Rep. Annette Glenn (left) testifies in the Senate Agriculture Committee, pictured with Joe Lesausky of the Michigan Farmers Market Association.
Rep. Annette Glenn’s plan to help Michigan’s cottage food industry thrive continues to gain momentum in the state Legislature.
Glenn, R-Midland, testified on her plan today for the Senate Agriculture Committee. Her proposal would increase the sales cap for cottage food operations, allow them to sell products via the internet and mail, and safeguard participants through an optional registration system.
“The laws guiding Michigan’s cottage food industry are outdated and in desperate need of modernization to adjust for inflation and how customers buy products today,” Glenn said. “Our proposed changes are simple, common sense and bipartisan – and they will help small family businesses thrive across our state.
“Whether we realize it or not, many of us have bought products from the cottage food industry – everything from cookies and cupcakes at church bazaars or at farmers’ markets,” Glenn said. “How can we help these hardworking Michiganders succeed, stay in business and grow their business? That’s what this plan is all about.”
The cottage food industry provides an opportunity for people to explore or start a food business without having to establish or rent commercial kitchen space – typically one-person operations based in home kitchens. It applies to baked cooks, jams, jellies and other food products that do not require time and temperature controls for food safety.
Glenn researched the proposed changes to state law after being contacted by Midland’s Amanda Hamann, owner of a home-based company called Above Measure Cookies.
Glenn’s proposals would raise the annual sales cap for cottage food business to $40,0000 – up from the current $25,000 – before commercial licensing requirements would kick in. The cap would rise after that based on inflation. The measures also would allow internet, mail or third-party delivery of sales after a customer is provided with the chance to directly interact with the business operator prior to purchase.
The legislation provides accountability in product labeling and registration without risking unwarranted privacy invasions. Sellers would be given the option of registering through the Michigan State University Product Center, including that information on product labels instead of home addresses.
The legislation – House Bills 5704 and 5671 – remains in the Senate Agriculture Committee for further consideration. The measures were approved by the House in March.
Rep. Glenn says that Michigan motorists need more tax relief than the proposed three-month federal gas tax suspension would provide, noting that the Michigan Legislature has approved three tax relief plans this year, and that the Governor has vetoed every one.