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Law helps entrepreneurs cook up food enterprises in home kitchens by

Tiffany Fitzgerald

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or Kelli Eaton and Sara Main, owners of Fizzy Bread and Dips, Michigan’s Cottage Food Law has meant the difference between dreaming of success and obtaining it. The Cottage Food Law, enacted in 2010, makes it possible for people to produce food products within their homes to sell. There are guidelines, of course — producers have to sell face-to-face so they can answer questions about their products, and they can’t sell any products that require time or temperature control for safety, for example — but the law allows people to start a business selling foods without taking too much of a financial risk. Eaton and Main sell their bread and dip mixes at local craft shows. Under the law, they can produce these products without having to undergo the same kinds of licensing and inspections required by the Michigan Food Law, potentially saving the pair and their fledgling enterprise thousands of dollars. “When we started looking into selling at local craft shows, we figured we better get legal about it and so we started researching,” 12 | Encore SEPTEMBER 2013

Kelli Eaton, left, and Sara Main utilized Michigan’s Cottage Food Law to create the Fizzy Bread and Dips enterprise in their home kitchens.

Eaton explains. “There’s a lot of good info on the State of Michigan website about the Cottage Food Law which saved us a lot of money when we were starting out, so we learned as much as we could and then started complying.” Eaton and Main also took advantage of the Can-Do Kitchen, an offering of local organization Fair Food Matters located in the People’s Food Co-Op building, on Harrison Street in Kalamazoo. The Can-Do Kitchen routinely offers workshops on the Cottage Food Law presented by representatives of Michigan State University. “The Can-Do Kitchen ties into the Cottage Law for us because that’s where we’ve learned a lot about labeling, food safety and licensing,” Eaton says. “We’ve also been able to use the kitchen to make food samples for shows. It’s an amazing resource, and we’re blessed to have it right here in our community.”