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. South Dakota has allowed cottage food sales since the passage of the Home-Processed Food Law in 2010.

South Dakota cottage food types

Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. South Dakota cottage food producers may sell “non-temperature-controlled baked goods” and “non-temperature-controlled home-processed canned goods.” Licensed cottage food producers who operate at farmers’ markets and similar events may sell baked goods like breads and cookies, along with candy, pickles, syrups, sauces, dried fruit, pastries, jams, jellies and granola. Unlicensed home sellers must limit the menu to baked goods and certain types of candies.

South Dakota cottage food venues

South Dakota cottage food producers must sell their products directly to the end consumer in-person at the seller’s primary residence, a farmers’ market, a roadside stand or other temporary venue. South Dakota cottage food producers may advertise and sell their products online, but delivery must occur in-person. South Dakota cottage food producers may not use third-party vendors like restaurants, grocery stores and coffeeshops.

Getting started in South Dakota

Two sets of rules exist for South Dakota cottage food producers. For those who want to sell their products at home or directly to consumers at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and similar events, they must follow South Dakota’s Home-Processed Food Law passed in 2010 and expanded in 2011. The law requires homemade food sellers to pass a home inspection and pay an application fee. For those who want to sell homemade food exclusively at home, no permit is necessary, but gross annual revenue cannot exceed $5,000. South Dakota cottage food producers who want to sell canned goods must receive certification from a “third-party processing authority.” The law states: “No canned good may be sold unless the pH level is 4.6 or less or the water activity level is .85 or less. A third-party processing authority … shall verify the method of processing.” Under both sets of rules, South Dakota cottage food producers must submit each product for testing before it can be sold.

South Dakota cottage food labels

South Dakota cottage food producers must attach labels on their products with the following information: Name of the product; name, address and phone number of the producer; date the product was made or processed; ingredients; and a disclaimer that states: “This product was not produced in a commercial kitchen. It has been home-processed in a kitchen that may also process common food allergens such as tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, milk, fish, and crustacean shellfish.”

South Dakota 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.

South Dakota 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 South Dakota story

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

Support South Dakota legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in South Dakota 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.