Cottage Foods - pH Testing

Food safety is at the heart of the trust your friends, family, and valued customers put in your products. One of the key indicators of whether your pickling process is working as you intend is pH testing to measure the acidity of your finished product. Free equilibrium pH testing of pickled fruits and vegetables is now available to Colorado Cottage Food Producers through the Laboratory Services Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

Although foodborne botulism is rare, it is commonly associated with homemade pickled fruit and vegetable products that have pH levels specifically above 4.6 because these levels create the perfect environment for harmful toxins to grow and when consumed can cause foodborne botulism. The chance of this occurring can be greatly minimized by having your pickled fruit and vegetable products tested. 

Participation will validate your standardized, personal, or family recipe(s) and verify a finished equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below. A producer may submit up to five different products for free equilibrium pH testing. Results will be mailed directly to you and will confirm if your recipe is just right or prompt you to make adjustments to assure the safety of your product for your customers. Samples will be collected and processed on a first come first serve basis. Funding is limited so please take advantage of this free opportunity to show your customers how much you care.

Food products produced under the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations or the Colorado Wholesale Food Regulations are not eligible to be tested through this free service. Contact the Laboratory Services Division to obtain the proper forms and instructions for testing products produced by grocery stores, restaurants, and food manufacturers. 

This free pH testing service is for eligible cottage food products, as listed below, made by cottage food producers.  

Submit your product for pH testing
Find out how to submit your Cottage Food products to us for free pH testing. Refer to the table below to determine product eligibility.
Eligible for free testing Testing not necessary Not allowed to be
sold under the act
Chutney Compote Barbeque sauce
Kimchi Conserves Canned/stewed fruits
(packed in water)
Pickled fruits Marmalade
Pickled vegetables   Canned/stewed vegetables
(packed in water)
Relish   Hot sauce
Sauerkraut   Juice
Vinegar (fruit/vegetable)   Ketchup
    Salad dressing
    Sauce (i.e, pizza, pasta, chili)