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Michigan

Cottage Food Law

Michigan’s cottage food laws are somewhat limited, but many people use them and they are still one of the most active cottage food states.

Many types of foods are allowed.  Fortunately, there is no need to obtain a license, which makes it very easy to start a cottage food business.  However, the laws are still restricted in that sales are limited to $25,000 per year, and products may only be sold directly to the consumer.

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

Although vanilla extract and baked goods with alcohol are allowed, they have special licensing requirements. Nut butters must be tested in a lab before being sold. To check if a specific kind of product is allowed, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development at 800-292-3939 or MDA-Info@michigan.gov

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

Sales are limited to $25,000 per year

Business

Although there is no required application or procedures required to start a cottage food business, it is recommended that on-site water wells are checked annually for safety, and on-site septic systems should also be evaluated regularly.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development" (11-point type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MI 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)


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Resources

Contacts

Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Email
MDA-Info@michigan.gov
Telephone
800-292-3939
Law Dates
July 2010
HB 5280
October 2012
HB 5130

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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 have a question involving labeling. I live in Michigan and I was wondering instead of labeling the ingredients on every single item if I can make a bigger page on the product showing what is in it and make a book of the Ingredients in the Products. Then on individual packages still put the “MADE IN A HOME KITCHEN NOT INSPECTED BY THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & RURAL DEVELOPMENT” and the net weight and my address. I will be present for all sales so I will be able to answer any questions they may have and like I said have a book available of what ingredients are in which products in the right order.
Thank you for your time.

Hi, I’m a new cake artist and I wanna start selling but I want to do everything by the book. I was wondering about the weight aspect of the labels. Decorated cakes can get very heavy, Do I need to weigh each cake every time before I sell??

    Try contacting the health dept to see if the weight is absolutely required on very large cakes, like wedding cakes. Most kitchen scales weigh at least 11 pounds, which should handle most normal-sized cakes. For heavier ones, I know some people weigh their cake in parts (each layer and frosting) and then add those together.

If I advertise online, do I need to add a disclaimer of some sort about using a home kitchen that has not been inspected? Thank you.

    That is not required since all of your sales need to happen in-person anyway. People can read the disclaimer on your label before buying. However, you might want to be transparent about the fact that you are a home business.

I understand that shipping and internet selling is not allowed under the Cottage Food Law. Do you have any information on the type of license or permit I would need to be able to ship and sell over the internet? I can’t seem to find any actual information on internet selling in any of the Michigan websites. Thanks in advance!

Why can’t a commercial kitchen be used for products sold under the cottage food law? For example, if I need to make a cake for a neighbor, why can’t I make the buttercream or cake layers in a licensed kitchen where I can make a larger volume……and finish the cake at home? I’m not claiming that the cake was made in a licensed kitchen.

    I’m not sure about Michigan’s reasoning specifically, but one common reason is because a home kitchen is one of the limitations for a cottage food operation. Once you need to start making larger volumes, it’s time for you to get a commercial license.

    It’s possible, but the other state needs to allow it. For instance, Illinois wouldn’t allow interstate sales. I’m not sure about Indiana and Ohio — you will need to check with their ag depts.

About samples – We want to start selling dry dip mixes that would have to be mixed with mayo or sour cream by the customer at home, if we wanted to give out samples for tasting the different varieties in person, could we pre-make the dips (with sour cream and mayo) and portion them out in small plastic containers with lids (similar to the ones used when people make jello shots) and keep them in an iced cooler at all times until a sample is requested?

    You can only sample what you sell, so you can’t sample the dips, unfortunately. You could talk to the health dept about what you’d need to do to be approved for potentially hazardous food samples… it may not be possible for a CFO.

Regarding the packaging required for cupcakes – can I put cupcakes in a glass cake stand or bakery case, and then put them in a box for the customer at the farmers market, or do they have to be in the box ready for sale before the sale? The cupcakes will be in individual cupcake wrappers and will not be cut, like slices of cake…

    Although I don’t think that’s technically allowed, it’s probably very common. I’d suggest you call the ag dept to see if they’re opposed to you doing this — it’s quite possible that they will allow it.