Starting a Food Processing Business in Connecticut

Thinking of Starting a Food Business?

Starting or growing a food business is just like any other small business. Consider these questions as you develop your food product and business.

  • What is your reason for starting a food business?
  • What impact will managing a food business have on your life?
  • Do you have the necessary capital to fund this new business?
  • What are your strengths and where will you need help?
  • Will you need additional outside help?
  • What is your product?
  • Where will you make your product?
  • What local, state and federal regulations apply?
  • Where will you sell your product?
  • How will you promote your product?
  • How will you price your product?

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Cornell Food Venture Center

Pros and Cons of Starting a Specialty Food Business and Steps to Start a Specialty Food Business

Steps to start a food business

The food business start-up steps outlined include: the product, business planning, labels, market decisions, and production.


Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center


Connecticut Business Resources

For general information regarding starting/conducting business in Connecticut, go here.


CT Department of Consumer Protection

Food and Standards Division Phone:  860-713-6160


The Department of Consumer Protection regulates all persons and businesses that manufacture or sell food products in the State in order to detect and prevent the distribution of adulterated, contaminated, or unsanitary food products.

If you are interested in starting a (non-meat) food processing business, you must contact the Foods Program, which is responsible for inspecting retail and wholesale food manufacturers that operate, transport or store food in Connecticut; overseeing licensees under the Bakery, Non-alcoholic Beverage/Cider, wholesale and retail frozen desserts and food vending machine statutes and regulations; and conducting and maintaining food manufacturing inspections under the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) contracts.


Connecticut Department of Agriculture


Business Development Assistance

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture provides marketing assistance and information to food businesses.  The Department maintains a list of specialty food businesses in the state, which is posted on its website as a resource for consumers.


Small Poultry Processor Inspection Program

If you are interested in starting a small, USDA/FSIS exempt poultry processing operation, contact the Department of Agriculture.


CT Department of Public Health Food Protection Program

Phone: (860) 509-7297

The Food Protection Program’s overall mission is to reduce the risk of   disease by ensuring reasonable protection from contaminated food and improving the sanitary condition of food establishments. Local health departments accomplish the mission by ensuring compliance by food establishments with the Connecticut Food Code.  If you want to establish a commercial kitchen, your first step is to contact your local health department.


To find the Local Health Department for your town, city or region

Food Safety and Regulation:  Federal

US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)

Philadelphia District Office

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Mellon Independence Center
701 Market Street, Suite 4100A
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 430-6301

USDA/FSIS is responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged, as required by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act.  If you are interested in starting a meat or poultry processing business, you must contact the FSIS regional office in Philadelphia.  The State of Connecticut does not allow meat and poultry products to be sold to retailers (restaurants, grocery stores, foodservice, etc.) unless the products have been processed under USDA/FSIS inspection (with the exception of exempted poultry products, which must be inspected by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture).


U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Food and Drug Administration

Northeast Regional Office

One Montvale Ave. 

Stoneham , MA 02180

Phone:  781-596-7788

The FDA is responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome and properly labeled. This applies to foods produced domestically, as well as foods from foreign countries. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act are the Federal laws governing food products under FDA's jurisdiction, which includes all foods not covered by USDA/FSIS. Local, state, tribal and federal regulators use the FDA Model Food Code as a model to develop and/or update their food safety regulations and to be consistent with national food regulatory policy.  In addition, the site will direct you to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) for food and regulations regarding acidified and low acid canned foods, including establishment registration and process filing.  Guidelines and information are available regarding Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs for seafood, fresh juice (including cider) and other products.

Information about food facility registration with FDA

Small entity compliance guide includes information regarding registration and exemptions from registration.


Information and Resources

Comprehensive University Programs

Cornell Food Venture Center
Cynthia James (315) 787-2622  Email:
Sue Brightman (315) 787-2281  Email:
Shannon Prozeller (315) 787-2273 Email:
Bruno Xavier (315) 787-2280   Email:

 Cornell Food Venture Center @ Cornell AgriTech
Food Research Lab, Room 158
 630 W. North Street
 Geneva, NY 14456


University of Maine Pilot Plant

Dr. Sue Sullivan Phone: 207-581-3029 Email:

The Staff at the Dr. Matthew Highlands Pilot Plant along with the professionals at the University of Maine can be the bridge between kitchen recipes and the science of developing a product into your own business.


Penn State Extension Food Entrepreneurs

Resource for food entrepreneurs

Penn State Extension Food Entrepreneurs is your one stop information source for small and medium-sized food businesses....and those who are thinking about starting a new food business. This is a gateway site to many web-based resources for specialty food processors.


Rutgers Food Innovation Center

Phone:  (856) 459-1900


450 East Broad Street (Rt 49)

Bridgeton, NJ  08302

A business incubation and economic development accelerator program, which provides business and technology expertise to startup and established food companies in the mid-Atlantic region. The Center offers an online course, Food Business Basics. 


Vermont Food Venture Center (non-university program)

Vermont Food Venture Center
PO Box 422
140 Junction Rd
Hardwick, VT 05843

(802) 472-5362


The Vermont Food Venture Center is a shared-use kitchen incubator for value-added and specialty food producers who can rent the kitchen on an hourly basis or arrange for co-packing at the facility.


Connecticut Food Association 

433 S Main St Ste 309
West Hartford, CT, 06110-2812
United States
(t) 860216-4055
(f) 860216-4098


Specialty Food Association

(212) 482-6440