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A new law (SB 525) went into effect on August 28th, 2014 that allows cottage food operations across the state. Previously, a few counties in Missouri allowed cottage food operations, even though there was no statewide law.

Under this law, individuals can only sell their products directly to consumers, which includes sales from home and at events. They can only sell baked goods, jams, jellies, and dry herbs, which is relatively limited compared to other states. Cottage food operations can sell up to $50,000 of products per year.

Although the law is somewhat limited, it’s a big improvement over the sporadic county ordinances that Missouri’s had in the past.


All sales must be direct (in-person) transactions to the final consumer. Internet sales are specifically prohibited.

Allowed Foods

Most baked goods that do not require refrigeration are allowed.

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 $50,000 per year


No permit, inspection, or training from the health department is needed, but there may be other local requirements, such as a business license.

A local health department is not allowed to regulate a cottage food operation, but they can investigate a potential foodborne disease or outbreak.


Sample Label

The label must state that the food was not inspected by the state or local health department.

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MO 73531


Law Dates
August 2014
SB 525
This page was last updated on


I have talked to you before. I am in St. Joseph, MO. I went down to see what I had to do to get my license and to start baking from home and they told me I can not bake anything or sell from my home. I had to have a separate kitchen to do that, I asked about the cottage law and she said they don’t do that here. I have to find out who to talk to yet but That’s what city hall told me just this last week.

    This is what the bill says: “A cottage food production operation is not a food service establishment and shall not be subject to any health or food code laws or regulations of the state or department other than this section and rules promulgated thereunder for a cottage food production operation.”

    The way I read that, I take it to mean that their rules do not apply to you. It basically discounts all regulations outside of that section about cottage food operations, but I suppose it may only be discounting the other health dept regulations.

    I suggest that you talk to the health dept and work your way up to the state level to determine if they can prevent your business. And if they can, talk to someone who knows why they intentionally decided to disallow CFOs.

Thanks for posting this! I had some questions that popped into my head:

1. Is cottage food allowed in St Louis city limits?

2. If I have pets at home, can I use someone else’s kitchen to do the making?

3. What would herb or flower infused salts or sugars be listed under? Or rather, would they be allowed?


    1. Someone mentioned that St. Louis doesn’t allow cottage food, but I haven’t confirmed that.
    2. I don’t think you can use someone else’s kitchen, but you can use your own. I haven’t heard of any pet restrictions.
    3. Salts wouldn’t fall under this law, so I assume they need to be produced in a commercial kitchen, but you should confirm that with the health dept.

I live in St. Louis County of Missouri and I understand that while the state has the Cottage Food law, however the counties have different regulations regarding where a person can sell their goods. St. Louis County does not allow a Cottage Food Operator to sell their baked goods at Farmers Markets or other events. Are their any counties in Missouri that does allow us to sell our baked goods?

    I haven’t heard much info about Missouri overall, but from what I’ve gathered, it seems like St. Louis County is stricter than most. I wouldn’t be surprised if most counties allow cottage food sales at events, but I’m not sure.

I already have a licensed business and sell tea at local farmer’s market in Missouri. I get a local health department permit to sell drinks there. However, in the past I couldn’t sell baked goods because all ready to eat foods have to be made in a commercially licensed kitchen or on premises at the market. It looks like with this new section 196.0298 I can make baked goods in the home. However, at the beginning it states “Definitions–operation not deemed food service establishment, when–no state or local regulation.” So since I live in St. Louis County, can I do so?
Also, for information for other people – You do have to charge sales tax. Baked goods would fall under prepared food and you do have to charge the full sales tax. There is a food tax for food that is considered groceries. You can get your local tax card and print it at this website: . Also, I saw few people asking about licenses. You do need a business license to operate in St. Louis County and if you live in a city in St. Louis County you may need one from that also. For example, I live in Crestwood, MO, so I need a license for St. Louis County and Crestwood. Also, Crestwood also requires a home occupancy permit (only need to apply once, but the business have to be paid yearly.) The home occupancy permit does not allow customers to come to the home (I don’t think this would apply to friends picking it up.)

    Thanks for the info. From my interpretation of the law, the county can’t prevent you from selling homemade food, though they may be able to restrict where you can sell it. There isn’t much info available online so it’s best to contact your health dept directly.

I live in St. Charles County, MO. Under Senate Bill 525 am I allowed to bake and decorate cookies from my home to be sold to friends who are asking for the cookies to be made for them?
Am I correct in understanding the law to state that as long as all sales are made in person, my friends know that I am baking the cookies out of my own personal kitchen, and that my kitchen is not inspected by any department of Health that I am within the law to do so?
“Nicole” has me confused!
Thanks a lot for your help.

I was wondering if you could tell me if I can sell my cakes and things from home in St. Joseph MO.
Some of my cakes I make with sour cream and frosting with milk in it. I make sure to tell people that it must be kept cold. I also do chocolate covered strawberries. I was wondering if this was allowed here. I was turned into the city by someone after advertising on craigslist and when I talked to the woman from the city asking about the cottage law she laughed at me and said we don’t have that here and to not be selling anything else or I would be fined. I was also ordered to take down my face book page that had pictures of my work and prices and flavors. What if anything can I do. Thank you very much for your time.

    Nicole, call me crazy, but the last I looked, St Jo was still part of the State of Missouri…hmm, unless they seceded. As explained, this law was established to extend to the whole State, to get rid of the piecemeal county-by-county approach, as was done previously.

    Nicole, forgot…Maybe you could review the Law, just to make sure you don’t violate any part of it (i.e., craigslist is internet sale, which is a no-no). As stated, you can sell from your home, roadside stand, or special event, but not in a store, via internet, or in restaurant. As another person noted, maybe you could take preorders via craigslist, but make your actual sale in person, whether delivery or pick up. If you have specific questions, I would suggest you call Jefferson City, or do a more thorough online search to get a copy of the actual Law that was passed. The info above is pretty good though. Good luck, and happy baking!!

    I agree that St. Joseph should be allowing CFOs, and it also appears that you were breaking the law in a number of ways. First of all, anything requiring refrigeration is not allowed under the cottage food law, and chocolate covered strawberries are also not allowed. For the things that are allowed, you can advertise in any way, including Facebook or Craigslist, but you have to sell in-person.

    To run the same business you were running, you need to use a commercial kitchen, and you need to talk to the health dept to get the appropriate licenses.

    The cakes themselves don’t have to be refrigerated but the frosting that I use alot does, so I’ll have to modify that. I have not seen a copy of the cottage law yet so wasn’t sure what was ok to sell or not. As for sales over the internet, I posted to craigslist what I could do then meet people in person to take a full order and discuss exactly what they were wanting, was this wrong? I also collect the deposit then which is what all ingredients cost. I don’t sell cakes or anything on craigslist that are already made I only showed things I had done before so people got an idea of what I could do and then they could order what the wanted. nothing was ever made ahead of time if that makes any difference. I will have to call again and see if I can talk to someone else and hopefully get a copy of the law so I don’t make any more mistakes. I mostly advertise online and through word of mouth I just don’t understand that part of it.

    As long as you’re collecting money in-person, you’re fine… you can advertise on Craigslist, Facebook, etc. You do need to make sure that you’re properly registered in your county to operate a business from home, but you don’t need registration or inspection from the health dept. This law was passed under Senate Bill 525 — there is a link to that in the resources section of this page.

I’m confused…. You can bake and sell brownies but not chocolate? I understand there are different kinds of brownies but a lot of people like the classic chocolate or chocolate fudge brownie…

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