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Maine

Maine has had their “home food manufacturing” law in place since 1980, and it is still being used today. Although this law was created long before modern cottage food laws became popular, it is quite flexible and allows producers to sell many types of homemade food.

To sell homemade food, producers need to get a license and get their home kitchen inspected. Most types of shelf-stable products are allowed, but some items (like pickles and chocolate sauces) need to be tested and approved before they can be sold. Once a producer has their license, they have a lot of flexibility: they can sell at any venue and there is no sales limit.

Maine’s state law is one of the better cottage food laws in the country, but at least sixteen towns in in the state (the first being Sedgwick) have taken it a step farther — they have removed regulations from all local foods that are directly sold. Read more about it here and here.

In 2015, a couple “food freedom” bills were considered, but they did not pass. One of them (LD 925) was a more typical food freedom bill, in that it would have allowed the sale of any type of food, as long as it was sold directly at the producer’s home or at a social event. The other (LD 783) proposed to add the “Right To Food” as a constitutional amendment, which would have laid the groundwork for preventing regulation of homemade food. LD 783 was also considered in 2016, and it once again did not pass.

Selling

Starting a cottage food business?

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Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

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Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods

Some types of products, like acidified foods (salsas, pickles, etc.), need to be approved before they can be sold.

You cannot sell low-acid canned goods that are pressure canned at home.

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
There is no sales limit

The law specifies that “uncontrolled children” cannot be in your kitchen while you are making products.

Business

Home Food Processor License

Contact the Division of Quality Assurance & Regulations to get an application for a Home Food Processor License.

Home Inspection

Before you can get your license, you need to get your home kitchen inspected by the Division of Quality Assurance & Regulations.

Process and Product Review Testing

Most types of non-PHF products do not require testing, but some types of shelf stable products, like low-sugar jams, acidified foods (salsas, pickles, dressings, etc.) and chocolate sauces, need approval from the University of Maine’s School of Food and Agriculture. Product testing usually costs $26 or $39 per product, depending on the type of product. Learn more and find contact info here.

Water Testing

If you get your water from a private water source (like a private well), your water must be tested by a certified laboratory each year. To learn more about testing your well water, watch this video.

Sewer Testing

If you are not using a public sewer system, you need to get your septic tank tested before you can get a license.

Mobile Food Vendor License

If you want to sell at a farmers market, you need to get a Mobile Food Vendor license from the Division of Quality Assurance & Regulations.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, ME 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)


If you sell directly to a consumer from your home, you do not need to put a label on those products.

Workplace

There are a number of workplace requirements listed in the law.

Resources

Contacts
Department
Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
About
Contact this division to ask general questions and to get a license or home inspection
Job Title
Extension Food Science Specialist
Organization
University of Maine - School of Food and Agriculture
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
207-581-2791
Fax
207-581-1636
Address
5735 Hitchner Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5735
About
Contact Beth about product testing or general questions
Job Title
Extension Food Safety Specialist
Organization
University of Maine - Cooperative Extension
Email
[email protected]
Telephone
207-581-1366
Address
5735 Hitchner Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5735
About
Contact Jason about product testing
Law Dates
December 1980
Home Food Manufacturing

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Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Comments

I would like to sell my homemade baked beans that are meat and dairy free. Ketchup is the only item that I am thinking about as a hazard. I am going to can them in a glass jar with a solid lid.

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