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Recent State Reforms for Homemade Food Businesses

Today, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have cottage food programs, which allow residents to sell baked goods and other shelf-stable, non-potentially hazardous foods directly to consumers.

Since 2015, 25 states and Washington, D.C. have either created new cottage food programs or significantly expanded their existing laws:

  1. Alabama (2021)
  2. Arkansas (2021)
  3. California (2021)
  4. Colorado (both in 2015 and 2016)
  5. Connecticut (2018)
  6. Delaware (created by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in 2016)
  7. Florida (2017)
  8. Hawaii (created by the Hawaii Department of Health in 2017)
  9. Idaho (codified by the Idaho Department of Public Health and Welfare in 2015)
  10. Illinois (in 2015, 2017, and 2021)
  11. Kentucky (2018)
  12. Maryland (both in 2018 and 2019)
  13. Minnesota (both in 2015 and in 2021)
  14. Montana (2015)
  15. Nebraska (2019)
  16. Nevada (2015)
  17. New Jersey (2021)
  18. New Mexico (2021)
  19. Oklahoma (2017)
  20. Oregon (2015)
  21. South Dakota (2020)
  22. Texas (2019)
  23. West Virginia (2019)
  24. Wisconsin (court ruling in 2017)
  25. Wyoming (2020)

 

Today, 38 states, plus Washington, D.C., allow cottage food businesses to sell online to buyers within state limits:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Idaho
  11. Illinois
  12. Iowa (only Home Bakeries)
  13. Kansas
  14. Kentucky (only home-based processors)
  15. Louisiana
  16. Maine
  17. Maryland
  18. Massachusetts
  19. Minnesota
  20. Montana
  21. Nebraska
  22. New Hampshire (only Homestead License)
  23. New Jersey
  24. New Mexico
  25. New York
  26. North Carolina
  27. Ohio
  28. Oklahoma
  29. Oregon (only Domestic Kitchen Bakeries/Processors)
  30. Pennsylvania
  31. South Carolina
  32. Tennessee
  33. Texas
  34. Utah
  35. Vermont
  36. Virginia (only Home Food Processing Operations)
  37. West Virginia
  38. Wyoming

 

Nationwide, 21 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow cottage food producers to sell through retail outlets like grocery stores:

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. California (only Class B)
  4. Iowa (only Home Bakeries)
  5. Louisiana (but not for baked goods)
  6. Maine
  7. Maryland
  8. Massachusetts
  9. New Hampshire
  10. New York
  11. North Carolina
  12. Ohio
  13. Oklahoma
  14. Oregon (only Domestic Kitchen Bakeries/Processors)
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Tennessee (only Domestic Kitchens)
  18. Utah
  19. Virginia (only Home Food Processing Operations)
  20. West Virginia
  21. Wyoming

 

Food Freedom

Separate from cottage food programs, several states have enacted laws designed to spur other types of homemade food businesses. Unlike cottage food programs, food freedom laws let residents sell almost any homemade food, including canned, pickled, and refrigerated goods, aside from those that contain meat, without any licensing, permitting, or inspection requirements.

Five states have enacted food freedom laws:

  1. Wyoming (2015, 2017, and 2021)
  2. North Dakota (2017)
  3. Utah (2018)
  4. Montana (2021)
  5. Oklahoma (2021)

According to the state health departments in Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah, there has not been a single outbreak of foodborne illness linked to a food freedom business.

Four states have banned cities and counties from banning or requiring a permit for lemonade stands run by kids:

  1. Utah (2017)
  2. Colorado (2019)
  3. Texas (2019)
  4. Illinois (2021)

(Since lemonade needs to be refrigerated, it’s typically excluded from many state cottage food laws.)

 

Home Cooking

Two states have enacted “microenterprise home kitchen” laws, which legalize the sale of home cooked meals that contain meat. Although these laws let home chefs sell an even broader array of dishes than under food freedom laws, they do require inspections and permits.

  1. California (2018 and 2019)
  2. Utah (2021)

Unlike Utah, California requires cities and counties that expressly opted in and passed ordinances authorizing MHKOs. As of September 2021, MHKO permits are available in the following:

  1. Alameda County
  2. Berkeley
  3. Imperial County
  4. Riverside County
  5. San Mateo County
  6. Santa Barbara County
  7. Solano County

 

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