New law allows the selling of homemade products at markets

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

This week, Governor Granholm signed a package of bills into law that will allow certain homemade products (such as baked goods, jam, honey, vinegar, maple syrup, granola and popcorn) to be sold directly to Michigan consumers without the legal requirement that they be prepared in commercial kitchens. The intent of the law is to support farmers’ markets by allowing certain value-added products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed commercial kitchen. Only direct sales to consumers are permitted; no mail order sales or sales to grocery stores are allowed. The law takes effect immediately.

Under the new law, only foods that have been determined to be a low risk for causing food-borne illness may be sold as a “cottage food product.” Salsas, milk and meat products, all beverages, and ice products are not permitted to be sold as cottage food products because they are more likely to cause food-borne illness.

All cottage food products are required to be labeled with certain information, such as specific ingredients and weight or volume.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture has posted a FAQ about the new law on its website, including a list of specific foods that may and may not be sold as cottage food products, and an example of the proper way to label such foods before sale.

The House Fiscal Agency has published a legislative analysis of the package of bills on the front page of the Michigan Legislature website. This analysis gives a brief background of the issue, as well as the specific provisions in the law, the arguments that were presented for and against the package of bills, and a list of organizations that supported and opposed the legislation.  

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