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Cottage Food Laws (MD COMAR Regulations 10.15.03.02, 10.15.03.27)
Maryland’s modified Cottage Food Law allows citizens to operate from a home-based kitchen or on-farm food processing kitchen to produce "cottage foods".
A “cottage food" product is a non-hazardous food sold at a farmer’s market or public events.
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 permit is then required for retail and/or storage.
COTTAGE FOOD PRODUCTS THAT MAY BE PRODUCED INCLUDE:
Non-potentially hazardous baked goods [bagels, pastries, brownies, breads, cakes, pies. No cream cheese, custards, or other potentially-hazardous fillings, glazes, fruits or cream cheeses that require refrigeration]
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]
Natural Honey [Unflavored and without any processing or additives; flavored honey requires a processing permit from Maryland DHMH)
Hard candy [made in a home kitchen that does not require further refrigeration. Chocolates, caramel, fudge, and other soft candies require a permit]
ALL COTTAGE FOODS MUST BE PREPACKAGED WITH A LABEL THAT CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
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.”
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 and Mental Hygiene.
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Office of Food Protection
6 St. Paul Street, Suite 1301
Baltimore, MD 21202
P: (410) 767-8400/Fax: 410-333-8931
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464
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