Food Freedom Act

Selling homemade food is a great way for entrepreneurs with big dreams but little capital to start a business. Working from their homes, they can avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars on commercial kitchen space. Customers, meanwhile, love buying fresh and affordable foods from members of their community.

Although nearly every state allows for the sale of some homemade foods under existing “cottage food” laws, there are limits. The laws often restrict—sometimes severely—the types and quantities of homemade foods that entrepreneurs may sell, as well as the venues from where they may sell them.

Enacting IJ’s Food Freedom Act allows states to greatly expand the opportunities for home-based food entrepreneurs to produce, and for consumers to buy, delicious homemade foods. The model allows the unrestricted sale of “not potentially hazardous foods”—that is, foods, such as baked goods and jams, that are shelf stable and do not require refrigeration—provided they are properly labeled and disclosed as homemade.

Additionally, the bill allows for the sale of some foods that the model classifies as “potentially hazardous homemade foods.” But mindful of health and safety concerns, the model requires the producer to sell such foods directly to the consumer, either in person or remotely (e.g., by telephone or internet), and the producer must deliver the foods to the consumer in person.

Cottage food laws already have led to the creation of thousands of new businesses throughout the country. Enacting IJ’s Model Food Freedom Act will lead to countless more and will especially benefit stay-at home parents, the disabled, farmers, military spouses—indeed, anyone who desires simply new and creative opportunities to help support his or her family from home.

Recent Reforms for State Cottage Food and Food Freedom Laws