The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Michigan Cottage Food law, formerly HB5837, signed into law

cookingwithdenay's picture

Michigan Cottage Food law, formerly HB5837, signed into law

The Michigan Cottage Food law, formerly HB5837, was signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The cottage law allows residents to make and package "nonpotentially hazardous foods that do not require time/temperature control for safety" without licensing and inspection from the Michigan Department of Agriculture.The baked goods, jams, jellies, popcorn, candy, cereal, granola, dry mixes, vinegar and dried herbs, must be created in a kitchen and stored in the residence, which includes a basement or attached garage of the home where food was made.

For more information visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture


alabubba's picture

Excellent for the people of Michigan. Now if only Arkansas would wake up and do the same.

cookingwithdenay's picture

Start A Cottage Law Food Movement  -  If you are interested in learning about how you can contact your legislators about creating a "cottage law" please review the information below.

You will need to:

* Research the home-based baking issue thoroughly
* Be prepared to bring facts
* Muster the support of other home-based bakers in your state
* Muster the support of a State Senator
* Develop a relationship with your State Representative and/ Senator and his/her staff over the interim
* Mobilize support "live bodies" that are in this for the long haul (having more supporters (at a hearing) than opponents is imperative)
* Understand that thick skin is mandatory since the opposition will stop at nothing to shut the bill down
* Exhibit sensitivity and working with your opponent (maintain a professional demeanor)

The primary issue surrounding the opposition of a cottage law usually stems from the fact competition in the baking world will increase and a state government agency e.g. "health department" Department of Agriculture or whomever will have more work to do, usually with less funds and staff.

* Currently there is no evidence from other states with cottage food laws that home baked goods are a health hazard. If you want to learn more let me know.


arlo's picture

I already took advantage of this and baked some sourdough at home which sold at the bakery I work at's stand at a local farm market this week. Made a few extra bucks and loved it. All it took was for me to make labels saying what was exactly in the product, address and contact info of who made it (me) and I through in a note that said, "Contains WHEAT!" Just for good measure.

But I thought canned goods were out of the question due to botolism concerns.

firetech's picture

I spoke with my Ag inspector twice this week and she has as many problems with this bill as I do. I have already gone through the system and have built a kitchen and have been iisc since Feb. Granted I'm only selling Maple syrup at this time but the bakery is the next step for this building. She says at this time there is no enforcment rules written so her hands are tyed. I go to my farmers markets and so many vendors are putting baked goods out to sell that is not labeled correctly no names, address ,weight/volume or ingriedents or marked made in an unliscenced kitchen . My goodness your getting a free pass to sell your product at least follow the rules for labeling its coved very well on the Mich Ag web site. Should I bring this up to the  Market Manger, call the Ag inspector or just mind my own buisness ?

cookingwithdenay's picture

I really think you should bring it to someone's attention. I am all about educating food processors and unfortunately Michigan has put the cart before the horse. I know a number of states that have had cottage laws for years and they are doing an amazing job at education small food processors.The goal is to keep the public safe from foodborne illness and that is impossible without educating food processors (on-going); it's really not negotiable. I hope you will follow up; bad things happen when we choose to silently turn away.

LindyD's picture

Citing from HB5280 (now 112 PA 2010):

(2) Cottage food products shall be prepackaged and properly labeled prior to sale.

(3) At a minimum, a cottage food operation shall place on the label of any food it produces or packages the following information:

(a) The name and address of the business of the cottage food operation.

(b) The name of the cottage food product.

(c) The ingredients of the cottage food product, in descending order of predominance by weight.

(d) The net weight or net volume of the cottage food product.

(e) Allergen labeling as specified by federal labeling requirements.

(f) If any nutritional claim is made, appropriate labeling as specified by federal labeling requirements.

(g) The following statement printed in at least the equivalent of 11-point font size in a color that provides a clear contrast to the background: “Made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Michigan department of agriculture.” [sic] [Emphasis supplied]

(4) Cottage food products may be sold directly from the cottage food operation to the consumer only, and not by internet or mail order. Sales by consignment or at wholesale are prohibited.

(5) The gross sales of cottage food products shall not exceed $15,000.00 annually. The determination of the $15,000.00 annual gross sales shall be computed on the basis of the amount of gross sales within or at a particular domestic residence and shall not be computed on a per-person basis within or at that domestic residence. The department may request in writing documentation to verify the annual gross sales figure.

(6) Cottage food products shall be stored only in the primary domestic residence.

(7) An exemption under this section does not affect the application of any other state or federal laws or any applicable ordinances enacted by any local unit of government.

Enacting section 1. This amendatory act does not take effect unless House Bill No. 5837 of the 95th Legislature is enacted into law.

Herb, if you are certain the products at your market are being baked under the new law and improperly labeled, then by all means print out the text of both acts and give a copy to your market manager.  Given the economic state of Michigan, I doubt there will be any inspection or enforcement other than locally, and only if people are actually aware of the language of the law.

Prior to passage of these acts, health department certification had to be presented to our local market manager.  Like  you, she had built a separate kitchen some years ago but accepts the fact that as times change, so do circumstances.