Jan 10, 2022

The Arkansas Food Freedom Act: What You Need to Know

Entering 2022, food entrepreneurs need to be aware of the Arkansas Food Freedom Act, which went into effect on July 28th, 2021. The new legislation replaced the Cottage Food Law. According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, The Arkansas Food Freedom Act expands home-based food production of “non-time/temperature control for safety” (Non-TCS) food items. This update added to the list of things that are now allowed to be sold, such as some salsas and sauces, and this also provides more opportunities for beekeepers to sell more products to the public.

To ensure your food business is following the new law, visit the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture website. They have resource guides for entrepreneurs such as Homemade Food Production Guidelines and a Fact Sheet with detailed steps and information about complying with the new law. To compare the new law to the old law, you can review the original Cottage Food law here.

Entrepreneurs currently or planning to sell under this new law should be aware of label change requirements for all, such as the prerequisite to notify customers that the item was made in a private residence. The label should state: “This product was produced in a private residence that is exempt from state licensing and inspection, and this product may contain allergens.” 

All producers must also list their location and contact information in a new manner, so it is essential for those who aren’t new producers to read over the new requirements to ensure their old labels are compliant.

A provision allows producers to hide personal location and contact information from the public with a state ID number system instead, allowing the producer to be appropriately registered and compliant but guard personal privacy.

For food manufacturer’s insurance, which is always a good idea, food entrepreneurs should visit The Food Liability Insurance Program website. For Northwest Arkansas food entrepreneurs in need of assistance with the pH testing provision of the new law and to find out how to apply to become a commercial kitchen producer, visit the Arkansas Food Innovation Center website. 

Also, check out our blog about the regional, public, commercial kitchen. The Kitchen of the Arkansas Ozarks in Marshall is just two hours east of Springdale. It is a multi-purpose, dual-certified manufacturing and food establishment facility, inspected and permitted by the Arkansas Department of Health to meet the culinary needs of the Ozarks region of Arkansas and Missouri and its communities. Its use is open to any Arkansas or Missouri food entrepreneur anytime at very low-cost hourly rates. Contact information can be found in our blog link above.