Sell your homemade food online

Start and grow your business with the only website builder made just for food artisans.

Sign Up (It's Free!)

Your entrepreneurial journey doesn’t have to happen alone. Get advice and answers from some of the world’s best home-based cooks. Join the Community ⟶

Supercharge your independent food business with Castiron: the only platform built to streamline all the pieces you need to start and grow your business. Sign Up ⭢

Entrepreneurship is hard — and it can be lonely. In the Kitchen, you’ll make real connections with cooks who have also been in your shoes.  Join the Kitchen⭢

Cottage Food Law Michigan

Whether you are looking to state a new side hustle or simply want to change careers, the idea of being your own boss and selling food from your home is exciting. However, are you aware of the Michigan cottage food laws 2020 that still apply today? To start, let’s explain the details of what exactly is a cottage food business. This is a type of business that is run from your home kitchen. Certain goods can be sold and others cannot. This means you may not be able to sell your family recipe, even if it is something the whole world needs to try. 

Now, let’s go over the specifics of the Michigan cottage food law. In Michigan, cottage food operators are exempt from the “licensing and inspection provisions of the Michigan Food Law.” If you would like to read into the details of the Michigan cottage food law pdf, feel free to do so. It is lengthy, but you can get started with all of the information you need by reading through the end of this post. 

With the cottage food law Michigan, you will still need to meet certain standards regarding labeling and food safety. MSU offers Michigan cottage food law online training and it is backed by the state government. At the end of the course, you will receive your cottage law certificate. It must be displayed in your home kitchen at all times. 

In Michigan, your home food business can only earn up to $25,000 per year. The intention of this law is to allow entrepreneurs, like yourself, to “test the waters” and see if this is the right business for you. If you will exceed your $25,000 cap in a given year, it is time to consider moving from cottage food and into a full fledged business. 

Food produced in your home kitchen can only be sold to consumers. You cannot sell to supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, farmers, or anyone who is not a direct consumer. Further down, we will go into the specifics of what you can and cannot sell. Generally, anything that is considered a non-potentially hazardous food can be sold. 

If there are any specific local ordinances, you will need to comply with those as well. The state law does not supersede local ordinances. It only exempts you from needing to earn specific licenses or having your kitchen inspected. 

Permit To Sell Food From Home In Michigan

If you plan on selling food from home Michigan under the cottage food law, no special permit or licensing is required. The only thing interested entrepreneurs must do is complete the Michigan Cottage Food Law Food Safety Online Training. The reason the state does require a permit to sell food from home in Michigan is because the state does not consider this to be a long term venture. Rather, the state created these laws to allow new entrepreneurs the ability to test their idea before moving into a complete venture. 

The cottage laws do those interested in starting a home bakery or home kitchen to follow local ordinances. This does mean some countries of municipalities may require additional registration. A DBA (Doing Business As) or LLC (Limited Liability Company) may be required in order to run your home business. You can contact your county government office to inquire about specific regulations. 

Food License Application

In Michigan, those operating under cottage law are not required to complete a food license application or home bakery license for at home business. Outside of reading the PDF checklist provided by the state, there are no other steps in how to apply for a cottage food license. Michigan truly makes it easy for entrepreneurs to test out their new venture until they prove to themselves they can exceed the cottage food law $25,000 cap. 

However, those who plan on selling food at a farmers market may be required to have a food established license Michigan. Since these independent venues can make their own rules, they are allowed to require those who are exempt under the cottage food law to have a food license Michigan. Other names this license may be referred to as include food vendor license Michigan and bakery license Michigan. 

It is not wise to lie about having a license to sell food in Michigan. Failure to have the proper license can result in being banned from the venue and/or paying a fine to the state. 

The Michigan food license search is a wonderful tool for those who want to learn if the food(s) they are interested in selling requires a license. Even if it falls under cottage law, a license may be required in order to sell it. It is possible to obtain the STFU license Michigan if you only need to be considered a temporary food establishment for 14-days. 

Michigan Cottage Food Law Shipping

The Michigan cottage food law shipping regulations are simple: you cannot ship anything to anyone. Foods produced in your home kitchen can only be sold directly to the consumer at one of the following: “farmers' markets, farm stands, roadside stands, and similar venues.” Furthermore, the law says that your product must be sold face-to-face. This allows the customer to ask any questions about the food and how it was produced. Orders may be taken over the phone or online, but payment cannot be collected until the consumer is face-to-face. 

It may be possible to sell your food in another state according to Michigan cottage food laws. However, you must follow all of Michigan law and any of the other state’s laws. Even if the other state allows you to sell Michigan cottage law food products, you must ensure the local regulations or the county and/or allow it as well. If all of these conditions are not met, then you will be unable to sell your product outside of Michigan. 

Michigan Food Safety

Michigan food safety regulations for home food businesses are not as strict as the Michigan commercial kitchen requirements. This is because your home kitchen is not licensed or inspected by the state. However, you are still expected to maintain a clean environment to produce your foods. 

Under Michigan food cottage laws, only potentially non-hazardous foods may be sold. This means you may only produce the following under cottage food law:

  • Breads
  • Baked goods
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Quick breads and muffins
  • Cooked fruit pies
  • Fruit jams and jellies in glass jars
  • Confections and candies
  • Granola
  • Dry herbs and dry herb mixtures
  • Dry baking mixes
  • Dry dip mixes
  • Dry soup mixes
  • Dehydrated vegetables or fruits
  • Popcorn
  • Cotton Candy
  • Chocolate covered pretzels, marshmallows, graham crackers, etc
  • Coated or uncoated nuts
  • Dried pasta
  • Roasted coffee beans
  • Vinegar and flavored vinegars

For more details and a complete list of what cannot be sold under cottage law, read the cottage food law list

Additionally, your ingredients and foods must be properly labeled before they are stored and/or sold to your consumers. Ingredients should be labeled with when they are opened and the best by date. The following is required on every product that is to be sold to consumer:

  • Your name and physical address of your home (cannot be a P.O. box).
  • Name of the product.
  • Ingredients in descending order with sub ingredients. For example: soy sauce (wheat, soybeans, salt).
  • The net weight or net volume of the product (must include the metric equivalent as well).
  • If any allergens are included, they must be included and follow all federal labeling requirements.
  • The following statement: "Made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.”

Michigan does require that your single-family home kitchen is free of dampness, pests, and unsanitary conditions. If a complaint is filed about your labeling, you not meeting Michigan health code, or someone falling ill due to a foodborne illness, you will be investigated. You will not be notified of the complaint until the investigators arrive on your doorstep. The investigators will come into your kitchen, view all of your records, inspect your ingredients, and take pictures. At any time, the investigators may seize any altered or incorrect labels. They can also shut down your home food business altogether. 

Conclusion 

In Michigan, it is rather easy to have a successful cottage food business. So long as you create delicious products, label them correctly, keep a clean kitchen, and complete transactions face-to-face, you are well on your way to success. While you can certainly market your cottage food online, you are limited to where you can sell your food. Furthermore, the venues you can sell your cottage food product at have full rights to require you obtain further licensing to ensure your food is safe to sell. At the end of the year, if you are right at or below your $25,000 cap, it may be time to consider turning your home food business into your next venture! After all, that is why the Michigan cottage food laws are structured the way they are. 

Additional Resources

Cottage Food Law Michigan | Cottage Food Law Wisconsin | Cottage Food Laws Florida | Cottage Food License | Cottage Food Sales Tax | Cottage Industry Laws | Home Food Laws | Laws About Selling Homemade Food | Laws on Selling Food From Home | License to Cook and Sell Food From Home | Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations | Permit to Sell Food From Home | Permit to Sell Food From Home California | Rules for Selling Food From Home

Sick of dealing with messy spreadsheets? Tired of wading through Instagram DMs? Manage your independent food business on Castiron, the only platform built to simplify the lives of cottage cooks and food artisans. Streamline ordering, customer communication, and set up an e-commerce website — it's 100% free.
Sign Up (It's Free!)