The food industry can be quite daunting for beginners, especially if you don’t know much about the food business. There are many factors to consider while learning how to sell food online, from the production and packaging to food laws and business permits. Both large and small businesses must be aware of these laws in order to continue their business activities. No matter what country the business is from, this is of utmost importance. A clear example is the Grupo Campero, a business that has grown in popularity due to its persistence and respect for the laws, following them has made it a successful venture.
Keep reading to learn how to start a business from home and all of the legal requirements behind it. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to start an online food store, and you’ll know how to grow it to success.
Selling food online can be one of the most profitable ways to make money, but it’s important to take care of the legal aspects before else. Take a note that that food laws vary between regions. You should find a local lawyer and do further research on regulations specific to your area when getting your license for selling food online.
1. Get the Necessary Permits for the Business (Online)
There are several standard licenses and permits you should acquire when selling food online:
-General business license – the necessary permission to sell in your local jurisdiction, perfect if you plan to sell food from home. You can obtain it from your county or city government.
-Health inspection permit – foods and beverages must pass a health inspection before being sold to the public.
-Assumed name certificate (DBA) – if you want to use a business name that is not your legal name or the name of your corporation, you will need to obtain this license to sell online.
-Tax permit – some states require you to collect taxes on the food you sell. Check your local government’s site to learn more about it because some areas have a special tax for internet sellers.
Registration with the Secretary of State is not mandatory for all businesses, as it depends on your business structure. For example, sole proprietorships do not have to register with the state, while limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships must do so.
Check the local Secretary of State’s website for more information, as the registration process is different for each state.
2. Check General Food Laws
Under the FDA regulation, food products are categorized into two types – high-risk and low-risk.
Low-risk food products are allowed to be produced from domestic kitchens. This category includes baked goods, dried fruits, jams, candies, and oat flakes.
Meanwhile, high-risk food must be manufactured from commercial kitchens. Food items included in this category are prone to microbiological contamination, like dairy, seafood, and frozen products.
3. Register the Food Facility
According to the FDA, home-based businesses don’t need to register their home kitchen. However, they still need to follow the FDA and local health departments about food safety.
Contact your county or city’s health agencies to understand the regulations in your area.
Meanwhile, if you plan to have a commercial kitchen to produce and pack your products, you need to register it with the FDA before you start selling. You can find more information on the registration process on the FDA’s website.
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number you use when filing your income tax return, opening a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, or getting a business loan.
Apply for an EIN on the International Revenue Service (IRS) website, which should be done right after registering your business.
Note that sole proprietorships do not need an EIN, as the owner’s social security number is enough.
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