four jars of canned pickles

In 2015, the passage of the Cottage Food Law in Minnesota changed sections of legislation under Minnesota Statutes (MS) Section 28A.151 previously known as the "non-potentially hazardous foods section" and "the pickle bill". The Cottage Food Law replaces both of these sections. Additional legislative changes were passed in 2021, with an effective date of August 1, 2021. This included the addition of cottage pet treats, found in MS 25.391.

Key changes on August 1, 2021 included:

  • Increasing the sales cap per registered individual to $78,000.
  • Allowing individuals to organize their cottage food business as a business entity recognized by state law.
  • Adding pet treats as an allowed cottage food (MS 25.391).
  • Requiring all producers to pass an exam prior to registration.
  • Requiring all cottage foods and cottage pet treats to be labeled with the statement, “These products are homemade and not subject to state inspection”.

Cottage food producers must do the following:

  1. Register with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) each year before selling food under the cottage food exemption, regardless of the amount of food sold.
    • Tier 1:  For gross annual sales of $5,000 or less, complete an online training and exam each year before registering or renewing.
    • Tier 2:  For gross annual sales of $5,001 - $78,000, take an approved food safety course once every three years while actively selling cottage food.
  2. Prepare and sell only non-potentially hazardous food (such as baked goods, certain jams and jellies) and/or home canned pickles, vegetables, or fruits with a pH of 4.6 or lower and a water activity of 0.85 or less.
  3. Label product with your name, address OR cottage food registration number, the date on which the food was produced, the ingredients (including potential allergens for human foods) and the statement, "These products are homemade and not subject to state inspection”.
  4. Display a clearly legible sign or placard at the point of sale that says, “These products are homemade and not subject to state inspection.” If you are selling on the internet, post this statement on your webpage.
  5. Deliver food directly to the ultimate consumer. The person who makes the food must be the same person who sells and delivers the food.
  6. Sell from a private home, farmers’ market, community event, or on the internet. Food cannot be shipped or wholesaled.
  7. Check with your local city, county, or township regarding business licensing or sales prohibitions due to zoning requirements.
  8. Sell less than $78,000 in a calendar year. If you sell between $5,001 and $78,000 dollars per year, a $50 fee applies to your registration.

Please be aware that these sales are subject to income tax and may be subject to sales tax. Contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue for more information at 651-556-3000.

Basic Registration Process:

Step 1: Determine if you are eligible to register for this license exemption. This includes verifying the food you plan to make is non-potentially hazardous and that your local city, county, or township does not have home sales prohibitions due to zoning requirements. The MDA online training may be helpful to review to verify eligibility.

Step 2: If you are eligible, complete the training and exam for Cottage Food Producer Registration. Your training and exam requirements will depend on your expected gross annual sales.

Step 3: Complete the online cottage food producer registration and exam. Choose “Cottage Foods Producer Registration” from the dropdown menu.

If you do not have access to a computer, you may request a paper application, training, and exam by emailing MDA.CottageFood@state.mn.us or calling 651-201-6062. Leave a detailed message, including your first and last name and mailing address.

Step 4: MDA will send you a registration card in the mail with a unique registration number. Post the registration card in a location visible to customers where you are selling your food. Please allow approximately 3-4 weeks for processing.

You may check the status of your registration at Licensing Information Search. If your registration has been processed, you will be listed and can sell your cottage food items.