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Cottage Food Law - It is legal to sell food you make at home


Posted this in another forum, but maybe this one is more appropriate.
Has anyone heard of this new law, the Cottage Food Law? It makes it legal for you to sell certain food products from your home to buyers.

Sounds interesting! What do you guys think?

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  1. That's going to be subject to different rules in each (US) state, I think.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      and then further specialized by county and municipality.

      Depends on what you're selling and where you're selling it.

    2. Yea you're probably right. Would you buy or sell homemade food?

      1 Reply
      1. Here's a link to a summary of the cottage food laws across the country. It has not been updated yet to include California, new as of this year.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I was going to say not in Florida, but I read your attachment first.

          This explains the sudden appearence of the blah cookie, muffin, and marmalade tents at the local non-farmers farmer's market.

          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            you've zeroed in on my biggest gripe with Florida and produce.

            "Farm stands" sell whatever they bought at the wholesale produce market some time earlier this week.

            "Farm markets" have wooden chickens and ducks, and door wreaths.

            Fresh, farm-grown produce is a challenge on a good day.

            1. re: sunshine842

              In the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Farmers Market allows vendors to sell anything so there are vendors selling citrus, bananas, mushrooms, and even vegetables that are regularly grown in Minnesota. The St. Paul Farmers Market only allows vendors to sell what they produce. They will not allow vendors to sell products that are locally grown by someone else either.

              1. re: John E.

                It's some sort of state law designed to protect produce wholesalers in Florida -- and it's stupid, and I hope some state legislator with visions of glory in his/her eyes decides to take up this cause.

                It's pathetic that a state that produces such an enormous percentage of the country's tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes, corn, citrus, and beef isn't allowed to sell any of it directly to the people who live here and fund the agricultural subsidies.

                I haven't been to Mpls -- but the producers' market around the Capitol in Madison, WI is a thing of beauty and definitely something for other states to aspire to.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  "It's pathetic that a state that produces such an enormous percentage of the country's tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes, corn, citrus, and beef isn't allowed to sell any of it directly to the people who live here and fund the agricultural subsidies."

                  Wow, there is actually a Florida law saying that the people that grow the food cannot sell it directly to the public? In Minnesota, we have a lot of families where their main source of income is selling vegetables at the Farmers' Markets around the Twin Cities. A majority of them are Hmongs who came to Minnesota from SE Asia in the years following the Vietnam War.

                  The St. Paul Farmers' Market began in 1853, 5 years before Minnesota became a state.


                  The Minneapolis Farmers' Market is located under a freeway overpass and just is not as authentic as the St. Paul version, in my opinion.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Yes, it's a Florida law.

                    I have a good imagination, but even I couldn't make up that kind of crap.

          2. It varies greatly from one municipality to the next. I investigated this for my area. I have indoor pets so that ruled me out!

            1. These rules vary by state and municipality.

              If you do sell food prepared in your home you should have plenty of liability insurance and you should homestead your house.

              1 Reply
              1. re: C. Hamster

                Yes about the insurance. At least $2,000,000 minimum is what I recommend.

              2. This has always been legal in Denmark.

                One of my favourite things about summer is driving around, always having cash ready, stopping at people's tiny stalls and buying produce fresh from their gardens, beehives, chicken coops etc.

                Animal produce generally has to be registered, but everyone is free to sell vegetables and fruit. They call it "Stalddørssalg" which roughly translated means "barn door sale"

                It looks like this:



                There is also a possibility to expand the sale and make a kind of cottage-shop. This is a bit more demanding though.

                1. http://homebasedbaking.com/wp-content...

                  Closest thing to a cottage food law in NJ (so far). Cape May county, District 16 in 2011 tried to get some traction on a Cottage Food Law but so far...we NJ folks wait..


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ

                    Do you think this applies to dried herb mixes?

                  2. http://www.bringinghomethebaking.com/...

                    amina1, if you are interested in researching very specific details about home based food business, this link provides some details to answers your questions by state, including each state's status.

                      1. re: jbsiegel

                        Me too! Sign the petition I linked! In the meantime food swaps, fairs and contests are the only way to go...unless you invest in a working NJ farm.

                        1. re: jbsiegel

                          I do to! It's ridiculous that in NJ you cannot even make party favors using pre-packaged candies and sell them from your home! My local health department said it's a "storage safety issue". I would bet anything that it is safer to store candy in my home than in the roach infested bodega down the street.

                          1. re: jbsiegel

                            I signed the petition but do think it would get more attention of a bigger petition site, like change.org.

                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                              Cape May county is by far the strongest voice for change. CMC needs more state wide support.

                          2. Here's an article on how it's working out in LA:

                            1. If it was humanely cooked, why not?

                              1. Of course these kinds of laws vary from state to state. A few years ago the Minnesota legislature was considering passing a law that would require all kitchens that made and sold food need to be inspected by the health department and get certified and follow all of the same rules and regs that restaurants must comply with. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, they did not take into account all of the kitchens in churches, synagogues, halls, temples, etc. It would be an undue burden for some of them, and besides that, there was not a proven need to go to such measures (no outbreak of foodborne illness to point to.

                                When I was a kid the neighbor lady had a cake baking operation in her home. She mostly made wedding cakes. (Not much profit for the effort for a sheet cake.) She had a small, commercial kitchen on the side of the house.

                                1. I am waiting for my permit to be approved. This bill was passed in California and went into effect Jan 1 2013. Unfortunately, the cities and counties and health depts were not prepared, and they are slowly getting organized.

                                  Every county and city has their own guidelines around this new law, and there is a little of inconsistency in what ingredients are being approved (you have to submit an ingredients label for every product you might sell) and also in fees.

                                  There are two types of permits: Class A which enables you to sell to directly to consumers (farmer's markets, etc), and Class B which enables you to sell to retail establishment for resale. Class B requires a kitchen inspection (different guidelines than a commercial kitchen).

                                  There is also a cap on how much you can earn, which increases over three years.

                                  There is a new bill being introduced to refine this new law, and hopefully bring some consistency across the state.

                                  Looking forward to my permit (hopefully in the next few days!)