The Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition, which is housed at and coordinated by NCAT, has been working to streamline and improve the state’s food-safety rules to make them work for Montana’s producers and food entrepreneurs.

We had a big win during the 2015 Montana Legislature with passage of House Bill 478  which, among other things, allows cottage food production in Montana.  This means that small home-based producers can make and sell products such as jams, jellies, baked goods, dry mixes, and other “not potentially hazardous” food products.

Your support for HB 478 was critical to its passage!  We’re hoping you’ll make your voice heard during the current step of fine tuning the rules that will govern cottage food in Montana.  HB 478 charged the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) with drafting these rules to ensure cottage food is implemented in a safe way, while making sure the rules are consistent with the legislative intent of the bill.

At the end of July 2015, DPHHS published the rules it is considering adopting.  The public now has the ability to comment on these rules before they are finalized and adopted.

Please Submit Your Own Comments

We hope that you will take the time to read the proposed rules and Grow Montana’s comments.  We encourage you to submit your own comments on the rules to DPHHS.  A fact sheet providing an overview of the rules and Grow Montana’s comments can be found here.

Agency staff has been very responsive and open to conversations with Grow Montana about the proposed rules and wants to make them work for cottage food producers.  It needs to hear from potential producers in order for that to happen!  Please send DPHHS your thoughts.  The department is accepting public comment on the rules in two ways:

  1. In person at a hearing on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 107 of the Department of Public Health and Human Services Building, 111 North Sanders, Helena, MT.
  2. Written comments may be submitted until Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. to Kenneth Mordan, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, PO Box 4210, Helena, MT 59604-4210; by fax at (406) 444-9744; or via e-mail to dphhslegal@mt.gov.

The department plans to have the final rules in place so the new cottage food law and rules will go into effect on October 1, 2015.