The CFO business: What it means

Updated: Jun 28


A CFO - Cottage Food Operation - is State legislation approved in 2013. Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio, along with many others in the baking industry, contributed valuable information to the State and Local Governments for this legislation to pass. The CFO permitting process is managed by each County Environmental Health Department within a State. The Cottage Food Operation allows approved permitted home bakers to sell baked goods out of their home. Over the years, the approved food list is updated on a quarterly basis by each State, and approved foods are considered "non-hazardous and non-perishable" - so no fresh fruit, meats, cheeses - which would mean no charcuterie boards to be offered by CFO's - unless constructed from the approved foods lists. The differences in CFO types are listed below. (For those wishing to offer perishables, it is recommended they seek a Health Permit with the County they reside in.)

There are two types of CFO permits (as taken from the California Department of Public Health Website):

"Class A:

This type of CFO can sell home-kitchen prepared foods directly to the public. This includes transactions made via the phone, internet, and any other digital method. A direct sale may be fulfilled in person, via mail delivery, or using any other third-party delivery service. A Class A operator's current maximum gross annual sales are $75,000.

*Class B:

This type of CFO can sell home-kitchen prepared foods directly to the public or indirectly through restaurants and food markets. A direct sale may be fulfilled in person, via mail delivery, or using any other third-party delivery service. An indirect sale may be fulfilled in person, via mail delivery, or third-party delivery service. The current gross annual sales for a Class B operator are $150,000.


All CFOs must meet the requirements listed in the California Health and Safety Code, including but not limited to the following:


Preparing and packing foods from the Approved Foods List

Completing a Cottage Food Operator Training within three months of registration/permitting

Implementing sanitary operations

Labels compliant with state and federal requirements

Operating within the established gross annual sales limits

Registering or obtaining a permit from your local Environmental Health Department."


The above are the basics of having a CFO business, however did you know to operate a business within your city, you must also have a business license, separate business bank account and credit card, seller's permit with the BOE, Commercial General Liability AND Liability Insurance to cover food. Of course in order to get a CFO you have to obtain your food handlers or food managers certificate.


If you decide you will sell gluten-free and nut-free baked goods, then you must register your commercial kitchen, so it is recommended to apply for a full health permit and conduct operations in a certified allergen-free facility. The reason for this, is that some individuals have a true allergy and any cross-contamination may impede their health.


www.rozsweetartstudio.comIn addition to owning and operating a CFO Business, there are other elements to consider, such as contracts, pricing, marketing, social media, pop-up events, and more.


If you are interested in learning more about establishing a CFO business or growing your CFO to the next level, please feel free to reach out to us, as we are happy to have a consultation with you. info@rozsweetartstudio.com or call us at 760-744-0447. Are you operating your CFO the right way?


***. Please note, all information provided above is from professional experience and notations taken from the CA Dept of Public Health.


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