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Maryland Can you legally sell food from home in Maryland?

Cottage Food Law

Maryland passed a very restrictive cottage food law (SB 550) in 2012, which limited sales to farmers markets and public events. Then from 2018 – 2020, three amendments significantly improved the law. In 2018, HB 1106 allowed other in-person, direct sales in the state, including mail order sales. In 2019, SB 290 allowed sales at retail stores and food co-ops. And in 2020, HB 1017 allowed producers to replace their home address with an ID number on their product labels.

Maryland’s cottage food law is still fairly restrictive, especially since it limits producers to $25,000 of sales per year, and only allows specific types of non-perishable foods. However, the health department does not require a permit, inspection, or training (unless selling at retail stores), so it is very easy to get started and use this law.

Farmers can also get an On-Farm Home Processing License to sell up to $40,000 of other types of food products, like pickles, dried fruit, and hot sauces.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

The law does not specifically state that online sales are allowed, but the allowance of mail delivery suggests that the intent of the law is to support online businesses.

See a directory of farmers markets on this interactive map.

If you are a farmer, you can get an On-Farm Home Processing License to sell certain food items to other venues, like restaurants and retail stores.

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Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Dry goods (spice blends, baking mixes, tea blends, etc) must use commercially-processed ingredients.

Chocolate-covered items (pretzels, graham crackers, etc) must use commercially-manufactured chocolate.

Only hard candies are allowed. Soft candy (e.g. chocolate, caramel, fudge, etc) is not allowed.

Honey must be unflavored.

If you are a farmer, you can get an On-Farm Home Processing License to sell up to $40,000 of other types of food products, like pickles, dried fruit, and hot sauces.

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 How will your home food business be restricted?

Sales are limited to $25,000 per year

If you are a farmer, you can get an On-Farm Home Processing License to sell up to $40,000 of certain types of food products.

Business What do you need to do to sell food from home?

Cottage Food Business Request

If you want to sell your products through retail stores, you must apply through this online form.

In addition to your food safety certificate and product labels (details below), you will need to submit all retail locations you plan to sell to. Optionally, you can request an ID number so that you don’t have to include your home address on your labels.

There is no cost to apply.

Food Safety Course

If you want to sell your products through retail stores, you must take an ANSI-accredited food safety course, such as Learn2Serve’s food handler training for $7. The 2-hour course can be completed online.

You can submit your completed course certificate through the Cottage Food Business Request form.

Product Labels

If you want to sell your products through retail stores, you must submit all of your labels to the health department.

You must submit your labels through the Cottage Food Business Request form.

Sales Tax

Here is some info about state sales tax in Maryland. You may also need to collect local sales taxes.

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Made by a cottage food business that is not subject to Maryland's food safety regulations." (10-point type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MD 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 don’t want to put your home address on your labels, you can request an ID number from the health department. You can then put your ID number and phone number on your labels, in place of your home address. There is no cost to get an ID number.

If you sell at retail stores, your labels for those products must also include:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • The date the product was made

For more information, you can read this cottage food labeling & packaging guidance.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Contacts
Department
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Email
dhmh.envhealth@maryland.gov
Telephone
(410) 767-8400
Fax
(410) 333-8931
Address
6 St. Paul Street, Suite 1301
Baltimore, MD 21202
Law Dates
October 2012
SB 550
October 2018
HB 1106
October 2019
SB 290
October 2020
HB 1017

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Comments

Hello there, I’m in the beginning stages of launching my business but I wanted to focus on cake pops as the main product, at least for now. Im a little confused if cake pops are allowed for sale in MD. On this site other states cottage food laws specifically say they are ok. Is there any reason as to why its not listed specifically or would it just fall under the category of regular cakes?

David – FYI: In your section on labeling for Maryland, the information box for ingredients states, “You may list subingredients (also ordered by weight) in parentheses after an ingredient.” When I spoke to my Health Department, they said that we MUST label subingredients!

My 11 year old son and I want to sell spice blends and possibly cookies to neighbors and at the local farmers market. Would this fall under the cottage law and do I need to obtain any permits?

My sister and I would like to sell brownies and pies. Would it be best to do an online business and some public events to see how the products sell.

Hi,
I’m from MD and thinking about selling fried snacks. The snacks would consist of potato chips, fried lentil/rice fritters and deep fried items and stored in air-tight packaging. I couldn’t find any regulations regarding them, the list mentioned non-hazardous baked goods, but not regarding fried goods. Please let me know if the items fall under Cottage Food Law to be sold without any license/commercial kitchen requirement.

    Those do not fall under the cottage food law, but I’d recommend that you call the health dept and ask about how to sell those. It may be simpler to get licensed for a mobile food cart, and to prepare your fried snacks in that.

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