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Massachusetts Can you legally sell food from home in Massachusetts?

Cottage Food Law


Since this page was last updated, Boston created an ordinance to allow residential kitchens, so now Boston residents can use the cottage food law.

Massachusetts developed its law for “residential kitchens” in 2000, well before cottage food laws became common. Residential kitchens are considered “food establishments” (like their commercial counterparts), so it is harder to start a home food business in MA than it is in other states. However, there are fewer restrictions: there is no sales limit, and owners of residential kitchens can sell at any venue within the state.

Like most cottage food laws, the allowed foods are limited to non-perishable items, but most non-PHFs are allowed. Before getting started, a residential kitchen needs to get inspected and permitted by a local board of health, and some regions may require food safety training as well. Only members of the residential kitchen’s household can help with food preparation.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

Starting a cottage food business?


How To Start A Cottage Food Business

Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Prohibited Foods
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?

There is no sales limit

Only members of the household may help with preparation of the food.

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

Residential Kitchen Permit

You must apply for a permit from your local board of health. While the fees vary from one region to another, an annual permit is typically around $50 – $100.

Home Inspection

Before your permit application is approved, your kitchen must get inspected by a health official. The kitchen requirements are specified on page 3587 of the law.

Food Safety Course

Some regions require food safety training, such as the $125 ServSafe Manager Course or something equivalent.

Allergen Training Course

If you have to take a food safety course, you’ll also likely need to complete a $10 allergen training course.

Private Well Testing

If your water comes from a private source, it must get tested, which would incur extra fees.

Private Sewer Inspection

If you use a private sewage system, it must get inspected, which would incur extra fees.

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MA 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)

Workplace Are there any home kitchen requirements?

The kitchen must have a separate storage location for products related to the business.

There are actually a lot more rules pertaining to the kitchen environment, which are explained on page 3587 of the bill.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Public Health
Department of Public Health
305 South Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Law Dates
October 2000
105 CMR 590

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Starting a cottage food business?


How To Start A Cottage Food Business

Massachusetts Forum Got questions? Join the discussion

Home Forums Massachusetts

This forum contains 14 topics and 20 replies, and was last updated by  David Crabill 1 year, 3 months ago.

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Okay I have two questions… what if the food is trail mix and is made in an industrial community kitchen? Does it still fall under the Cottage Food Laws?

My product that I would like to sell and prepare in my home kitchen and sell at farmer’s markets is handmade pierogi (that contain dairy and would be sold frozen). Would this possible under the cottage food laws?

I’m interested in trying to sell my homemade Kale Soup. I’m in Acushnet, and for now, it’d be to potentially only local markets and stores. Where do I begin???

I have a permit from the health department from my Massachusetts town and am prepared to begin selling my product, made in the home, to local retail outlets for sale. Do I need to get a Food Processing and/or Distribution at Wholesale license from the state or am I set with the permit from the town? It’s a bit confusing.

If I am making my baked goods out of a commercial kitchen and have the permit, am I covered to sell at craft fairs and venues like that?

Are you certain that mail order is prohibited?

Under Chapter 9 “Distribution and Sales” it says, “Opportunities to sell direct to consumers include fairs, shows, outdoor markets, and mail order catalogs.” Furthermore, section 5 of that chapter is entirely devoted to the mail order topic. Therefore, it is legal to ship goods produced in a residential kitchen within the state of Mass, correct?

    Most of that guide is geared to regular food processors, not residential kitchens. If you look in Chapter 4, you’ll see the line about mail order: “Mail order sales from residential kitchens are also prohibited…” Thanks for asking though — the rules do change sometimes and it’s always good to double-check.

    I’m not sure because the law is not specific enough. Try calling your ag dept to see if this falls under the ruling. There may also be special alcohol licensing requirements.

our small church,22members, have been having church suppers with food made in members kitchens for 235 years and a lot of it sold to the public.In all this time NO ONE has ever gotten sick. Why are churches like ours be penalized ?

Does the cottage food laws only pertain to baked goods? I am interested in starting a business in selling herbal tinctures, herbal salves, and herbal teas in MA. I cannot find a reliable source on the internet which tells me any details about laws in MA which pertain to selling medicinal herbs processed in any way.

    It’s not limited to only baked goods, but those medicinal items would not be allowed anyway. You probably won’t find any info online and should call your health dept instead.

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