July 14, 2015 ~ Update

Hello! It’s been awhile since our last update. In the past month we have added 71 new followers to our Facebook page, making the total 1163. Welcome folks!

I’m excited! I finally took a few minutes and registered with the MDA myself. The online registration worked like a dream and I already had my registration letter the next day.

The following is a list of notes gathered together after conversing with the head of the MFMA and our contact person at the MDA. Hopefully it will answer some of the questions everyone has.

The MFMA shared an update from last week’s meeting at the MDA regarding the new cottage food rules, etc. Here are some of the things that were discussed:

1) Because the law had a fiscal note attached to it, the effective date was July 1 (as opposed to an August 1 effective date without a fiscal note). And since the Cottage Food Bill was included in the Ag & Environment bill that was vetoed by the Governor and then passed again in the Special Session and signed; it left MDA with very little time to put the pieces together by July 1. Kudos to them for getting it done!

So here are the basics for the program, from July 1 – through December 31, 2015:

  1. Everyone who sells under this exemption must register with MDA. MDA has a page set up on their website with all the details, forms, training, etc.
  2. For this time period, everyone (no matter what your sales are) will take the same online training and test. The test is nested within the training.
  3. You will have to choose the sales level you expect to achieve in 2015: either $0-$5,000 OR $5,001 -$18,000. If you choose the $5,001 -$18,000 option, you will need to send the MDA a check or money order for $50.
  4. Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll be redirected to the registration form, which you can fill out online, print, sign, scan and email back to MDA; or snail mail to them.
  5. Once MDA receives your registration and approves it, they will send you a certificate (via email or snail mail) that you need to keep in your records.
  6. And of course, MDA can snail mail you everything in print if you cannot make the online version work for you.
  7. By January 1, 2016, when everyone has to re-register, MDA plans on having the training modules for the two sales tiers to be more developed and ready to go.

You can find the Cottage Food Producer Registration Training & Form on the MDA’s website under “Cottage Food Producer Registration”.

Other pieces of pertinent info:

  • Zoning permissions are your responsibility. You should check with your local government unit to ensure you can operate your home-based business.
  • I found this information very interesting: under this exemption, free baked goods can’t be given to a food shelter, or donated to any establishment that the consumer would be via third party transfer. Baking a cake for something like Icing Smiles is alright since the cake is delivered directly to the consumer.
  • MFMA will be hosting the list of non-potentially hazardous foods and it is not ready yet.
  • Insurance is not a requirement. It’s just a suggestion for your protection. The MFMA is working on a fact sheet that will list options concerning this.

We are working together with the MFMA and the MDA. Things will very possibly keep changing as different questions and issues come up. Once again please be patient and please understand that this is a work in progress. Also, please remember that we who work on this page are not in any way experts. We are just home bakers who worked together to get the law amended and want to share what we learn with you.

Hope that helps clear some things up. If you have any other questions you can “Ask An Expert” at the MDA and they will be happy to help.

Have a great week!

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2 Comments

  1. Curious Questioner

    First impressions and questions:

    1) The online “training” is incredibly minimal, and so far the clarifications in the training are generating more answered questions for me.

    2) Why are baked pumpkin pies any different than baking other dairy products in baked goods?

    3) “Food That A Plant That Is Cooked” is not allowed? Does the legal language about plant-based foods prohibit someone from making baked goods with vegetables in it? Say, savory scones or turnovers with spinach? Looks like spinach and cheese would definitely be out. Or selling home-made pizzas.

    4) “Food From An Animal That Is Raw or Cooked” is not allowed. I understand how that covers meat. But not how that doesn’t also apply to eggs and dairy.

    Thanks for the hard work and continual updates.

    • Hi! I can answer some of your questions but it’s best if you check with the MDA for exact information. They are the experts. The training is minimal for now because of how quickly the law went into effect. It is in the process of being updated and ready for the coming year and as soon as we know more information about that we’ll post it. Pumpkin pies are custard pies which need to remain chilled. Anything that needs to be kept cold is not allowed. There will be a list on the MFMA website soon. As for questions 3 & 4, I don’t know the answers for this. Perhaps contact the MDA with these questions or Kathy Zemen at the MFMA. Hope that helps a little 🙂

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