By Ashley Ellixson
The question of business address on a food label is really quite common. You might be wondering, why would someone make the food that he or she sells at a community licensed kitchen but do everything else from his or her home? The easiest answer is because it can be costly to license your at-home kitchen for processing and the requirements to be met may not allow for a typical family environment in the at-home kitchen. Local and state zoning, waste disposal, and other laws may also apply which can also make an at-home kitchen license a less appealing venture.
In Maryland, an onfarm home processing license is issued by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). To obtain this license, you must be a farmer with sales of less than $40,000 annually. The DHMH license allows the processing of some products in a home kitchen, and the cost of the license is $30. If you are not a farmer, the processing license is again issued by the Maryland DHMH to persons processing food. You must meet commercial requirements and the cost is $400.
Now that we understand why some small product sellers may use a kitchen other than their own to produce their product, we can take a look at which address they are required to use when labeling their product. Section 101.5 of the Food Labeling Code of Federal Regulations states:
Food; name and place of business of manufacturer, packer, or distributor.
(a) The label of a food in packaged form shall specify conspicuously the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor.
(b) The requirement for declaration of the name of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor shall be deemed to be satisfied, in the case of a corporation, only by the actual corporate name, which may be preceded or followed by the name of the particular division of the corporation. In the case of an individual, partnership, or association, the name under which the business is conducted shall be used.
(c) Where the food is not manufactured by the person whose name appears on the label, the name shall be qualified by a phrase that reveals the connection such person has with such food; such as “Manufactured for ___”, “Distributed by ___”, or any other wording that expresses the facts.
(d) The statement of the place of business shall include the street address, city, State, and ZIP code; however, the street address may be omitted if it is shown in a current city directory or telephone directory. The requirement for inclusion of the ZIP code shall apply only to consumer commodity labels developed or revised after the effective date of this section. In the case of nonconsumer packages, the ZIP code shall appear either on the label or the labeling (including invoice).
(e) If a person manufactures, packs, or distributes a food at a place other than his principal place of business, the label may state the principal place of business in lieu of the actual place where such food was manufactured or packed or is to be distributed, unless such statement would be misleading.
The important piece of this code to answer today’s question is section (e)-“…the label may state the principal place of business [instead] of the actual place where the food was manufactured…” What this means is, if you cook and can your beans at a licensed kitchen but market, make labels, grow, and ship the beans from your home (aka principal place of business), you can place your home address on the label.
If you have any other questions concerning food labels, please contact me at email@example.com so I can continue to help educate you in your venture.