People love fresh-baked cookies and cake right out of the oven. Yet selling many types of homemade food was illegal in Colorado until 2012. That’s when the state adopted the Colorado Cottage Food Act to allow direct, in-person sales of nonperishable homemade foods that do not require refrigeration. The law was amended in 2013, 2015 and 2016 to allow even greater freedom.
Colorado cottage food laws
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Cottage food producers in Colorado may sell directly to customers from their homes and certain other venues. Unlike many other states, Colorado allows the sale of homemade food to online buyers within state limits.Read additional details about Colorado’s rules from Forrager Cottage Food Community…
Colorado lemonade stands
Kids in Colorado no longer have to worry about the police shutting down their lemonade stands. Under a Colorado Lemonade Stand Law that passed with bipartisan support in 2019, cities and counties cannot require a license or permit for any occasional business operated by a minor.
Colorado cottage food facts
Myths about cottage food abound. Here are the facts:
- Cottage food is safe. Critics who talk about the risk of food-borne illness give hypothetical examples of what could go wrong because real-world cases are rare or nonexistent.
- Cottage food is local. When neighbors trade with neighbors, money stays in the local economy.
- Cottage food is transparent. People who buy from a cottage food producer know what they get. If they have questions about ingredients, sourcing or safety, they can ask.
- Cottage food creates jobs. Many homemade food producers use their income to provide for their families. Others seek a secondary or supplemental income.
- Cottage food empowers women. IJ cottage food research shows that most cottage food producers are women, and many live in rural areas with limited economic opportunity.
- Cottage food expands consumer choice. Some stores simply don’t sell what you want. This is especially true if you have a gluten-free, peanut-free, halal, kosher or vegan diet. Cottage food fills market gaps, giving consumers more options.
Colorado cottage food resources
As part of its Food Freedom Initiative, the Institute for Justice provides a variety of resources for home bakers and other food entrepreneurs. These include:
- Model Food Freedom Act from the Institute for Justice guides activism efforts at state capitols nationwide.
- Flour Power: How Cottage Food Entrepreneurs Are Using Their Home Kitchens to Become Their Own Bosses surveys 775 cottage food producers in 22 states about what their businesses mean to them.
- Ready to Roll highlights nine lessons from the Institute for Justice’s cottage food victory in Wisconsin.
- The Attack on Food Freedom examines the impact of regulations on farmers, chefs, artisans, restaurateurs, food truck operators and others.
Tell your Colorado story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Colorado? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Colorado legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Colorado by teaming with the Institute for Justice. Send an email with your name, background information and availability to get started…
Defending homemade food freedom nationwide
People have a right to earn an honest living without arbitrary and excessive government interference. Since 2013, the Institute for Justice has defended home bakers and chefs as part of its Food Freedom Initiative. Read about IJ’s nationwide food freedom advocacy…
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All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes, regulations, and processes are subject to change at any time, and specific facts and circumstances could alter how they are applied. If you have questions about the regulation of cottage foods in your jurisdiction, we recommend consulting a lawyer who can help you navigate the process.