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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


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.

Could I sell goods I have baked from home, in a storefront I rent? Everything would be baked at home, but I would actually sell to customers in a rented storefront. The goods would be labeled and packaged appropriately of course.

    As long as the store is not a food establishment (like a restaurant or grocery store), and you are selling the items yourself, you should be able to sell from a storefront.

I make a jalapeño cheese bread. The cheese and jalapeño is mixed into the dough, then baked. Is that allowed?

    I’m not sure, but my guess is that those would not be allowed. You should call the ag dept at 800-292-3939 for the answer.

I am a hobby baker but was asked to do a wedding cake for a friend. It would be white cake with buttercream that can be on the counter 4 days or 2 weeks in the fridge. It will be chilled until its placed out the day of the wedding. I am assuming this is allowed and that I need to label it, correct? Do I need insurance for a one day sale and do insurance companies do a one day coverage? Thanks!

    I assume that your buttercream frosting would be allowed, but you will still need to go through the steps to setup a business, even for one sale. This could include getting a business license, zoning approval, etc. You also should check with the wedding venue to see what they require — they may not be able to allow a homemade cake to be served at their location. If they don’t require insurance, I wouldn’t bother.

I’m interested in selling fondant cake/cupcake decorations on Etsy. Is this allowed in Michigan, and what steps should be taken?

Who do I contact if i know someone is violating many of the above rules (smoking in the cake decorating area, dog and kids in kitchen/prep area during baking, etc). Please advise. Thank you.

A license isn’t required to sell from home, but suppose if I were to set up a space in my local farmer’s market and sell face-to-face from there-is a license required then? Also, before I set up there, will I need a registered business name for my product for that booth space? Will I need a tax ID as well?

    A license from the health dept isn’t required to use this law, and this law includes sales at a farmers market, so you don’t need a license from the health dept to sell there. However, other licenses may be required by your county or the farmers market, though I don’t know what they are… this should help:

I was interested in selling my popular Stromboli. I saw that you can’t sell anything with meat but what if it’s frozen when sold? I have bought pasties that were frozen and contain meat at a local farmers market

    It can’t have meat in it, regardless of how it’s prepared. Anything containing meat should be prepared in a commercial kitchen with proper licensing.

I make different types of chocolate cookies & candies, for the holiday’s everyone say’s I should make them and sell at craft sales. one is make with peanut butter, now on a label can I just put peanut butter? or do I have to write all the stuff that is in the peanut butter?

    Yes, you must list all sub-ingredients. However, you can also incorporate the sub-ingredients into the top-level ingredients instead. For example, you could list a) “peanut butter (peanuts, sugar)” or b) “peanuts, sugar”. With option b, if sugar is already listed as an ingredient, you don’t need to list it again, but remember that your ingredients should be ordered by weight.

    Also, Michigan allows nut butters as a cottage food, so you could potentially buy unsalted peanuts and process them into peanut butter yourself, and then you’d only have to list “peanuts” as an ingredient.

Can I make and sell baked goods that uses milk or sour cream as one of the ingredients? Say I’m making cookies or cupcakes and one of the ingredients is either milk or sour cream, is that allowed?

    As long as your product is thoroughly-baked, you can use milk. You probably can’t use sour cream, but call the dept at 800-292-3939 to check.

Direst sales only means no selling online. BOO! This requirement impedes my ability to sell specialty baked goods to clients with similarly restricted diets located outside my geographical area. Not only does this keep me from income, but potential clients are either stuck doing without OR purchasing from other suppliers whose states are not restricted to direct sales.

Can you use applesauce when baking(not home canned of course), but store bought. My granola recipes that I like to use have applesauce in them.For my self I use homemade, but if it is allowed, I have no problem buying it for the purpose of selling the granola

    I’m not sure… you need to call the dept about that one: 800-292-3939
    I know you wouldn’t be able to use homemade applesauce.


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, 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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