Michigan Governor Granhold signed a set of bills called the “Cottage Foods Industry” bills. These bills make it legal for selling into certain markets home-produced and home-packaged foods without the need of a “commercial kitchen” license. There are two pieces of legislation involved in the package. The first, HB 5280, is the core piece of legislation. The second, HB 5837, contains various definitions used in HB 5280.
Previously, a Michigan Department of Agriculture “commercial kitchen” license was required. Beekeepers have had issues with this requirement for a number reasons, necessity and cost being two of them.
It may take a while for some issues about this new law to be settled. For example, there is some MBA members of the opinion that honey production is not included in these bills and therefore still needs to be produced in a licensed kitchen. This author’s reading of the bills does not support this view; it appears as if honey is included in the legislation. More information will be posted on the MBA web site as it become availalbe.
Beekeepers are encouraged to read these new laws and become familiar with the requirements. For example, there are labelling changes that you will have to make in order to be in compliance. Also, you are restricted as to the venues through which you can sell honey without a license.
MBA wishes to thank all of its members who contacted their legislatures and let their opinions be known.
Wednesday, July 14 Update: In fact, another bill HB 5843 is working its way through the Michigan legislature. This bill specifically addresses honey (and maple syrup, among others). HB 5843 has passed the House and is currently in a committee in the Senate. A useful “legislative analysis” has be prepared for these bills by the House Legislative Analysis Section and should be required reading for all Michigan beekeepers.
Wednesday, July 21 Update: The Michigan Department of Agriculture has posted rules relating to the Cottage Foods Law on the MDA web site. There are two postings that are of interest to Michigan beekeepers. The first is a “Frequent Asked Questions” (FAQs) page. The second is an explanation of the product labeling requirements.
Monday, July 26 Update. HB 5843 was reported favorably without ammendments out of the Agriculture Committee in the Michigan senate with a recommendation for “immediate effect”. The bill is now scheduled for its “third reading” and is on its way for a full vote of the senate. This bill would specifically include honey as one of the products that can be sold in the “Cottage Foods” bill that was signed into law earlier in July.
Wednesday, July 28 Update: Today, the Michigan Senate unanimously passed the third bill, HB 5843, of the “Cottage Foods” act. HB 2843 adds honey and maple syrup to the list of products which can be produced and sold, under specified conditions, without a license fromthe Department of Agriculture. The legislation now goes to the Governor for signing, which is expected. There are restrictions on where and how the products can be sold and there are labelling restrictions. More about this will be posted on this web site when these become clear.