The Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition, which is housed at and coordinated by NCAT, has prioritized the need for a cottage food law to truly expand economic opportunities for home-based producers.

The result of Grow Montana’s efforts is House Bill 478.  The bill had a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee, and the committee approved it by a 21-1 vote.  The bill now moves to the full Montana House of Representatives for a vote.

House Bill 478 creates standards for cottage food in Montana, in addition to cleaning up sections of current code that have led to confusion and uneven enforcement.  The bill ensures safety with clear regulation, while also establishing the basis for cottage food in Montana.

If you would like to urge your House member to support House Bill 478, NCAT has set up this page to make sending a note very easy.

Reasons to Support HB 478

  • This bill will spur growth in Montana’s increasingly important food manufacturing sector, which currently ranks third in manufacturing employment in Montana.
  • Our state’s entrepreneurs benefit by being able to test their business ideas prior to making large investments, and consumers benefit by having increased access to a variety of locally-produced food.
  • HB 478 allows cottage food products to be made in relatively small quantities in a home kitchen and be sold directly by the cottage food operator to consumers within Montana.
  • The products considered cottage food under this bill are low-risk and non-potentially hazardous.  They include such things as baked goods, jams and jellies, dried fruit and dry mixes, granolas, and the like.  They require minimum regulation, which is accomplished by HB 478.
  • HB 478 cleans up current code and ensures safety with clear regulation.