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Selling Homemade Food in Mississippi

People love fresh-baked cookies and cakes right out of the oven. Yet selling homemade food at most venues was illegal in Mississippi until 2013, when state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2553. Prior to the reform, Mississippi allowed homemade food producers to sell only at farmers’ markets or special events. Now, Mississippi homemade food producers may sell their products directly from their kitchens and other venues. State lawmakers passed additional reforms in 2020 with House Bill 326. The Mississippi Department of Health provides details…

Mississippi cottage food types

Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Mississippi cottage food producers may sell “non-potentially hazardous foods” that do not require time or temperature control for safety. Essentially, Mississippi cottage food producers may sell any food that does not require refrigeration after the package has been opened. Examples include baked goods without cream, custard or meat fillings, such as breads, biscuits, cookies, pastries, and tortillas. Mississippi cottage food producers also may sell candy, chocolate-covered pretzels, nuts, and fruit (except for melons), dried fruit (except for melons), dried pasta, dried spices, dry baking mixes, granola, cereal, trail mixes, dry rubs, fruit pies, nut mixes, popcorn, vinegar, mustard, waffle cones, most types of jams, jellies, and preserves, and many types of pickles and pickled foods. Mississippi cottage food producers may not sell meat, fish, poultry, dairy products (including custard pies), eggs (other than air-dried hard cooked eggs with intact shell), cooked vegetables, raw seed sprouts, sliced melons, garlic, cooked potatoes, legumes, beans, nut butters, fruit/vegetable juices or rice.

Mississippi cottage food venues

Mississippi cottage food producers must sell their products directly to end consumers. The state allows home sales and direct sales at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and special events. Mississippi cottage food producers may not sell their products at retail outlets like grocery stores and coffeeshops. Mississippi House Bill 326 updated the cottage food law in 2020 to allow online advertising, but not online sales. Mississippi cottage food producers may not sell their goods across state lines. Likewise, cottage foods made in other states may not be sold in Mississippi.

Getting started in Mississippi

Mississippi does not require registration, fees or training to get started. Mississippi cottage food producers simply must follow safe food handling guidelines, as outlined in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Retail Food Code. Mississippi caps gross annual sales for cottage food producers at $35,000 (the limit was $20,000 prior to Mississippi House Bill 326 in 2020).

Mississippi cottage food labels

Mississippi cottage food producers must package their products with labels that include the following information: The name and address of the cottage food operation, product name, ingredients in descending order of predominance or weight, net weight or volume, allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements, and nutritional information if any nutritional claim is made. The following statement must be printed in at least 10-point type: “Made in a Cottage Food operation that is not subject to Mississippi’s food safety regulations.”

Mississippi 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.

Mississippi 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 Mississippi story

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

Support Mississippi legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in Mississippi 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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