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Maryland Cottage Food Businesses
What is a cottage food business?
A cottage food business (or a home-based business) is defined in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 10.15.03 as a business that a) produces or packages cottage food products in a residential kitchen; and b) has annual revenues from the sale of cottage food products in an amount not exceeding $25,000.
What types of foods are allowed to be produced for sale by a cottage food business?
Non-potentially hazardous baked goods, such as bagels, pastries, brownies, cookies, breads, cakes, pies
without potentially hazardous topping or fillings
High-acid fruit jams, preserves and jellies made only from oranges, nectarines, tangerines, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, cranberries, strawberries, red currants, or another fruit mixture that produces an acid-canned product at 4.6 pH or less
Fruit butters made only from apples, apricots, grapes, peaches, plums, prunes, quince, or another fruit that produces an acid-canned product at 4.6 pH or less
Hard candy made in a home kitchen that does not require further refrigeration. Chocolates, caramel, fudge, and other soft candies are prohibited.
Whole roasted coffee beans
For a full list of example allowable foods see the
Guidelines for Cottage Food Businesses
What types of food are
allowed to be produced for sale by a cottage food business?
Fish or shellfish products;
Fresh, dried, or dehydrated meat or meat products, including jerkies;
Fresh, dried, or dehydrated poultry or poultry products;
Baked goods that require any type of refrigeration (e.g., meringue pies, pecan pies, pumpkin pies, cheesecakes, cream and custard pies, and pies and cakes or pastries with cream cheese/butter cream icings or filings);
Focaccia-style breads with vegetables and/or cheeses;
Raw-seed sprouts, including but not limited to alfalfa sprouts or bean sprouts;
Raw cookie dough and pizza dough;
Acidified foods/pickled products such as corn relish, pickles, or salsa, pepper jelly, sauerkraut;
Milk and dairy products including hard, soft and cottage cheeses, and yogurt;
Cut fresh fruits and/or vegetables;
Food products made from cut fresh fruits or vegetables;
Food products made with cooked vegetable products;
Garlic and/or vegetable in oil mixtures;
Sugar-free products, such as jams, jellies, syrups, marmalades and other preserves;
Pumpkin and nut butters;
Ice or ice products;
Barbeque sauces, ketchups and/or mustards;
Candy and chocolate covered fresh fruits;
Fresh pasta; or
Dehydrated herbs and vegetables
What are the labeling and packaging requirements for cottage foods?
All cottage food mst be prepackaged at the cottage food business and labeled with the following:
The name and address of the business where the food is made. Listing a P.O. BOX address is not permissible.
The name, ingredients, and net weight/volume of the product.
Allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements; “Major food allergen” includes: milk, egg, fish (bass, flounder, or cod), crustacean (crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, soybeans.
Nutritional information as specified by federal labeling requirements, if any nutritional information claim is made about product.
A printed statement in 10 point type or larger, in a color that provides a clear contrast to the background of the label: “Made by a cottage food business that is not subject to Maryland food safety regulations.”
For an example label see
Guidelines for Cottage Food Businesses
ere can cottage foods be sold?
Cottage food products can be sold in the State directly to a consumer
from a residence,
at a farmer's market,
at a public event,
by personal delivery, or
by mail delivery.
Interstate cottage food product sales, or sales outside of Maryland, are prohibitted.
Do I need a license to sell cottage foods?
No. By law, the owner of a cottage food business may sell only cottage food products stored on the premises of the business without needing a food license. If other non-cottage items or potentially-hazardous items are sold in conjunction, a food license is then required for retail and/or storage.
Can I offer samples of my product?
Cottage foods may be sampled as long as your product meets the requirements of the Cottage Food guidance document and is a non-potentially hazardous food. Samples must be pre-packaged in the home kitchen.
Are there additional local laws and requirements that I must follow?
By law, cottage food businesss must comply with all applicable county and municipal laws and ordinances regulating the preparation, processing, storage, and sale of cottage food products.
You should contact your local permits and lice
sing department to inquire about specific requirements.
NOTE: For more information or for items that do not meet the criteria above, need refrigeration, or do not meet the high-acid canning regulations, contact either your
local health department
or the Maryland Department of Health at 410-767-8400.
Maryland Department of Health
Office of Food Protection
6 St. Paul Street, Suite 1301
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 767-8400
Fax: (410) 333-8931
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464
MD Social Media Directory