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Thread: MD Cottage Food Law

  1. #1

    MD Cottage Food Law

    So I know there are a few Marylanders here, so this is to you guys -

    The MD Cottage Food law allows you to bake from home, but you can only sell at a farmers market or public event. When I was at the market yesterday, I had someone tell me that she knows someone that bakes from home and all she did was take a Food Service course or something like that so now she can bake and sell from home (her friend swears that she would never bake illegally out of her home and take that risk). I'm think she is doing illegally and her friend is wrong. Does anyone know if this is a way to bake from home? My husband won't let me be an "illegal baker" except for family


    Also, I had a guy ask me to make cookies for an event at his bookstore. Could I get around the home baking law if I show up at his event to sell cookies and then he just buys them all to give out? Haha. They are not very specific to what is considered a "public event"...


    P.S. I hate the MD Cottage Food Law and would love to see it expanded. Is there anyone out there that knows how to go about doing that??

  2. #2
    Senior Member SugarDotCookies's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the friend is wrong too. My understanding is the same as yours - farmers markets, fairs, etc. The baked goods are also supposed to be labeled a certain way to let people know that it was not prepared in a commercial kitchen.

    I'm not familiar enough with the wording about "public events". I'm having trouble finding the info online.
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  3. #3
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    Hi gals- Maryland's Cottage Law is restrictive. The farmer's markets and "public events" is accurate. I recall reading somewhere that a "public event" is an event that is open to the general public. For example, an event that is held just for members of a local country club is NOT considered a public event. It is Maryland SB 500 or HB 399. This website (http://cottagefoods.org/laws/) is really interesting because it breaks down the cottage laws state-by-state and describes in more layman terms what the law means. As Dotty knows, I am almost done construction of my commercial kitchen so that I may be *legal*. Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Moderator CindyW's Avatar
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    I was told by our (MD) Dept of Agriculture, farmers markets only. No craft fairs.
    She told me the only way around it was to take orders, bake at home, but your customers
    HAD to pick up and pay and the Farmers Market.
    Also, I could use a church or fire house kitchen and be legal because they are already on
    the health depts. 'inspection list'. Md does not have the budget to inspect private homes.
    Call our Dept of Ag and question them. If you do, let us know what info you get.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lov2bake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clough'D9 View Post
    Hi gals- Maryland's Cottage Law is restrictive. The farmer's markets and "public events" is accurate. I recall reading somewhere that a "public event" is an event that is open to the general public. For example, an event that is held just for members of a local country club is NOT considered a public event. It is Maryland SB 500 or HB 399. This website (http://cottagefoods.org/laws/) is really interesting because it breaks down the cottage laws state-by-state and describes in more layman terms what the law means. As Dotty knows, I am almost done construction of my commercial kitchen so that I may be *legal*. Hope this helps!
    Thanks for the great link Amy. Can't wait until your Grand Opening!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member SugarDotCookies's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link Amy! The quote that my HD lady told me about - that has to be on the label - isn't on the sample label shown.

    If you click on the link at the bottom of the page, that shows the actual bill. The quote is there.
    “MADE BY A COTTAGE FOOD BUSINESS THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO MARYLAND’S FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS.”.
    I believe my HD lady referred to it as the "label of death". Nice, huh? She meant the death of a biz, not from eating the products.

    I still don't see anything that clearly explains the "where".

    The HD can come inspect your home if they want. Yikes! Who knows what they'd be inspecting for. I don't know that it's clearly written out anywhere the way it is for a commercial kitchen.
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