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Do You Need a License to Sell Charcuterie Boards?

Yes. In many states, you will need to obtain a business license and many other licenses to start a business that makes and sells food.

Cottage food businesses normally do not need licenses, but charcuterie board businesses in most places barely fall under cottage food law regulation.

Even though charcuterie has been around since the 15th century, it only started to gain momentum as a culinary delight in late 2019.

Anyone looking to make and sell charcuterie boards will have to understand that acquiring the essential licenses and certifications may not be as easy as visiting your local county office.

However, this shouldn’t stop you from venturing into this lucrative business. To verify if a charcuterie business is permitted in your area, just visit any nearby restaurants and commercial food businesses.

Since most charcuterie doesn’t necessitate cooking, you will have to contend with fewer restrictions than normal food establishments.

Licenses Needed to Sell Charcuterie Boards

  1. Food Establishment Permit

In a good number of states in the United States, businesses selling food products are expected to obtain a food establishment permit from the local health department or regulatory agency.

The primary essence of this license is to guarantee that your operation adheres to all relevant food safety standards and regulations.

However, note that the requirements as well as steps necessary to obtain this permit will vary from one location to another, and will more or less include appropriate food handling, storage, and sanitation practices. You should also expect inspections and periodic renewals to ensure you are still in compliance.

  1. Food Handler’s Permit

Coupled with a food service establishment permit, a good number of states expect food businesses, including those making and selling charcuterie boards, to obtain a food handler’s permit.

This permit is more or less required for anyone who handles food within a commercial kitchen. To obtain a food handler’s permit, you will be expected to take a food safety course and pass an exam.

  1. Business License

Just as it was noted above, you will need to obtain a business license to sell charcuterie boards in the United States. Before opening your shop or offering your services to customers, note that it is mandatory you register your business and obtain a business license from the requisite government authority, most often at the city or county level.

It is imperative to state that this license proves that you are legally permitted to operate within your jurisdiction and might very well necessitate fees and paperwork.

Depending on your business structure, you might as well be mandated to register with the state or acquire additional permits, such as a sales tax permit.

  1. Seller’s Permit

If you intend to sell charcuterie boards directly to consumers, be it online, at farmers’ markets, or via other channels, you have to obtain a seller’s permit or resale license.

While it will depend on your location and the business structure, keep in mind that this permit ensures that you can collect and remit sales tax on the products you sell.

Nevertheless, always remember that the requirements and application process for a seller’s permit will vary from one location to another. As such, reach out to or check with your state’s Department of Revenue or Taxation for guidance.

  1. Commercial Kitchen License or Cottage Food License

Based on your production methods and the size of your business, you might have to apply for or obtain a commercial kitchen license or a cottage food license.

You need to understand that a commercial kitchen license is necessary particularly if you arrange and prepare charcuterie boards in a commercial kitchen or food facility.

In the same vein, a cottage food license ensures that you can produce certain low-risk food products, such as some types of charcuterie, in a home kitchen for sale directly to consumers.

Nevertheless, always remember that cottage food laws vary from one state to another and might possess restrictions on the sort of products permitted and sales venues allowed.

  1. Alcohol License (if applicable)

Although not necessary, it is a valid option to consider. If you intend to inculcate alcoholic beverages, such as wine or craft beer, as part of your charcuterie board offerings, you must acquire the necessary alcohol license or permit.

Keep in mind that this might include a liquor license, beer and wine license, or temporary event permit. Note that Alcohol licensing requirements are regulated at the state and local levels and might necessitate extra fees and conformance measures.