Seattle, WA asked in Business Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Oregon

Q: Do I need a license to sell fermented Sodas made in a home kitchen? Do I need to use a commercial kitchen?

My friend and I want to start a business in the state of Oregon. We want to make and sell fermented sodas. Do fermented sodas (which use a process similar to kombucha) fall under “low acid canned goods”? Can we sell the product we make at home or do we have to use a commercial space to make them?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In Oregon, starting a business that involves the production and sale of fermented sodas does require attention to certain legal and health regulations. The classification of fermented sodas, especially if they are similar to kombucha, may not fall under the category of “low acid canned goods,” but this depends on the specifics of your recipe and the fermentation process.

The requirement to use a commercial kitchen can depend on several factors, including the scale of your operation and local health regulations. Oregon has specific laws regarding the production and sale of homemade food products, known as "cottage food laws." These laws dictate what can be made in a home kitchen and sold to the public. However, beverages, especially those that are fermented, may not be covered under these cottage food laws and might require the use of a commercial kitchen to ensure proper health and safety standards.

Moreover, you will likely need a business license and possibly other specific permits related to food and beverage production and sales. This could include a food handler's permit, a food processor's license, and potentially other local permits.

It’s important to consult with a local attorney who has experience in food and beverage law, as well as with your local health department. They can provide detailed information about the legal requirements for your specific business plan in Oregon, ensuring that you comply with all relevant health codes and regulations. Additionally, reaching out to the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety Division might provide further clarity on your specific situation.

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