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Michigan bill would expand cottage food law to allow online sales from home kitchens

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A Jackson County representative is advancing a bill to give more flexibility to people running businesses from their home kitchens.

Under Michigan’s 2010 cottage food law, small-scale entrepreneurs can sell certain homemade foods without getting a state license that requires regular inspections. The products have to be sold directly to consumers at places like fairs and roadside stands.

State Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Hanover, says those rules should be modernized. She introduced a bill this month that would expand the cottage food law to allow sales online and by mail.

Those options are especially useful during the coronavirus pandemic when many people are avoiding in-person shopping, she said.

“When we look at health concerns with COVID-19, allowing more opportunities for safer delivery definitely needs to be considered," said Hanover, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee.

The bill also would expand eligible businesses to those with less than $100,000 in gross annual sales instead of $25,000.

Exemptions under the cottage food law don't apply to products like meat and dairy that need temperature control for safety.

Testimony on Michigan's cottage food law is set for Wednesday before the Agriculture Committee. Other state lawmakers are considering additional amendments, which could be introduced soon, Alexander said.

Sarah Lehr is a politics and civics reporter for WKAR News.
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