All across the United States, Americans are making food at home to sell in their communities. Together, they form a small but growing industry—the homemade or “cottage food” industry. The movement fits within a larger trend toward healthy eating and responsible sourcing, as consumers take greater interest in where their food comes from and who makes it. Missouri expanded opportunities for cottage food producers in 2014 with the passage of Missouri Senate Bill 525.

Although the state has minimal red tape, earning an A+ for Regulatory Burdens, Missouri has one of the nation’s most restrictive cottage food laws when it comes to what foods home bakers can actually sell.

Grades For Homemade Food Laws Missouri
Final GradeC
Food Varieties Grade F
Sales and Venue Restrictions Grade C-
Regulatory Burdens GradeA+

Missouri cottage food types

Food VarietiesMissouri
What Shelf-Stable Foods Can I Sell in Missouri?Baked goods, jams, jellies, dried herbs or herb mix.
Can I Sell Refrigerated Baked Goods in Missouri?No
Can I Sell Meat in Missouri?No
Can I Sell Acidified or Pickled Foods in Missouri?No
Can I Sell Low-Acid Canned Goods in Missouri?No
Can I Sell Fermented Foods in Missouri?No

Many states regulate cottage food, meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Under state law, Missouri cottage food producers are limited to selling only baked goods, canned jams or jellies, and dried herbs and herb mixes. For baked goods, examples include cookies, cakes, breads, danish, donuts, pastries, and pies.

Missouri cottage food venues

Sales and Venue RestrictionsMissouri
Annual Sales Cap$50,000
Where Can I Sell Homemade Food Direct to Consumers in Missouri?No restrictions
Can I Sell Homemade Food to Retail Outlets Like Restaurants and Grocery Stores?No
Online OrdersNo
Mail DeliveryNo

Missouri cottage food producers must sell their goods directly to the end consumer at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and special events. The state also allows home delivery and pickup. Missouri cottage food producers may not sell their products online or wholesale through retailers like grocery stores and restaurants. Missouri cottage food producers may not exceed $50,000 in gross annual sales.

Getting started in Missouri

Regulatory BurdensMissouri
Inspections Required Before StartingNo
Are Local Ordinances Preempted or Overridden?Yes
License, Permit or Registration RequiredNo
Recipe Approval or Lab Testing RequiredNo
Food Handler Training RequiredNo

Missouri cottage food producers do not need a government permit, inspection or training to get started. Local jurisdictions may require a business license but are expressly barred from imposing additional regulations. Prior to the legislative reform, selling homemade food was illegal in most Missouri counties.

Missouri cottage food labels

Missouri cottage food producers must package their goods with labels stating the name and address of the manufacturer, the product name, the ingredients in descending order of predominance, the net weight of the food, and a statement that the product is prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to inspection by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. It is recommended that honey manufacturers include this additional statement: “Honey is not recommended for infants less than 12 months of age.” Missouri cottage food producers must display a clearly visible placard at the point of sale, stating that the food is prepared in a kitchen not subject to state inspection.

Missouri 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.

Missouri 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 Missouri story

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

Support Missouri legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in Missouri 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.