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How to start a successful cottage food business in Michigan


January 29, 2020 - Author: ,

Michigan Cottage Food Law

Allows individuals to prepare and store certain foods in an unlicensed home kitchen.

The Cottage Food Law does not allow foods to be sold that are at high risk for food-borne illness.

Licensing and Inspections

Are those making Cottage Foods exempt from MDARD licensing and inspections?

Why the concern about safe food practices?

  • People can become sick, hospitalized or die •
  • High risk populations
  • Costly

Causes of foodborne illness

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Cross-contamination
  • Improperly cleaned and sanitized equipment and utensils


Keep your refrigerator at 41 degrees F and your freezer at 0 degrees F.

Preparing produce

Clean by rinsing thoroughly in lukewarm water.

Jams and Jellies

  • Look for cracks or chips in jars
  • Wash and sterilize jars
  • Wash & rinse lids & bands
  • Hot water bath

Good personal hygiene

  • Shower/bathe and wash hair
  • Clean hands and fingernails
  • Wear clean aprons/hats/gloves
  • Tie back long hair
  • Cover cuts

Clean and sanitize to prevent cross - contamination

  • Counters
  • Tables
  • Equipment
  • Cupboard knobs
  • Anything that will be touched

Sampling Do’s and Don’ts

  • Prepackaged
  • Labeling
  • Maintain non-hazardous quality


  • Cottage food can NOT be produced or stored in an outdoor building.
  • Approved storage areas – Kitchens – Basements – Spare rooms


Tags: agriculture, beginning farmer, beginning farmer webinar series, msu extension


Beth Waitrovich

Beth Waitrovich

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