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Levi King
Levi King

Can You Buy Kombucha Under 21



Kombucha is made by fermenting tea with the help of bacteria and yeast (yum!). These bacteria and yeast work together to transform sweet tea into kombucha. The yeast eat the sugars in your tea, transforming them into ethanol. The bacteria feed on this ethanol, turning it into acidity and giving kombucha its distinctively sour taste.




can you buy kombucha under 21



Most store bought brands of kombucha contain around 0.5% ABV. The Food and Drug Administration legally requires any beverages containing more alcohol than this to be labelled as an alcoholic beverage. (For reference, your average beer contains about 5% ABV).


To make traditional kombucha, firms typically brew tea, add sugar, and then ferment the mixture with a kombucha culture or 'SCOBY' (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The yeast converts some of the sugars to alcohol, most of which is consumed by the bacteria and converted into acetic acid (explaining the slightly vinegary taste) and other organic acids.


The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) took a close interest in the alcohol levels in kombucha in 2010, prompting a high-profile withdrawal of products in Whole Foods. However, since then the pressure to address the alcohol compliance issue has been driven by lawsuits, with multiple brands in the space being sued by competitors or by consumers.


The overall kombucha category, which was experiencing pretty meteoric growth for a number of years, has matured and started to slow down in recent years, with SPINS data for the 52 weeks to April 18, 2021, showing dollar sales of refrigerated kombucha and fermented beverages up +3.93%, driven by +7% growth in the conventional channel (MULO) partially offset by a -7% decline in the natural enhanced channel.


Operating a business under the Cottage Food Law is not for everyone. Some food products do not fit under the exemptions and some businesses aim to make more each year than the $25,000 cap outlined in the Cottage Food Law. However, the Cottage Food Law is a great opportunity for many who have been thinking about starting a food business, but have been reluctant to spend the money needed to establish or rent commercial kitchen space.


Selling directly to consumers under the Cottage Food Law provides an opportunity for new, small scale food processors to "test the waters" and see if operating a food business is the right fit for them. The law also enables farmers who sell produce at farmers markets and on-farm markets to expand their product lines to include things like baked goods and jams. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone into a full-scale, licensed food processing business for many cottage food businesses in the future.


Michigan State University Extension offers an online Cottage Food Law Food Safety Training program to educate those wishing to prepare and sell foods under the Cottage Food Law. The training program, funded by a Food Safety Education Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, covers safe food production, packaging and labeling, storing and transportation. To complete the online training, visit Michigan Cottage Food Law Food Safety Online Training.


A producer of Potentially Hazardous Foods/Temperature Controlled for Safety Foods (PHF/TCS) does not qualify as a cottage food operator. "Potentially hazardous food" is defined under the Food Code and is used to classify foods that require time-temperature control (i.e. must be held in a refrigerator) to keep them safe for human consumption. A PHF/TCS is a food that:


No. If you qualify to operate under the Cottage Food law, you are exempt from obtaining a food establishment license under the Food Code. There are no application forms to complete, no registration process, and you do not need to obtain a food license or permit from MDARD.


The Cottage Food Law allows food entrepreneurs to operate small food businesses and produce a variety of food products that are low risk from a food safety standpoint, if prepared properly in an unlicensed and uninspected kitchen, while protecting public health to the greatest extent possible. The allowable products list is based on the food safety risk level associated with certain types of food. People who operate a licensed and inspected food processing business have to meet certain requirements for training, food safety, and handling. Since Cottage Food businesses are unlicensed and uninspected, it is necessary to limit food products allowed under the law to those that are considered low risk, or non-potentially hazardous.


Although there is nothing specific under the Cottage Food amendment to the Michigan Food Law to prohibit you from labeling and selling baked goods as gluten-free, there is a relatively new federal rule that would increase your liability if someone who has Celiac disease gets sick from your product, and puts the burden on you to prove your product meets the standards outlined in the federal rule, including labeling and sanitation requirements. Because this is a human health concern, many licensed food processors use entirely separate facilities to process their gluten-free products, to reduce their liability and assure the products are gluten-free. Your kitchen would need to be proven to be free of gluten prior to and after each use.


Here are the CFR references for Acidified Foods/Acid Foods from the FDA website: ( =114.3)B. Acidified Foods"Acidified foods" are low-acid foods to which acid(s) or acid food(s) are added; they have a water activity greater than 0.85 and have a finished equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below (21 CFR 114.3(b)). The definition of acidified foods provides that carbonated beverages and foods that are stored, distributed, and retailed under refrigeration are excluded from the coverage of 21 CFR part 114 (21 CFR 114.3(b)).


In the final rule establishing 21 CFR part 114 (44 FR 16230 at 16232), we specifically excluded jams, jellies and preserves from the general definition of acidified foods because experience and review of the evidence show that bacteria of public health significance cannot and do not grow in these foods. Thus, under 21 CFR 114.3(b), jams, jellies, and preserves are excluded from the coverage of 21 CFR part 114. We consider jams, jellies, and preserves that meet an applicable standard of identity under 21 CFR part 150 to be excluded from the coverage of 21 CFR part 114. We determine whether nonstandardized jellies (including non-fruit jellies), nonstandardized jams, and nonstandardized preserves are covered by 21 CFR part 114 based on the pH of the fruit, the pH of the final product, and the water activity level of the final product.


A food containing both acid food(s) and low-acid food(s) may or may not be covered by 21 CFR part 114 as an acidified food. Under 21 CFR 114.3(b), acid foods that contain small amounts of low-acid food(s) and have a resultant finished equilibrium pH that does not significantly differ from that of the predominant acid or acid food are excluded from the coverage of part 114 (21 CFR 114.3(b)). The regulation in 21 CFR 114.3(b) establishes two criteria that must be satisfied to qualify for this exclusion: (1) the amount of low-acid food(s) in the product must be a "small amount," and (2) the finished equilibrium pH must not differ significantly from that of the predominant acid or acid food. See Section III.H of this guidance for recommendations on how to determine whether a food containing both acid food(s) and low-acid food(s) is covered under 21 CFR part 114.


No. Food products made with cooked vegetable products do not qualify under the Cottage Food Law. Manufacturers of cooked vegetable products like salsas and tomato sauces, must meet significant federal and state training and licensing requirements. Cooked vegetables, whether fresh or canned, usually are made from a combination of low acid and acidified foods, and are considered a Potentially Hazardous Food/Temperature Controlled for Safety (PHF/TCS) food. Under the Michigan Food Code, cooked vegetables must be held either hot (above 135F) or cold (below 41F). They can't be stored at room temperature, which makes them ineligible for production in an unlicensed kitchen under the Cottage Food Law.


Wild mushrooms are required to be collected or identified by a certified expert and are labeled according to the requirements under that program. View information about becoming a certified wild mushroom expert.


Yes. You can roast and sell whole bean coffee or ground coffee, as long as you meet all of the provisions of the Cottage Food amendments (labeling, storage, etc.); however, since beverages are not allowed under the Cottage Food amendments to the Michigan Food Law, you may not sell ready-made coffee.


No. Honey and maple syrup are not considered cottage foods, because the regulatory requirements and exemptions have some significant differences. They do, however, have their own set of licensing exemptions under the law. Please see the Michigan Maple Syrup and Honey Licensing Exemptions for more information.


Yes. Dried dip mixes, dried soup mixes and spice blends can be made and sold under the Cottage Food amendments. However, you cannot mix the dried soup or dip mixes with water or sour cream or another Potentially Hazardous Food/Temperature Controlled for Safety (PHF/TCS) food and sell the mixture or serve samples. All products must be labeled correctly and completely, and the label must include any allergens the product may contain.


Yes. Hard candies, lollipops, and peppermint candies are allowed under the Cottage Food Law, as long as they are labeled correctly and completely, the label includes any allergens the product may contain, and all other provisions of the law are met.


No, but you can use commercially canned products for baked goods, such as canned pumpkin, cherry pie filling, etc. Home-canned products are not approved for production under the Cottage Food Law, with the exception of fruit-based jams and jellies defined as standard in 21 CFR part 150. 041b061a72


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