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cottage food community

Mississippi

Mississippi’s new law (SB 2553) went into effect on July 1st, 2013. It is an improvement on Mississippi’s pre-existing home-based processor laws, which only allowed sales at farmers markets.

With the introduction of this law comes some limitations, such as an annual sales cap of $20,000. Fortunately, it’s very easy to get started, as no registration or permit is required. Also, the allowed food list is fairly comprehensive — that list and some other requirements were modeled after California’s laws.

Unfortunately, Mississippi is one of the only states that doesn’t allow cottage food operations to advertise online.

Selling

Allowed Foods

Certain items may require lab testing.

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

Limitations
Sales are limited to $20,000 per year

Business

Although no training is required, it is strongly recommended by the health department, especially for those making acidified or pickled products (canned goods).

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Mississippi's food safety regulations."


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MS 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)


Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Nutrition facts are required if a nutritional claim is made (like “low fat”).

Resources

Contacts

Mississippi State Department of Health

Department
Food Protection Division
Telephone
601-576-7689
Law Dates
February 2008
MCA 69-7-109
July 2013
SB 2553
This page was last updated on

Comments

I was wondering if I could sell duros. If you’re wondering…they are dried pasta wheels that you fry in oil. Bought at Mexican markets.

There was a bakery business that opened a store front. They closed their store in town and are now making bakery products from their home in their subdivision. They still use their store front sign as their facebook page but have changed their address to their home address. The sign even says …bakery & café. They display pictures all the time with their phone number and pricing. They even have a picture of their dog and said they were making special dog biscuits and their dog was waiting by the oven for them to come out. Is all of this legal under the MS Cottage Laws? Advertising everyday on facebook and really, you can have a dog in the same kitchen where you make peoples cakes and products for consumption? Where is the liability here? Where do you call to turn this in if it is illegal? I noticed there is a cap of $20,000 in sales. Do they turn in receipts? We’ve heard home bakers say they only take cash. How is this monitored? Where is there accountability on this?

    David, thank you for the reply to 1 of my questions – I had 7 questions. If you would please address all of my concerns or let me know who I can contact to get them addressed. I was also wondering about the labeling requirements that are clearly stated in the law. It is pretty clear and simple what the Cottage Law says about the labeling requirements of products sold from a home business, but those labels are also not on the products sold by any home baker that I have seen. Is this also my responsibility to go to the home baker’s and discuss this with them? I thought this was a law — thus, “Cottage Law” but how can words be a law with no enforcement?? Are the Cottage Law operations at least required to “Register” with anyone who is enforcing the laws? And many of them do advertise blatantly on Facebook to the extent of giving sizes and prices to customers, even though Mississippi doesn’t allow cottage food operations to advertise online. They also decorate and sell copyrighted characters that they make illegally. I’m very confused as to what is right and what is wrong. It seems pretty clear as to what are the right things to do as explained in the “LAW”, but it seems that the LAW doesn’t matter. Can I break the law like many others are? Who will come to me if I’m turned in and who will I be turned in to? Please help me to understand.

    Registration is not required and labeling is required on all sold products. The health or ag dept is supposed to be enforcing the laws, but they usually have a lot on their plates. That’s why you talking with the individual is usually the biggest help. I could drop you anywhere in the country and you’d find this kind of illegal activity going on… regulating it will keep you very busy if that’s your priority. Typically the concern for operating illegally is litigation from a health issue, since you have no legal ground to stand on if you get sued.

A 2- part question. I have been asked to sell a taco casserole. Would this be ok under this? #2- if a friend tags me in a FB post, that they bought a cake or casserole, would that be exempt from online advertising? I’m looking to make a few extra dollars and people have asked me to sell my cakes and casserole. I’m not food safe certified which has kept me from doing this.

    1. No, nothing with meat or cheese is allowed.
    2. I think the intention is that they don’t want you trying to promote yourself online. If a friend posts your item (a cake that doesn’t need refrigeration, for instance) without you encouraging them to do it, I don’t think that would be considered online advertising.

We are making a BBQ sause and canning it. We have already had all the lab testing done and I have completed the ServSafe certification. Would you know if this would fall under the cottage law.

    It’s quite possible that it would be allowed, but you need to contact the health dept, since they are the ones that would give approval.

I am about to start a cottage food operation from my home and am wondering about frosting that contains Cream Cheese like for a Red Velvet Cake or Cinnamon rolls. Is that allowed? I know I usually refrigerate any cake or bread just because they stay fresher longer but wouldn’t consider it hazardous to leave it out either. Just wondering.

I’m sure it’s probably a no-brainer, but would Facebook and any other social media fall into the online web presence categorie? Like posting a picture and stating I have this item available?

I plan to sell dog biscuits at the local farmers markets on the coast. Do the exact laws apply to dog biscuits as biscuits intended for human consumption? I plan to sell by quantity of biscuits, not by weight; is that allowed?

    It’s possible that some kinds of salsa would be allowed, but you probably need to get them lab tested. You should call your health dept and see if they require that.

We are planning on selling some baked products in Mississippi and we thought the cottage food operation is a great way to get started. Our main concern is the legal definition of “A cottage food operation may not sell or offer for sale cottage food products over the Internet”. We do consider that saying “we have cakes for sale at $X.XX” while operating as a Cottage Food Operation will be illegal under this law, since that will be advertising. But, can we display what we have done so far over the Internet kind of a portfolio showing what we have accomplished so far? To us the legal definition of “advertising” is not that clear, since we can just say what we have been up to and not really be telling anyone to buy anything. Any thoughts/advice will be well received.

    I am not the health dept, but I believe the intent is that these small businesses would not have any kind of web presence. Mississippi is one of the only states that disallows online advertising, and I don’t know why they do. However, I could see there being a gray area… for instance, if you write a personal blog and write about how you just made an awesome cake, I don’t see how they could say no to that. But if you have a website dedicated to listing all of the cakes that you’ve made, then they would probably see that as promoting your business. As I said, I don’t know what they were thinking and you really have to call them to find out… and if you do, please let us know.

CF operation in Mississippi and products produced are listed in new Mississippi CFO law, but all sales in Louisiana thru Goodeggs (distributor).
QUESTION: I assume both La and MS CFO laws must be followed-is that correct???

    There is no licensing process, but you should probably call your planning division to make sure there are no other requirements (like getting a business license).

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