North Dakota’s path to a cottage food law resembles a roller coaster ride, but not necessarily a fun one.
Since then, the health department tried multiple times to restrict the new law, and were ultimately successful in implementing restrictive rules in 2019.
In 2020, five producers, along with the Institute for Justice, successfully sued the health department and restored the food freedom law by the end of the year.
For the full story of how North Dakota got here, read this.
Unlike most cottage food laws, this food freedom law allows producers to sell ANY type of food, as long as it doesn’t contain meat. There is one exception: those who raise a small amount of poultry can sell their poultry, as well as products that contain their poultry.
Producers must sell directly to the consumer (not in retail stores, restaurants, etc) anywhere within the state, but they can’t sell online or ship their products.
There is almost no regulation for sales under this law, aside from having to notify the customer that the product was made at home. There is no licensing process, kitchen inspection, or sales limit.
There is one significant restriction though, which is that the food must be consumed in a home. For example, a wedding cake would only be allowed under this law if it was made for a wedding held at someone’s home.
You can sell ANY kind of food or drink product as long as it does not contain meat (see exception below). It can be fresh, cooked, refrigerated, frozen, dried, canned, etc, and includes items with dairy.
If you raise poultry and slaughter no more than 1,000 birds per year, you can sell your poultry, as well as products made with your poultry. For example, you could sell a chicken pot pie, as long as the chicken meat comes from your birds. You could not buy chicken meat elsewhere (like a store or another farm) and use it in your products.
"This product is made in a home kitchen that is not inspected by the state or local health department"
You can place the warning statement either on your labels, OR on a sign at the point of sale.
You must inform customers that your products are not certified, labeled, licensed, packaged, regulated, or inspected.
If you sell perishable products (e.g. cheesecakes, casseroles, etc), you must label them with safe handling instructions and a product disclosure statement indicating the product was transported and maintained frozen.
- North Dakota Department of Health
- (701) 328-1291
Division of Food & Lodging
Prior to 2017, North Dakota did not have a cottage food law, but local health departments still allowed certain types of non-perishable foods to be sold at farmers markets, roadside stands, and some public events. Each county had different restrictions.
Despite receiving no health complaints over two years after its passage, the health department opposed the food freedom law and constantly attempted to change it. They proposed a bill in 2019 (SB 2269) which would have restricted the law, but the legislature rejected it. In late 2019, they bypassed the legislative process by adding their rules to the North Dakota Administrative Rules (33-33-10).
The new rules went into effect in 2020, and basically converted the food freedom law into a fairly good cottage food law. The health department was criticized for circumventing the legislative process, and ultimately lost the battle when they were successfully sued.