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, 25 states and Washington, D.C. have either created new cottage food programs or significantly expanded their existing laws.

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

Selling Homemade Food Online

Today, 38 states, plus Washington, D.C., allow cottage food businesses to sell online to buyers within state limits.

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

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

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.

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

Four states have banned cities and counties from banning or requiring a permit for lemonade stands run by kids:

  1. Utah (2017)
  2. Colorado (2019)
  3. Texas (2019)
  4. Illinois (2021)

(Since lemonade needs to be refrigerated, it’s typically excluded from many state cottage food laws.)

Home Cooking

Two states have enacted “microenterprise home kitchen” laws, which legalize the sale of home cooked meals that contain meat. Although these laws let home chefs sell an even broader array of dishes than under food freedom laws, they do require inspections and permits.

  1. California (2018 and 2019)
  2. Utah (2021)

Unlike Utah, California requires cities and counties that expressly opted in and passed ordinances authorizing MHKOs. As of September 2021, MHKO permits are available in the following:

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

Timeline of Recent Cottage Food Expansion

All 50 states now have “cottage food laws” which let people sell homemade foods that do not require refrigeration. Cottage foods laws have expanded rapidly in the past five years

2015

Montana – HB 478

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Minnesota – SF 5

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