The Virginia Food Laws require all home-based food operations to be under inspection. With that being said, there is an non-negotiable exemption, for certain foods and their point-of-sale. The exemption is as follows:
- The legislation provides for ONLY 3 (three) categories of food products that can be processed without a state inspection:
- Jams and jellies not considered to be low-acid or acidified low-acid food products and
- Baked goods that do not require time or temperature control for safety after preparation.
Note: Products other than those listed are not exempt and are subject to state inspection.
- The legislation places stipulations on selling these products as follows:
- They are to be sold to an individual for his/her own consumption and not for resale (i.e. if a business wholesales the product they lose the exemption and are subject to inspection).
- The products are sold at the private home or at a farmers market.
- The legislation requires that products include the following statement on the label in order to be exempt: ”NOT FOR RESALE – PROCESSED AND PREPARED WITHOUT STATE INSPECTION”
This statement should be located on the principal display panel and be of such size as to be legible and prominently recognized. In addition, this exemption does not preclude the need for standard labeling information on the product label (name of product, name and address of the manufacturer, distributor, or packer, net weight statement, an ingredient statement and possibly nutritional information).
- Internet sales are not considered “sales at the home” and those businesses engaged in internet sales would not qualify for the exemption.
- Farmers market operators can set their own requirements for participating vendors including a requirement that products sold at their facility be under inspection.
- If requested, VDACS will inspect firms that qualify for the exemption.
As mentioned above, this legislation does not exempt the owner from labeling the food products accurately, in accordance to the regulations. Guidelines for these labeling requirements can be found in the “Home Food Business” packet below. All other required information is listed, as well, in a stepwise fashion, in the packet.
- VDACS Home Op Packet [PDF]
- Starting a Food Processing Business [PDF]
- Virginia’s Home Kitchen Food Processing Exemptions [PDF]
There is an annual $100 fee associated with operating a food business in Virginia. If a potential client wants to claim the exemption, and is in compliance with all of the requirements, they would not be subject to this.
Upon reading all of the information and if you still have questions, please contact:
Heath A. Gerber
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Office of Dairy and Foods
102 Governor St.
Richmond, VA 23219