Midland woman works with lawmakers to change cottage industry laws

A Midland woman is working with lawmakers to reform gross cap and labeling laws in the cottage food industry.
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 8:12 AM EST
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MIDLAND, Mich. (WNEM) - A Midland woman is working with lawmakers to reform gross cap and labeling laws in the cottage food industry. The changes could help home bakers make more money and keep their personal information private.

“And then one of my friends said ‘um, I don’t bake, but’ and she wanted to know if she could just buy a dozen from me and I was like ‘yeah, sure, why not? I’m already making them,” said Amanda Hamann.

That’s how the midland mother of two got into the Michigan cottage industry, as a stay-at-home baker.

“And before I knew it, I had six other people that were like, ‘well, I would like one too,” Hamann said.

When Hamann quit her corporate job to take care of her kids, she wanted to make up the lost income.

“So, the cottage food law was basically put into place to allow people to essentially dip their toe in the water of starting a food business without having to put out all of the massive investment to start a commercial one,” Hamann said.

Now she’s got a successful business, above measure cookies, but she wants to reform the laws surrounding the cottage industry.

“So, the biggest one that we are working to try to reform is that annual gross cap. That was put in place, I believe the last change to that was 2010. And obviously in the last twelve years prices of everything have gone up,” Hamann said.

That cap is $25,000 in gross sales; at best, you’re profiting around $10,000 a year.

“Most of us don’t necessarily want to start a brick-and-mortar bakery at this point in our lives, it’s not something that’s viable for us right now, whether it’s for personal reasons or kids at home, or you know, it’s a huge expense to start one,” Hamann said.

She also wants to change labeling laws, so people don’t have to publish their name and home address -- just an ID number linked to a private voluntary database.

“I myself have had people walk in through my front door not realizing it’s my residence as well not just a storefront where they can come in and get cookies,” Hamann said.

Hamann testified in front of the house agriculture committee recently to support her bill with Midland Representative Annette Glenn.

Over the next couple weeks, legislators will discuss various points and verbiage of the bill and make minor changes.

It’ll then go to the house agricultural committee for a vote to get to the house floor.