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Recent Reforms for State Cottage Food and Food Freedom Laws

Nationwide, 49 states and the District of Columbia now have cottage food programs, which allow residents to sell baked goods and other shelf-stable, non-potentially hazardous foods directly to consumers. (New Jersey is the sole exception.)

Since 2015, 17 states have created new cottage food programs or significantly expanded their existing laws:

  1. Montana (2015)
  2. Minnesota (2015 law prompted by lawsuit)
  3. Nevada (2015)
  4. Colorado (both in 2015 and 2016)
  5. Idaho (codified by the Idaho Department of Public Health and Welfare in 2015)
  6. Oregon (2015)
  7. Illinois (both in 2015 and 2017 )
  8. Delaware (created by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in 2016)
  9. Florida (2017)
  10. Hawaii (created by the Hawaii Department of Health in 2017)
  11. Wisconsin (court ruling in 2017)
  12. Kentucky (2018)
  13. Maryland (both in 2018 and 2019)
  14. Connecticut (2018)
  15. West Virginia (2019)
  16. Nebraska (2019)
  17. Texas (2019)

 

Today, 28 states allow cottage food businesses to sell online to buyers within state limits:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Florida
  6. Georgia
  7. Idaho
  8. Indiana
  9. Iowa (only Home Food Establishments)
  10. Louisiana
  11. Maine
  12. Massachusetts
  13. Minnesota
  14. Missouri
  15. Nebraska
  16. New Hampshire (only Homestead License)
  17. New York
  18. North Carolina
  19. Ohio
  20. Oregon (only Domestic Kitchen Bakeries/Processors)
  21. Pennsylvania
  22. South Dakota
  23. Tennessee (only Domestic Kitchens)
  24. Texas
  25. Utah
  26. Vermont
  27. Virginia (only Home Food Processing Operations)
  28. West Virginia

 

Seventeen states allow cottage food producers to sell through retail outlets like grocery stores:

  1. Arizona
  2. California (only Type B)
  3. Iowa (only Home Food Establishments)
  4. Louisiana
  5. Maine
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New Hampshire (only Homestead License)
  9. North Carolina
  10. Ohio
  11. Oregon (only Domestic Kitchen Bakeries/Processors)
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Tennessee (only Domestic Kitchens)
  15. Utah
  16. Virginia (only Home Food Processing Operations)
  17. West Virginia

 

Separate from cottage food programs, several states have enacted laws designed to spur other types of home-based food businesses.

Three 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)

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

Food Freedom

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 cap on sales or any licensing, permitting, or inspection requirements.

Three states have enacted food freedom laws:

  1. Wyoming (2015 and 2017)
  2. North Dakota (2017)
  3. Utah (2018)

According to the state health departments in those three states, there has not been a single outbreak of foodborne illness linked to a food freedom business.

Home Cooking

California is the only state that lets home cooks create and sell homemade meals—including those that contain meat—under the state’s “microenterprise home kitchen operations” law, which passed in 2018. But the law only applies to cities and counties that expressly opted in and passed ordinances authorizing MHKOs.

As of June 2019, the following California municipalities have enacted a MHKO ordinance:

  1. Riverside County

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