​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.