When is a Class H Homestead License Required (Non- Exempt)
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 series, developed from New Hampshire Food Protection Section guidance, can help to get you started. Reading all the fact sheets will give you the best start with the information you need to start and grow your food business.
There are 15 cities and towns in New Hampshire that are self-inspecting and may require additional requirements for Homestead licensing. See the resource section for a link to a listing of the cities and towns.
You may be surprised at the variety of foods that are allowed to be made in your home kitchen. The same foods are allowed whether exempt from a Homestead license or with the Homestead Class H license. Depending on which markets you are selling to, and your sales volume, a Class H license for your home kitchen may be required.
In Part One, we learn about the foods you can make and those you are prohibited from making. The additional requirements for Homestead businesses that require a Class H Homestead license are listed here.
A Class H Homestead License is required if:
Your gross sales from your homestead food products exceed $35,000. Accurate records should be kept and maintained, including sales records.
You wish to sell your non-TCS foods (safe at room temperature storage) products:
To food establishments (not including retail food stores - for these, no license is needed to sell homestead foods under the $35,000 sales limit
Over the internet
By mail order
To wholesalers, brokers, or other food distributors
1. What must I submit with my license application?
Water test results for bacteria, nitrates and nitrites if using well water. Not required if using municipal water.
All Process Review results for any processed or jarred foods such as BBQ, hot sauces, mustards, pepper jellies, and "tweaked" jam/jelly recipes. Laboratory results (pH and water activity) for homemade buttercream or cream cheese frostings.
Water activity results for any baked goods made with banana, pumpkin, zucchini or other fruit or vegetable.
List of products you are selling.
Copy of a sample of finished product labels.
2. What Kinds of Foods Can I Sell with a Homestead Food License?
Under a homestead license, you are not allowed to offer potentially hazardous food that requires refrigeration for safety or beverages such as Kombucha or Cold Brew Coffee.
Note: Homestead food operations are allowed to produce jams or jellies that do not use recipes approved by the National Center for Home Food Preservation only if the operations submit a Process Review by a food processing authority that states the food is safe.
A Process Review is conducted by a food processing authority on each product prior to its being produced by the license holder. The food processing authority declares in writing whether there are biological food safety concerns with the food. Products that are classified as acid foods and foods that have low water activity (below 0.85) can be produced in the homestead.