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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.


Starting a cottage food business?


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

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


Sales are limited to $25,000 per year


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.


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)



Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Law Dates
July 2010
HB 5280
October 2012
HB 5130

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Starting a cottage food business?


Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)


I am considering starting a mobile cookie and coffee shop but am confused about the cottage law prohibiting selling coffee. If I obtain a Food Service License will I be able to sell coffee also?

    I’m not sure what exactly is required to sell coffee, but sometimes there are special laws for coffee and tea. You should check with the ag dept about how to best setup your business.

Hi, I see that the law states “Children are not allowed in the kitchen while you are making the products”. However, what if my 15 year old nephew would like to work with me? Thank you!

If fudge is allowed and caramels as well, can I make them with goat milk from my goats? I can pasteurize the milk but it also heats high enough for candy.

I am not expecting any issues with this, but I was curious. If someone happens to get sick after eating some of my baked goods, prepared and labeled according to the Michigan Cottage Food Law, could they legally come back to me and blame me? Would a lawsuit hold up, if labeled correctly? Or would I be better off adding a disclaimer to the label?

    Adding a disclaimer to the label is already required (saying that it was made in a home kitchen). One of the nice things about cottage food is that the items are inherently safe. Go ahead and take a basic food handler course online, and as long as you keep your kitchen clean and sanitized and you follow best practices for food prep, it shouldn’t be a problem. I have NEVER heard of anyone have a health complaint against a CFO’s non-perishable food.

    But to answer your question, as long as you follow the law, you should technically be covered. But you can never be sure. Some people get insurance, to be safe. But from what I’ve seen, the fear of a lawsuit is a false one and is extremely unlikely.

Are we able to make a bread with cheese on the INSIDE not OUTSIDE? Not a Focaccia style bread either, just a white sandwich style bread

If a nut butter only contains the nut, raw honey & evoo then is it able to be sold? If it needs to be tested, where in Michigan can you get that done?