Skip to main content
cottage food community


Montana currently has a very simple exemption that allows for the sale of baked goods, preserves, and honey at farmers markets only.

A new cottage food bill (HB 478) will become law on October 1, 2015. This new law will be a major leap forward for Montana, allowing all forms of direct sales within the state and expanding the allowed foods list to include all non-potentially hazardous foods. Cottage food operators will be required to register with the health department for a fee (still undetermined), unless they only want to sell at farmers markets.

Montana’s path to a cottage food law was unlike any other state. In 2013, they passed a bill (HB 630) that required the relevant departments to study the current food situation in the state, compare it to common standards, and make recommendations for improvement. The study was published in May 2014 and heavily focused on the development of a cottage food law, with very specific recommendations about how that law would be implemented. In 2015, a new bill was drafted which followed those recommendations very closely, and the bill had no trouble passing through the legislature and being signed into law.

The result of this approach is that the new law is extremely well-thought out. With input from all sides, it addresses almost every point that a cottage food law should cover, and yet, it avoids being overly restrictive. Although it’s a big improvement over what they have, it’s still missing a lot of allowances found in many other cottage food laws, like indirect and/or online sales.


Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods

Home canned vegetables or pickled items are not allowed.

Operators can also sell hot coffee and hot tea (without fresh milk or cream) at a farmers market.

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


There is no sales limit


This page was last updated on


Thanks for the coverage of my bills in both 2013 and 2015. If any of your readers are interested in the implementation of the (expanded) Cottage Food law in Montana, the rules are being drafted and there will be a hearing on August 25th in Helena. Contact MT DPHHS for more info.

If you read the law, honey is now allowed. It was also allowed in a law passed earlier that went in to effect as soon as the governor signed the bill, something like SB37. Honey is allowed in both bills as of this year, but not last year.

    I know that it will be allowed in the new law that’s taking effect on October 1st, but I’m not familiar with another bill that’s already taken effect. SB 37 was about water rights… could you point me toward the bill you’re referring to?

You site is somwhat incorrect in that Montana has, by State Law, allowed the sale of home baked goods and jams and jellies at Farmers Markets for more than 35 years. MCA 50-50-202 (3) (b) “A license is not required of a person selling baked goods or preserves at a farmer’s market.” See the link for more information:

I am a Sanitarian for Missoula County in Montana and have been for 38 years. We have been allowing the sale of these “cottage foods’ at Farmers Markets for a very long time.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Jim. Sometimes it’s difficult to dig up this info online or find it in a law, so I’m really glad you directed me to it. I’m sure it will be helpful to many people.

or comment as a guest
* required (your email will not be displayed on the site)
Allowed tags