Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Michigan,

Posted by Damian Roberti on

Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Michigan,

 

and what are Michigan's cottage food laws for 2022? Welcome to Cottage Food Laws. This is YouTube's premier food entrepreneur channel, dedicated to the home food entrepreneur starting their cottage food business. I have multiple channels here on YouTube. We're actually not new to YouTube. We have a ton of them, Marketing Food Online and Food Truck Freaks. So this is Damien Roberti, Founder and CEO of Marketing Food Online. We are all about food entrepreneurship and helping you get started with your food industry business. Now, I've got some exciting news because there are actually some updates that are going through the process in 2022 for Michigan's cottage food laws, and I'm gonna get to those couple of new updates in just a moment, but I'm gonna dive into what cottage food laws are in Michigan, and what exactly do you need to do? So do you need a license or permit to sell food from home in Michigan? No. You absolutely do not.

 

Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Michigan,

You actually don't even have a home inspection as well. You will not be inspected by the Department of Agriculture, nor do you need a license to do it. But, with that being said, I highly recommend you make sure that you handle your business as a business and not as a hobby. Make sure you get yourself a business license, even though it's not needed, get yourself a business license. Ask the county or city that you live in to make sure that you can also get an LLC, creating a limited liability company, because here's what happens with food businesses. If somebody gets sick, you personally can be held responsible. The cottage food laws do not exempt you from your responsibility as a food producer if somebody does get sick, or has hospital bills, or ends up suing you.

Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Michigan,

 

So having an LLC is very simple, very easy to do. And by the way, I'll even have some resources down below this video in the description section, you can even make an LLC online in a matter of like five to six minutes, actually. Very simple to do, but it has a big layer of protection for you. Next up, food business insurance policy. Yes, believe it or not, you can actually get an insurance policy for your home-based food business. And again, if you're not familiar with how that works, we have a couple of great links and websites down below in the description for you so you understand also how to get a food business insurance policy. But I highly recommend you do get one. It's around $400 to $500 a year. Not very expensive, but it'll give you another layer of legal protection as well, if somebody does, again, get sick from consuming your food products. So let's dive into Michigan's cottage food laws. So what exactly can you sell? What types of foods are allowed to be sold under Michigan? Every state does have cottage food laws on their books, but they do vary as to what types of foods you can make. All of them, mostly though, are non-potentially hazardous foods. Those are time- or temperature-sensitive products. For instance, like what you would get at a food truck. If it was a taco or hot dog or pizza, these are the types of things that actually are not normally allowed to be sold through cottage food laws or through your house. So let me go through a list, and then, by the way, I'll have a link to the Michigan State website to even give you more resources.

 

Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Michigan

Definitely do your homework and check out some even more resources after watching your video. So number one, breads, baked goods, cookies, you can do cakes like anniversary, wedding, birthday cakes, muffins, breads, things like pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, blueberry muffins, those types, cooked fruit pies, including pie crust made with butter, lard, or shortening. You can also do jams and jellies. You also could do confections and candies, granolas, dry herbs, and dry herb mixtures, dry baking mixes, which are a really big, big, very popular right now. And dry dip mixes for dips like, you know, dips for parties and things like that. You can do those, dry soup mixes, dehydrated vegetables and fruits, cotton candies, popcorn, coated and uncoated nuts. You can also do chocolate-covered pretzels, marshmallows, graham crackers, rice krispie treats, bananas, et cetera. Those are perfectly fine. Roasted coffee beans. So you can actually start a coffee business from your home selling roasted coffee beans and ground roasted coffees as well. That was on the list too. Dried pastas, vinegar and flavored vinegars as well. Now you're probably wondering, "Okay, that sounds great Damien, but what are some of the things that I can't make, 'cause I don't wanna get into trouble.

 

Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Michigan

 

I wanna make sure I can not make these." So these are a list also of items that you can't make unless you wanted to get into a commercial kitchen, which is a whole different type of business, but you could rent a commercial kitchen and make whatever you'd like at that point. But the following is things you can't make from home. So meat products, so anything that has fresh meats, turkeys, steak, chicken, pork, those types of things, you can't do anything with meat. Fish products, can't do that as well. If you were looking to smoke fish or something like that, you can't do smoked fish like salmon and that type of product. Raw seeds and sprouts, canned pickled products like corn relishes, sauerkrauts. Also canned fruits or vegetables, salsas or canned peaches, cut melons, you can't do that, unfortunately. Caramel apples, hummus, garlic and oil, ice products, confections that contain alcohol of any kind, or truffles. You can't do those. Cut tomatoes, food products made with cooked vegetable products as well. And then canned, those you can't do. So the list just goes on and on there. And I'll of course I'll have the list down below to show you more information about where you can go to the Michigan State website. They have a really long list of products, so you definitely wanna check that out. So we figured out what we could sell, now, where can I sell them? Well, here's a real quick update, as I mentioned. In 2022, you used to not be able to sell online and ship your products within the state of Michigan, but you actually can, hopefully once the bill gets passed and gets up and running. They did prohibit that before, you couldn't do it online. But now they're actually getting ready to allow you to do that, which is major. That's a big, big, big jump forward. From your home, making a product and shipping it. Now keep in mind, you can't do that over state lines. They won't allow you to actually ship like, say, Michigan to Florida or something like that. But other places are farmers markets, roadside stands, events, local fairs and festivals and things. Keep in mind though, you may need to have an extra additional permit or license from the fair or festival or farmer's market. If that is where you're going, some of those venues may end up asking for an additional permit. Now you can do it from home as well, and that's perfectly fine. Some people allow people to come to the house and pick up or you can deliver it to them in person, but keep in mind that the transaction have to take between you and the buyer. So if you're the cottage food operator, you have to deliver it directly to them. You can't have a delivery service do it, ship it over state lines, or anything of that sort. Also restaurants and retail stores and wholesale. Unfortunately, you can't sell to restaurants and retail stores or, like, in bulk or wholesale products like your Costco or something like that. That's not yet allowed. Hopefully down the road, cottage food laws will allow people to do that. There's only a couple states that actually have that option. California does have a part of their law where you can sell it to restaurants, but Michigan doesn't as of yet. All right, so next up you need to also keep in mind some of the limitations. Now the sales limit is $25,000 a year in Michigan, but they are looking again, this year, part of the bill is gonna raise it to over $100,000. Actually, not over, you're allowed up to $100,000 in sales. That's pretty amazing. That's like four times what they used to have. So from $25,000 to $100,000 is a pretty big deal, if you ask me. Now, some of the other limitations in your kitchen, you cannot have commercial kitchen equipment, big bread mixers, big commercial ovens. You can only use the actual equipment that you have in your normal kitchen and prepare it on your countertop, your counter space and do that. Direct sales only, remember to keep that in mind. You cannot sell it outside of you and the person buying it and transacting it, okay? So direct sales are the only way to do it. Also, your primary residency. So you have to stay within that. You can't go to your neighbor's house and cook a product. You can't rent out a commercial kitchen and say you made it at home. You have to do it in your primary residency, and keep that in mind, too, okay? Now, next up, you do, by the way, have a couple of really interesting things when it comes to your water. If you're on a private well of some kind, you will have to have that well tested before they even allow you to do this. That's something that is a must. They just wanna make sure that the water you're using, obviously, is clean, and all that good stuff. And it's not gonna sani, make sure you can sanitize and keep stuff clean. Lastly, let's talk about the labeling. So in Michigan, cottage food laws are very unique about their labeling. You need to make sure you have an allergen warning. So if you're preparing a product in your kitchen, obviously it may not contain tree nuts, peanuts, or soy, or eggs, or milk. Some of the items may vary, but you definitely want to cover all your bases and make sure that you have your allergen label on there, and it's required. Secondly, your business address. That is gonna be your home. Your home is your business address. When you start a cottage food law in Michigan, you cannot use like a PO Box, or your neighbor's house, or a commercial kitchen address, or a food truck. It has to be your business address, which is your home. Thirdly, your business name. So whatever the name of your business is, that has to be present on the label as well. Next up, ingredients. You need to make sure that all the ingredients in that product are listed from most used to least used. And that's kind of a standard thing across the board when it comes to cottage food laws in every state, they wanna make sure that the ingredients are on there because if someone has an allergy or allergic reaction to certain ingredients, you definitely don't want them to consume it. Next up, next is the net amount. This is gonna be the net amount weight of your product. So if you're selling something by the weight, let's say granola, or peanuts, or different types of nuts, and you're seasoning them for a snack, and you have a one pound bag. You need to make sure that the amount of product weighs one pound, minus the bag, the packaging, the plate, whatever the container is. You cannot weigh that at the same time. It has to be the net amount. Now next up is the product name. So what is the name of the product? That needs to be on the label as well. Make sure that's present and accounted for on the label. And then lastly is a statement that says it's basically created in a commercial kitchen that does not get inspected by the state. Most cottage food laws allow you to do that as well. And they require that type of a statement. Very basic, very simple, just stating that it's made at home, you're not doing it in a commercial setting. So that's Michigan's updated laws for 2022. Hopefully that gets passed very, very soon. And those two great things that increase the sales amount to over $100,000, and then also online sales and shipping. That's gonna be fantastic. So if you guys have any questions about Michigan's cottage food laws, let us know down below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel. We have a lot of great new content coming up that'll even help you market your home-based food business, where to find farmers' markets to sell in your state, a whole bunch of state-specific information that's gonna really be useful, and we'll talk to you then.

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