Since this page was last updated, New Mexico has greatly improved their cottage food law with a new bill (HB 177).
As of July 1st, 2021, local governments cannot prohibit a cottage food business, so anyone in the state can now use the cottage food law.
Also, the bill greatly simplifies the permitting process, and now products can be sold from home, online, and shipped within the state.
New Mexico’s cottage food requirements are the most complicated of any state. Although they place no limit on the amount of product the processor can sell, and they allow processors to sell a fair number of goods, the application process is not much easier than what a regular food processor would need to go through. However, the fees are lower, which are a minimum of $100 annually.
When applying, a processor must submit a plan review that is very extensive and details every part and process of their operation. There are some unusual requirements that are not found in any other state, like requiring that a sample of the product be kept for 14 days after production. In addition to the application, the processor must also take a free training course and get their home inspected. Fortunately, New Mexico has some of the most complete online resources for the laws and the application process.
Albuquerque residents cannot use the cottage food law. Although some residents in Bernalillo County cannot use this law, they can use a similar law.
A copy of the permit for the home-based processing operation must be displayed at all times where the product is being sold.
Dry mixes must be made from commercially processed ingredients only.
First, the processor must apply for a permit, which costs $100 annually and is fairly simple to fill out.
They also must submit a “Plan Review Application“, which is much more complicated and requires a number of items:
- List of every product the operation will produce.
- List of all the ingredients used and their sources.
- Complete procedure of how foods or ingredients will be cooled or heated before and/or during preparation.
- Procedure for how kitchen will be kept clean and sanitized.
- List of when and where products will be sold.
- Procedure for how products will be transported and preserved after preparation is complete.
- Proof that the water supply and/or sewer system meets regulations (could require extra fees).
- Information about equipment and facilities.
- Procedure for how goods will be stored.
- A map of the location, including entrances/exits, prep rooms, construction materials, etc.
- List of the operation plan (name, ingredients, packaging, procedures, etc.) for each product. (If the product need to be tested, that would require extra fees.)
- Proof of training.
For more complete information on applying, read “Guidance for Home-Based Food Processing Operations“.
Training is free of charge, but it must be completed before applying. Training must be renewed every five years.
Once the application is submitted, the health authority will conduct an inspection of the operation before approving the permit.
If the processor uses a private water system, they must get it tested before their application can be approved.
If the processor uses a private sewage system, they must get their septic tank inspected before their application can be approved.
Overall, the process can be completed for just $100, but if the processor needs their water supply, sewage system, or products tested, the fees could run into many hundreds of dollars.
If a processor’s operation or plans change, they must submit those changes to the health authority.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"Home Produced" (12-point type)
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, NM 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)
If the label is written in a language other than English, the statement above must also be translated into that language.
For each batch of product made, the operation must keep a sample from it for 14 days after it was produced, and it must be labeled with the date and time.
If there is no dishwasher, the sink must have at least two compartments. In addition, there must be a sink solely dedicated to handwashing (cannot be a bathroom sink).
Products for the operation must be kept in a separate storage area than those intended for personal use.
Non-employees must be kept out of the food preparation area during production.
Other workplace requirements are specified in a few sections of New Mexico’s Food Processing Regulations: 22.214.171.124(B, C7, & C9), 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, and 184.108.40.206, except for the sections listed in 220.127.116.11(C1). If 18.104.22.168(F4 or G) is a problem, see 22.214.171.124(C11 & C12).