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cottage food community


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.


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

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


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


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.


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.



Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Law Dates
July 2010
HB 5280
October 2012
HB 5130
This page was last updated on


If I advertise online, do I need to add a disclaimer of some sort about using a home kitchen that has not been inspected? Thank you.

    That is not required since all of your sales need to happen in-person anyway. People can read the disclaimer on your label before buying. However, you might want to be transparent about the fact that you are a home business.

I understand that shipping and internet selling is not allowed under the Cottage Food Law. Do you have any information on the type of license or permit I would need to be able to ship and sell over the internet? I can’t seem to find any actual information on internet selling in any of the Michigan websites. Thanks in advance!

Why can’t a commercial kitchen be used for products sold under the cottage food law? For example, if I need to make a cake for a neighbor, why can’t I make the buttercream or cake layers in a licensed kitchen where I can make a larger volume……and finish the cake at home? I’m not claiming that the cake was made in a licensed kitchen.

    I’m not sure about Michigan’s reasoning specifically, but one common reason is because a home kitchen is one of the limitations for a cottage food operation. Once you need to start making larger volumes, it’s time for you to get a commercial license.

    It’s possible, but the other state needs to allow it. For instance, Illinois wouldn’t allow interstate sales. I’m not sure about Indiana and Ohio — you will need to check with their ag depts.

About samples – We want to start selling dry dip mixes that would have to be mixed with mayo or sour cream by the customer at home, if we wanted to give out samples for tasting the different varieties in person, could we pre-make the dips (with sour cream and mayo) and portion them out in small plastic containers with lids (similar to the ones used when people make jello shots) and keep them in an iced cooler at all times until a sample is requested?

    You can only sample what you sell, so you can’t sample the dips, unfortunately. You could talk to the health dept about what you’d need to do to be approved for potentially hazardous food samples… it may not be possible for a CFO.

Regarding the packaging required for cupcakes – can I put cupcakes in a glass cake stand or bakery case, and then put them in a box for the customer at the farmers market, or do they have to be in the box ready for sale before the sale? The cupcakes will be in individual cupcake wrappers and will not be cut, like slices of cake…

    Although I don’t think that’s technically allowed, it’s probably very common. I’d suggest you call the ag dept to see if they’re opposed to you doing this — it’s quite possible that they will allow it.

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