As fall approaches, harvest season means that small farms will begin producing and selling their home-prepared foods. This part of the U.S. food supply chain is known as the cottage food industry and cottage food producers are subject to certain regulations. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers online training in food safety, food preparation and Iowa regulations designed specifically for cottage food producers.
The Home-based Food Operators: Regulations and Food Safety Course is available online 24/7 in Moodle, an online learning management system.
“Iowa has unique laws that do allow for some foods to be sold out of the home or at a farmers market,” said Shannon Coleman, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and a human sciences extension specialist at Iowa State. “These online learning modules have been tailored specifically to Iowa’s laws and regulations and also include food safety information that can be used in production and at the point of sale.”
The Home-based Food Operators: Regulations and Food Safety Course modules address Iowa regulations and licensing and food safety procedures from preparation to the point of sale. They are intended for exempt home food operations and home bakers who make and sell foods out of their homes or sell produce at farmers markets. The courses cover Iowa policies and regulations, food safety basics, foodborne pathogens, foods that do and do not require temperature control, and safe production and preparation practices.