Today, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have cottage food programs, which allow residents to sell baked goods and other shelf-stable, non-potentially hazardous foods directly to consumers.

Recent State Reforms for Homemade Food Businesses

Since 2015, 30 states and Washington, D.C. have either created new homemade food programs or significantly expanded their existing laws. For more information about a specific state reform, see the timeline below.

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Reform Timeline

March 2022

South Dakota (HB 1322)

Working with IJ, South Dakota legalized the sale of home-baked goods that require refrigeration and fermented foods.

April 2022

Tennessee (SB 693)

Tennessee legalized retail sales and hiring full-time employees for cottage food businesses, and also banned municipalities from imposing additional regulations.

May 2022

Connecticut (SB 187)

With help from IJ, Connecticut doubled its revenue cap from $25,000 to $50,000 for cottage food businesses.

May 2022

Maryland (HB 178)

Maryland doubled its revenue cap from $25,000 to $50,000 for cottage food businesses.

Selling Homemade Food Online

Today, 42 states, plus Washington, D.C., allow cottage food businesses to sell online to buyers within state limits.

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Mail Delivery

Today, 35 states and Washington, D.C. allow mail delivery of cottage food products.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming District of Columbia

Retail Sales

Nationwide, 21 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow cottage food producers to sell through retail outlets like grocery stores or restaurants.

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Food Freedom

Separate from cottage food programs, several states have enacted laws designed to spur other types of homemade food businesses. Unlike cottage food programs, food freedom laws let residents sell almost any homemade food, including canned, pickled, and refrigerated goods, aside from those that contain meat, without any licensing, permitting, or inspection requirements.

Five states have enacted food freedom laws. According to the state health departments in Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah, there has not been a single outbreak of foodborne illness linked to a food freedom business.

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Home Cooking

Four states have legalized the sale of home cooked meals that contain meat.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming District of Columbia

However, California requires cities and counties that expressly opted in and passed ordinances authorizing “microenterprise home kitchen operations.” As of March 2022, MEHKO permits are available in the following:

  1. Alameda County
  2. Berkeley
  3. Imperial County
  4. Riverside County
  5. San Diego County
  6. San Mateo County
  7. Santa Barbara County
  8. Solano County

Kid Lemonade Stands

Since lemonade needs to be refrigerated, it’s typically excluded from many state cottage food laws. However, five states have banned cities and counties from banning or requiring a permit for lemonade stands run by kids.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming District of Columbia