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Selling Homemade Food in Minnesota

People love fresh-baked cookies and cake right out of the oven. Yet selling homemade food was illegal at many venues in Minnesota until 2015. That’s when the Institute for Justice helped free home bakers and canners from the state’s arbitrary restrictions on their right to earn an honest living. The case, filed in November 2013 on behalf of two small business owners, suffered a setback in June 2014 when aMinnesota trial court dismissed the claim. Fortunately, the state court of appeals reinstated the law suit in May 2015. One month later, Minnesota lawmakers passed reforms that gave homemade food producers expanded freedom to sell their products. Read more about the Minnesota homemade food victory 

Minnesota cottage food laws

Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Prior to the passage of Minnesota’s Cottage Food Law in 2015, the state only permitted home bakers and canners to sell their products at farmers’ markets and community events. Even then, homemade food entrepreneurs only could sell up to $5,000 annually. Now, Minnesota home bakers and canners may sell directly to Minnesota customers, including from their homes and online. The law also raised the sales cap to $18,000, nearly quadrupling the amount home bakers and canners may sell annually. Those who sell more than $5,000 in a year must complete a “safe food handling training course” once every three years and pay a $50 registration fee. Read Minnesota cottage food guidelines 

Minnesota 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. Results in Minnesota show the potential economic impact. Within two years of an IJ victory in 2015, the state granted more than 3,000 cottage food licenses, each representing a small business. By 2020, the number had swelled to 4,000. 
  • 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.

Minnesota 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: 

Tell your Minnesota story

Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Minnesota? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here… 

Support Minnesota legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in Minnesota 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. 

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