Wed, Sep 21, 2022 2:14 PM
By Scott McClallen, The Center Square
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a plan aiming to allow small businesses to offer new labeling and delivery options for cottage food products.
House Bill 5671 aims to allow food businesses to sell and deliver their products via online and mail orders.
“Thanks to the cottage food law, talented Michigan residents may sell their delicious food to others in the community,” Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Hanover, said in a statement. “For some of these small-business owners, the cottage food option has given them a stepping stone on the way to opening full-fledged operations.”
The cottage food law allows people to sell safe food products made in their home kitchens without obtaining a state license. The law applies to items that aren’t potentially hazardous and don’t require temperature controls, such as jelly, candy, granola, and baked goods.
Current cottage food law requires in-person delivery, but the bill aims to allow a cottage food operation to fulfill internet and mail orders and subsequently deliver products using a third-party service, provided that the seller offers customers a chance to meet in person or virtually before a sale.
“Online and mail orders, as well as third-party delivery services, will enable cottage food entrepreneurs to connect with customers in new, accessible ways,” Alexander said. “My plan will open new doors for local businesses while ensuring consumer protection.”
The new delivery options would only be available to customers in Michigan.
The plan would also allow cottage food businesses to obtain a registration number and a phone number to place on product labels instead of a business’s address. Other requirements would include labeling ingredients, allergens, net weight or volume, and a statement that state officials haven’t inspected the home kitchen.
“Transparency helps protect buyers,” Alexander said. “At the same time, cottage food sellers who work out of their homes deserve some personal privacy. Allowing them to label their products with a registration number instead of their address will both preserve transparency and protect privacy.”
The bill seeks to would raise the cap on annual gross sales for cottage food operations from $25,000 to $40,000, with automatic future increases based on annual inflation.
“Increasing the sales cap will give cottage food producers more flexibility,” Alexander said. “For those who want to get food licenses, this change will help them prepare financially to take their next steps.”
The bill moves to the full Senate. The House approved the bill on March 23.