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cottage food community

Michigan

Michigan’s cottage food laws are somewhat limited, but many people use them and they are still one of the most active cottage food states.

The number of allowed foods in Michigan are above average, in comparison with other states, but they are very specific about what is allowed.  Fortunately, there is no need to obtain a license, which makes it very easy to start a cottage food business.  However, the laws are still restricted in that sales are limited to $20,000 per year, and products may only be sold directly to the consumer.

Selling

Although online sales are not allowed, advertising products over the internet is fine.

Allowed Foods

Although vanilla extract and baked goods with alcohol are allowed, they have special licensing requirements.

Nut butters must be tested in a lab before being sold.

To check if a specific kind of product is allowed, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development at 800-292-3939 or MDA-Info@michigan.gov

Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more

Limitations

Sales are limited to $20,000 per year
Will increase to $25,000 in 2018

Business

Although there is no required application or procedures required to start a cottage food business, it is recommended that producers watch a Cottage Food Training Video (a certificate to display at a food stand is available for $10).  They also recommend that an on-site water well is checked annually for safety, and on-site septic systems should also be evaluated regularly.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development" (11-point type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MI 73531


Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


If any nutritional claim is made, it must adhere to the federal labeling requirements.

A PO box is not acceptable as a cottage food business address.

Resources

Contacts

Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Email
MDA-Info@michigan.gov
Law Dates
July 2010
HB 5280
October 2012
HB 5130
This page was last updated on

Comments

CAN I SELL CANNED PICKLES? I BUY LARGE JARS OF DILL PICKLES AND ADD GARLIC, SUGAR ETC TO TURN THEM INTO PICKLES WITH A KICK. MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE TASTED THEM WANT ME TO SELL THEM.

If the food product is the result of the efforts of more than one person could either one be the one selling the product face to face? And I read in a previous post that fudge is on the acceptable foods list?

    Yes, either can sell, assuming both are knowledgeable about the product.

    Yes, fudge is allowed, and I didn’t realize it wasn’t on the list! You’d think I’d have already gotten the hint.

So I sell can sell baked goods from home as long as I have them properly labeled and ingredients show. With net weight?

I know that I dont need a food license under the cottage food law to sell homemade food from directly from home to the customers, but do I need to get a business license to sell food in a residential area? I know I dont need a food establishment license because Id have to be in a commercial kitchen to do so, but I’m just running it from home.

I operate a fco I am growing and expanding and had to get more space because of all the decorating supplies I’ve accumulated can I bake & prepare my cakes at home but have customers pick them up at my off site decorating & and consultation room / office . Or can I bake at home and decorate and sell at my office/decorating room . last I know we can’t sell on the internet but is send a invoice through PayPal acceptable or should it be cash in hand for every order ? Really really would like to know

    You should be able to have customers pick up at a different location, as long as it’s not a retail store. You need to be doing all sales in-person, and if you use something like PayPal Here, that’s fine.

I have a questions about infused honey. I do not have my own hives nor would I be producing the honey, but rather purchasing the honey wholesale through a local honey provider and then I am infusing it with herbs and repackaging the honey. Does this fall under the cottage food law.

What about honey? I know the rules are slightly different for selling and labeling but I need to know if it has to be extracted from the comb in any special way or can I do this in my kitchen?

Hi again. I know that the farmers’ markets required vendors to bring their own tents and tables to display their products, but I am wondering if that applies to cottage food vendors. I have a table long enough to display three dozens of baked donuts and I have no tent.

    There are no rules for this and it’s whatever the farmers market requires. If they’re fine with you not having a tent, then you don’t need one.

Hi, I’m a cottage food entrepreneur who bakes refined sugar free doughnuts and wants to sell them. I’m still working on the business plan and name for my business, but I’m looking for a place where I can sell them. The farmer’s market in Flint has a donut vendor, so they can’t have another one. The Grand Blanc Farmer’s market doesn’t open until May, so Im getting prepared to sell them there since they don’t have a donut vendor. But I want to sell them as soon as possible. There are few places where I can direct market my products. I live close to a bus station that has people walking to get on the local bus. Im wondering if I can sell them there with a booth they may provide to me.

Are you able to sell apple butter under the cottage food law? Also with jams can they be sold if they are sealed using water bath canning method? I seen a previous comment about applesauce not being able to be sold using water bath canning method. So I was curious because I usually use that method with my jams.

    The canning method doesn’t matter… applesauce and apple butter are simply not allowed. You may seal your jams using a hot water bath.

Hi. Was wondering if a “Mobile” food cart is allowed? Such as selling out of a vehicle to local businesses like the catering food lunch wagons that are around. Thanks for your help!

I know milk products are not allowed, but what about “dolche de leche”. It is a caramelized sweetened condensed milk used in some of my recipies as a filling and doesn’t need refrigeration after being baked (into) something like brownies as far as I know.

    Yes, as long as your samples are prepacked in closed containers in your home and there is a label available next to the samples for people to look at. Also, your husband should be present when people are sampling the products and he should be knowledgeable enough to answer questions about your products.

I would like to sell Indigenous spices like sweet fern, sunchoke powder, leek salt, and spice blends like the 3 mentioned mixed with sea salt. Is this allowable under the MI Cottage Food Law?

Would chocolate confections that do not contain alcohol and do not need to be refrigerated fall under the cottage law?

    It is very unlikely that it’s allowed, but depending on your recipe, the dept may allow it. If your product is very moist, then it will almost certainly not be allowed. If it’s more like a cake, then it’s a possibility. You can use the phone number in the allowed foods section above to find out for sure.

Do you need a business permit to sell cakes from your home? (Michigan)
Am I protected from potential law suits under Cottage Law?
Is a DBA or LLC recommended?

    You don’t need a permit from the health dept, but call your local planning division to determine if you need anything like a business license. You are not protected from lawsuits, which is why some CFOs opt for insurance. I’d recommend a DBA if you’re not sure about it… the benefits of an LLC would be more tangible if your business was large.

Is canned homemade applesauce (using the hot water bath method) allowed under Michigan’s Cottage Food Law? Canned applesauce does not need to be refrigerated (prior to opening), and a properly sealed jar can last on the shelf for more than a year. After opening, it must be refrigerated however. I am unclear of the difference between apple jam (which seems to be allowed) and applesauce, which is not listed as an eligible food. I would appreciate your assistance and clarity on this matter. Thank you for your help!

    Applesauce is not allowed in Michigan (only Wisconsin, actually). You’re right that applesauce can be made in a safe manner, but it is easier to mess up if someone isn’t properly trained, which is why it’s not allowed. If you were to produce this through a regular food business, I’d imagine you would have to go through a special canning class. It is the sugar and/or acid in jams that make them safer to produce from home, and therefore, allowed. However, because apples are neither very acidic nor need much sugar, it’s quite possible that apple jam would not be allowed in Michigan either. If you’re not adding much sugar to it then this would be similar to simply canning fruit, which is not allowed. The department can give you the final word about apple jam, if that is something you are hoping to make and sell from home.

I make assorted chocolate candies and I am considering selling under the cottage food law. Looking through the guidelines ; when it comes to listing the ingredients, can I list all the common ingredients together ? Example being: If salt was being used in 3 of the 5 assorted candies, do I need individual labels for each kind of candy or can one label be sufficient for all?
My concern is having an assortment of candy and not enough room for labeling.

    This is a really good question that I simply do not know the answer to. My guess is that one label would suffice, but you should call the health dept on this one. Please let us know what the answer is when you find out.

Hi,I’m concerned about the online training,I contacted the msu extention book store I bought the video and I sent the surveymonkey is any way to know who is the department in charge of the food training certificate ,how can I know ir the got the survey,or maybe I have to print the survey and to resend it againg by regular mail,I need help with this I called to msu book store and they dont know.So any information or where to go or call would be very helpful..thanks

    Well I really don’t know. “Milk products” are not allowed, but if your product is totally dry and non-dairy, it may be okay. I’d recommend contacting someone at the department — use the contact info at the bottom of the allowed foods section.

Hi, I have a herd of dairy goats. I was wondering about goat cheese or goat milk fudge under soft candy? My zip code is 49799

    The cheese would not be allowed, and the fudge may be allowed. Does your fudge need refrigeration? If it does, then it would not be allowed. If it doesn’t need refrigeration, then I’d recommend you contact the department about this one (contact info at bottom of Allowed Foods section above).

    It’s quite possible, but I’m not sure. In some states, there is an issue with selling near a venue that is an established food business. Then again, it is face-to-face, which is the most important aspect of selling. I’d recommend emailing your question to the department at MDA-Info@michigan.gov, and make sure to give them your zip code in the email.

    Baby food purees might be allowed if they don’t need to be refrigerated. You need to check with the agriculture department by calling 800-292-3939.

    Donuts probably wouldn’t be allowed unless they’re baked, which most donuts aren’t. Likewise with waffles. Thanks for catching that… I’m removing donuts from the list because it’s confusing.

    I’m really not sure. You’d have to go to the Ag Dept on this one, but my guess is that they’d say no because the eggs are not baked.

    Yes, that’s fine. Usually you need to pre-package the samples in your home before bringing them to a farmers market.

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