The Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition, which is housed at and coordinated by NCAT, continues efforts to streamline and improve the state’s current patchwork of confusing and complicated food-safety rules.  Grow Montana is dedicated to making these rules work for Montana’s producers and food entrepreneurs. As the 2015 Montana Legislature unfolds, there will be policies discussed that will impact local producers and food entrepreneurs. One of these policy areas is cottage food.

Cottage Food

Currently, there is legislation being drafted to implement many of the recommendations from the House Bill 630 interim study conducted by the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock, and Public Health and Human Services. To read more about HB 630 and its process, please see this article.

One such bill, which is currently known as draft LC 1613, will provide clear guidance to both cottage food producers and local regulators. It contains a list of cottage food examples like jams, jellies, dried fruit, dry mixes, and baked goods not requiring temperature control for safety. However, the bill purposely doesn’t limit cottage food to the items listed.

The bill will also provide clearer definitions that will reduce regulation; impose no monetary limit on the amount of sales; and standardize the registration process for producers. As more consumers become interested in supporting local food economies and more producers begin starting their own food businesses, we feel clarity in the law and regulations is vitally important.

Please contact your legislators and let them know what you think about cottage food.