Bonus Episode 206: Cottage Foods in Montana | NINA HEINZINGER, PhD, RS | Public Health Sanitarian | Helena, MT
Cottage Food it’s really the idea for to help people start a business!!
A way to build their business. Especially in winter when they are maybe not as business. It’s Friday morning, October 20, 2017 and I am super excited because I reached out to Ed Evanston in 2015 after I was at the AERO expo, which is taking place this weekend in 2017 and looking to the data and his episode was listened to a lot of times and is in the top ten most downloaded shows so I asked him to come back and he said you shoud interview Nina because she does that now.
I do always like to kind of ask about your very first gardening experience. did you grow up in Montana?
We didn’t do a lot of gardening. My first real gardening experience was when I was getting my masters at UC Davis and I decided we needed to do something with this polot of land and Davis is a great place to grow tomatoes so I fed everyone with those tomatoes that year, but this year I kind of put a bed of
I got involved with Montana masters gardeners. Been doing that the last 2 years. This year I’ve been really involved with our Helena community gardens now.
Today we are here to talk about cottage foods.
General info about cottage food laws about things throughout the United States… we did kind of a comparison against the laws throughout the United For small farmer community it’s really a way they can build their business….
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been working here with the food and consumer safety section for a year and a half now. Jumped right into cottage foods mostly becaue of my background. I have a
Masters in Food Science
PHd in food micro biology.
I’ve always been interested in food and what grows on food and m
training people about different topics we cover.
Questions kept coming up about different cottage foods and people kept coming to me and asking
what do you know about this food?
do we have to worry about this new food?
I took over the program about a year ago
providing advice to sanitarians who review the process and giving advice on what is acceptable and what’s not
What is a cottage food?
basically a cottage food is going to be a food that is NOT requiring refrigeration or temperature control.
something you can leave on your counter for days and not worry about getting sick from.
We have a variety of products that are included.
Do you want to go through some of those?
what we are seeing in terms of people and what we are seeing
As of last week we had
a 153 different registrations
over a 1000 products are registered
A lot of home bakers out there selling their goods in terms of cottage foods!
It will also include besides those items
don’t allow they require further processing to make sure they are safe
dry spice and tea mixes
We are seeing individuals making teas
fudge and other candies that require cook step
Something that can be left on counter and not require refridgeration
several registered individuals that are processing honey and adding flavors.
Raw honey you don’t need a cottage food license to sell
listed in our information that
another product that you are considering then you need to work with your local sanitarian to see if we can approve that product.
We are seeing lots of cookies and cakes and baked goods. I wish I could take them.
wholes sale eggs full of cracks and stored at 45º or less, don’t need a cottage food license..
cottage foods allow you to take those things you sell at the farmer’s market you want to sell at other venues like craft fairs
Out of your home
as long as your selling it directly to the consumer
dropping it off at their home or meeting people
expands your ability
with the cottage food
your getting licesnsed/registered one time registration for your own home kitchen
allows you to bake foods at your home
purchase the foods from you
allows you to step into business without making the investment to prepare at
that’s what we’ve found
started to do some education
over the summer at the farmer’s markets that the cottage food law exists
what they could do with their products…
sanitarians locally in the counties
this is a way they could go beyond that limited.
It’s $40 one time registration fee.
You can register as many products as you want.
I think the longest list is about 100 products that they are at home and selling
cakes and things like that for friends neighbors
word gets out
and due as a business out of their home
move into things that require refrigeration
some buttercream frostings do qualify as a cottage food it just depends on the formulation
there are recipes that have enough sugar and not so good things in them for
It went into effect in October 2015!
October 1st the first registration was October 9th, approved the first registration. People were enthusiastic being able to sell their products that were made at home. Talked about in the previous legislature. That’s what we see across the US. Have gone into effect in the last 10 years. Made in a home kitchen.
some require the kitchens to be inspected. Which is good we don’t have the manpower here in terms of that. We’re middle of the road on
states allow to sell from home or other venues
limited to only sell form farmers markets or home only
some states don’t require registration
we don’t require safety training
individuals to get food safety training
many states have a limit on the amount of sales you can do
we do not
they have a Dollar limit of $5000, $10,000 and $20,000
needs to be a direct sale from producer to consumer
if you’re making it you’re selling it to the individual.
want to have someone else say it
want the consumer to be able to ask questions about product
we’re along with most states on that.
sometimes that’s a struggle
guidelines on those
customer can come back and contact you if they want more
really good increasing your business
vary in terms of what they allow
most include baked goods and candies
some don’t allow jams or fruit butters
some states do some states do
terms of products
don’t allow that other states allow
most popluar is vinegars
pickled foods as well
usually they require more controls in how they produce to make sure they’re safe and they don’t lead to food
that’s something you need a retail license for then a cottage food
more safe guards
ph of the solution
being able toavoid things in those foods…
think abut it the food on our list
foods that cause food bourne illness
food and consumer safety
food bourne outbreaks
if someone makes it and leaves it on their counter
not going bad because a food bourne
but not custard pies
custard need to be refridgerated
people don’t realize it fruit tends to have a fairly low ph
acid conditions kill off the bacteria
jams and jellie
have acid in them
acid acts as a natural microorganism killer
keeps the micro organisms from growing
jams and jellies can last a very long time if they are canned correctly
cottage food and your state name it will give you a link
in our state
the local health
local people will take your registration
environmental health office
they will have the registration
form that you fill out
info about where you are located
turn in the items
sanitarian keeps those in a confidential file or destroy them or return them
look over the items and how they are produced to make sure they are going to be a safe item
most items it’s pretty quick to approve them
strawberry jam or jelly
100 items may take longer to review them
it has to list the ingredients
there’s a lot of people out there with allergies or intolerance
buy at the store
it lists what’s in that item.
people need to know what’s in that item
you’re revealing how you make it
what goes in there
ways to say
spices and flavorings if they are in a small
weight they in the recipe
there’s a variety of different tools and you
on your label you do’t have to include nutritional info
name of the product
your name and contact
who’s producing it
how much is in the package
if we register together
living in the same household
be made at the registered home
can’t go over to your buddies house
make it there
your own place
can have more then one owner of the operation
many are joint operations
mother and daughter
one of you needs to live at the place that is the home kitchen
Mike and I could get registered
give our operation a lovely name
you would be aware
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
I grew up in California, we did a little bit of gardening at home. My mom grew flowers, we didn’t do a lot of vegetable gardening. My first
when I was a student
I planted tomatoes
Davis is great for
so many tomatoes I fed
those couple of summers
ever since then I’ve done a little bit of gardening
put a bunch of raised beds
in my children’s old play area!
last couple of years got involved with Montana Master Gardeners.
Might be department of livestock or dept of ag
If you want to register the business name there is a business name
cottage food people
use their own name as their business.
don’t need to register as a separate business name
WE do not go out and inspect unless there is some sort of food bourne illness tied back to food
there is not a fine
see if there is a way to happen
the material can become contaminated
cook the product
break open the eggs you need to wash your hands
if there is salmonella
raw eggs added to
here’s what it says for that question
if you are a licensed
are non potentionally
you can give samples at a farmer’s market
vegetables are potentially hazardous.
little bit different
vegetables you are usually selling at the market haven’t been washed.
want to wash them before
regulated through department of ag
in terms of our our farmer’s market addressing samples of vegetables
local farmer’s market manager.
all they’ve gotten is a quick field wash
not like a thorough washing to remove
if someone starts doing more intensive processing
taking the lettuce
triple washing it
bags and such
value added product and they have to get liscensing for that.
liscensing water is ok
get’s more complicated when you have further handling of foods
What about selling online? If they want to sell on Facebook or Craigslist?
It’s fine to advertise it for marketing purposes in those places, but they can not put it in the mail and send it off to some place.
It has to be a face to face sale!
set up a meeting
tell people they are going to be at such and such place at this time
face to face transaction with the buyer of their product.
They can’t put it in the box and send it through the mail. That’s different.
actual food license
Most of cottage food people are not interested in making stuff to mail to other individuals. They’re making stuff they want to get to the person in a fairly timely manor.
Many do advertise online to let people know where they are gonna be and when
Or to connect with people
I have all these great goods
connect with me I can make the cake that you want or five dozen cookies for your party
We actually encourage people. It’s good to get the word out. They can let people know they have a cottage food registration. Some individuals actually put their registration up on line.
That’s fine too so that they can see they are registered on their Facebook page..
They have it listed right on their facebook page
What about gluten free products?
they would have to take precautions to avoid contaminating their products with gluten
They need to separate products with gluten with products that do not.
Some operators produce items.
separate from any items that might contain gluten. Keep all those items in a different part of kitchen where there are no flour products so as to not expose them to gluten
We have people who have registered that have gluten
Chances are if they are making gluten free products it’s because they have someone in their family that is allergic to gluten in their house and needs to eat gluten free so they are already doing it anyway.
thats what we see is often, they often have some one in there own family
having gluten issues so they already have a gluten free kitchen start baking items and sharing them with friends and family and they have a group of people interested in those products.
cottage food license
several items that are gluten free:
pumpkin banana bread
several different products that are gluten free that they are providing to customers
There are some federal regulations we can always direct people to if they have any questions.
of gluten free
Usually you don’t need anything if they are doing something that is not on the list. IF they are doing a jam or jelly not from fruits that we currently allow or a combination.
If you look at our approved list it has a whole list of fruits are allowed. Sometimes people propose something not on the list. We may ask them to get tested for ph and sugar content.
Like pumpkin right is one of those?
Yes pumpkin is one not on the list
people have made an apple pumpkin product
ph is below 4.6
above 4.6 several organisms that cause food borne illness can grow.
below 4.6 those organisms don’t usually grow in products so that’s why we have that regulation there.
Usually when we talk about testing it’s in a product that isn’t one of our standard product, but someone is proposing it and really wants to do it. We will send it off to a food processing lab. That can cost between $25-75.
They send the final product right?
Yes, they send the final product with a recipe to the lab and they test it for ph, water activity. so they will test for those items is that food gonna be a concern.
how much water is averrable to microorganisms is that food going to be a concern
fine and don’t need to be worried about food borne illness resulting on that food.
We are just trying to protect people. Our concern is having a product out there that can make someone sick so we err on the side of caution to make sure so that we don’t end up with a large food borne outbreak from a product.
Lots of times when you’re making things for friends and family, that’s not a very large group of people but once someone starts selling something out to larger population of individuals.
well could this make people sick
maybe making more vulnerable becoming ill
That’s why we picked the products we have for this list of approved products
We pretty much know if someone bakes a loaf of whole wheat or zucchini bread it won’t make someone sick.
value added products that small time producers at home and getting out there and selling
Theyrre doing really well in the
number of products they are selling
being able to carry out a fairly large business out of their home,
on their own time
do something they love and make some money off of it
Costs of goods
That people appreciate. I know people always love Mike’s cookies and breads etc. They’re healthy for you, he always uses healthy flour and sugar and puts walnuts them. I often think his cookies are more healthy then a cliff bar or something. I always think how much does it cost, you’d have to sell it for like $10!
that’s what you need to sit down and figure out
what does it cost per cookie?
now you know the weight
the whole container that you bought
how much did I pay for it
how much is each cookie costing me
time and everything
you know we find you can product a loaf of bread at home for under a dollar and sell it for $3-4 and if it’s good bread
people are often willing
cookie costing you 25¢ to make and sell for a $1.50
especially you can sell 10 or 15 you start to make some money
cost and expense…
they can buy all the ingredients
Sorry folks I somehow lost the end of the interview here… but it’s good timing.
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I’d be remiss not to mention my garden journal, I loved it so much I made one for 2017 I’m going to fill in from my pictures!
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