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Selling Homemade Food in New Mexico

New Mexico homemade food producers are free to sell a wide variety of products with little hassle, following passage of the 2021 Homemade Food Act. Previously, New Mexico homemade food producers faced a complex maze of regulations. They had to submit detailed business plans, pass rigorous home inspections, and keep samples from each processed batch for 14 days after production. The rules, enforced by the New Mexico Environment Department, also banned online sales and in-home sales. Now, New Mexico homemade food producers may sell their products directly to consumers on the internet and over the phone. The law allows mail delivery, in-person delivery and home pickup. Other transactions may occur at farmers’ markets, festivals and roadside stands. To get started, New Mexico homemade food producers simply must complete a food handler certification course and apply for a permit in some jurisdictions.

New Mexico cottage food rules

Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. New Mexico allows the sale of cottage foods that do not require time and temperature controls to ensure safety. The 2021 Homemade Food Act does not list specific products, but generally authorizes “baking, cooking, cutting, dehydrating, drying, fermenting, growing, mixing, preserving, raising or other process.” The description covers baked goods and most types of candy, dry goods, pastries, jams, jellies, granola and nonalcoholic beverages. Sellers must agree to keep pets and children out of the kitchen while producing food. Sellers also must provide labels with each product that list ingredients, contact information, and a disclaimer stating that the food is home-produced and exempt from state licensing and inspection.

New Mexico cottage food permits

Some New Mexico residents need a permit before selling homemade food. The 2021 Homemade Food Act authorizes the New Mexico Environment Department to operate a voluntary permit system, but local health departments in certain jurisdictions may operate a mandatory permit system. Either way, all permit systems in the state must “allow the sale of all food items at all locations authorized by the Homemade Food Act.”

Albuquerque cottage food sales

Prior to 2021, Albuquerque residents were not eligible for cottage food permits. Albuquerque operates outside the authority of the New Mexico Environment Department, and the city declined to adopt cottage food rules. As a result, Albuquerque residents could not legally sell a single homemade cookie or loaf of bread. The Homemade Food Act lifts the restriction. Now, New Mexico residents anywhere in the state can sell cottage food.

New Mexico 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.

New Mexico 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 New Mexico story

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

Support New Mexico legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in New Mexico 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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