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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 [email protected]

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

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Comments

I am not expecting any issues with this, but I was curious. If someone happens to get sick after eating some of my baked goods, prepared and labeled according to the Michigan Cottage Food Law, could they legally come back to me and blame me? Would a lawsuit hold up, if labeled correctly? Or would I be better off adding a disclaimer to the label?

    Adding a disclaimer to the label is already required (saying that it was made in a home kitchen). One of the nice things about cottage food is that the items are inherently safe. Go ahead and take a basic food handler course online, and as long as you keep your kitchen clean and sanitized and you follow best practices for food prep, it shouldn’t be a problem. I have NEVER heard of anyone have a health complaint against a CFO’s non-perishable food.

    But to answer your question, as long as you follow the law, you should technically be covered. But you can never be sure. Some people get insurance, to be safe. But from what I’ve seen, the fear of a lawsuit is a false one and is extremely unlikely.

Are we able to make a bread with cheese on the INSIDE not OUTSIDE? Not a Focaccia style bread either, just a white sandwich style bread

If a nut butter only contains the nut, raw honey & evoo then is it able to be sold? If it needs to be tested, where in Michigan can you get that done?

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