Many states have legalized the sale of shelf-stable goods in recent years. Utah has gone further, passing a Home Consumption and Homemade Food Act in 2018 that allows the sale of nearly all types of homemade foods directly to the consumer. An additional reform passed in 2021, called the Microenterprise Home Kitchen Act, will let people sell home-cooked meals containing meat and poultry.
Utah cottage food laws
Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Homemade food producers in Utah may sell shelf-stable food and items that require refrigeration, so long as the seller informs the consumer that the food is homemade and not regulated. Utah also allows home food producers to sell through retail outlets like grocery stores and to online buyers within state limits. Learn more about Utah food freedom rules…
Utah Microenterprise Home Kitchen Act
The Utah Microenterprise Home Kitchen Act, passed in 2021, is designed as a complement to the Utah Home Consumption and Homemade Food Act. The newer legislation lets people turn their ovens and backyard grills into restaurant incubators. Starting a business under the act simply requires a permit and annual inspection from the local health department. Participants also need to inform consumers that regulations for home kitchens are different than for commercial restaurants. The Microenterprise Home Kitchen Act expressly allows residents to sell home-cooked meals containing meat. Customers may pick up their orders in person, but they may not consume the food on site. In-person deliveries are also permitted.
Utah lemonade stands
Kids in Utah no longer have to worry about the police shutting down their lemonade stands. Under a Utah Lemonade Stand Law that passed with bipartisan support in 2017, cities and counties cannot require a license or permit for any occasional business operated by a minor.
Utah 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. Since Utah’s food freedom law took effect in 2018, there has not been a single outbreak of foodborne illness from food sold under the law.
- 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.
Utah 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:
- Model Food Freedom Act from the Institute for Justice guides activism efforts at state capitols nationwide.
- Flour Power: How Cottage Food Entrepreneurs Are Using Their Home Kitchens to Become Their Own Bosses surveys 775 cottage food producers in 22 states about what their businesses mean to them.
- Ready to Roll highlights nine lessons from the Institute for Justice’s cottage food victory in Wisconsin.
- The Attack on Food Freedom examines the impact of regulations on farmers, chefs, artisans, restaurateurs, food truck operators and others.
Tell your Utah story
Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Utah? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here…
Support Utah legislation
Help expand cottage food laws in Utah 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.