier Choate, 603-787-6944

Ann Hamilton, 603- 447-3834

Funding for this project provided by USDA-NIFA Award 2018-70020-28876.

Special appreciation to Royann Bossidy of the NH Food Protection Section for her insights and guidance in putting together this 3-part fact sheet series.

Created July, 2020, by Mary Saucier Choate, UNH Extension Field Specialist, Food Safety.


Mary Choate
Food Safety Field Specialist
Assoc Field Specialist
Phone: 603-787-6944
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824

Ann Hamilton
Food Safety Field Specialist
Full Extension Field Spec
Phone: (603) 447-3834
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824