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Q: Can I sell at my products at a local store hosting a local vendor fair?

 A: No. This would not be considered a community event since it is at a private retail shop. Cottage food producers cannot sell in a retail store, even if you are present for the sale or vendor fair. Farmers' markets and craft fairs are considered community events.
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Q: Why aren’t home-canned white peaches or nectarines allowed as a cottage food product?

A: Home-canned white peaches and nectarines were added to the Minnesota cottage food list  as 'not allowed' when the list was updated in June 2021. As we learn more about food products and evidence, they are high-risk food items or ones that do not meet the pH or water activity parameters they are added to the food list as not allowed.  Recent research revealed varieties of white-flesh peaches and nectarines have a higher pH (lower in acid) than traditional yellow varieties. The natural pH of white peaches or nectarines can exceed 4.6, making them a low-acid food for canning purposes and a potentially hazardous food, therefore not allowed as a cottage food product. Additionally, there is no tested low-acid pressure canning processes available for white-flesh peaches or nectarines, nor a researched acidification procedure for safe boiling water canning.  The good news is that yellow-flesh peaches or nectarines may be safely home-canned. They have a natural pH higher than 4.6, th

Q: Can I use tapioca starch to thicken BBQ or hot sauce?

A: No. To make barbecue (BBQ) or hot sauces, tomatoes are combined with spices, vinegar, and various other ingredients and blended until smooth. The mixture is simmered to reduce the volume and thicken the product which takes about 1½ to 2 hours with frequent stirring. You may want to skip the lengthy simmering step and use a thickener instead. Unfortunately, thickening home-canned or jarred sauces with tapioca, cornstarch, or flour, may be a safety risk. The use of tapioca, cornstarch or flour as the thickener in home-canned or jarred sauces is an outdated and risky method. Botulism is not a major risk with BBQ or hot sauces because of the high acid content. However, using cornstarch, flour or tapioca may cause the sauce to be too thick for the heat to penetrate to the center of the jar and kill spoilage organisms throughout the product, which is a food safety issue.  There is a safe alternative to thicken home-canned or jarred sauces called Clear Jel®. Regular Clear Jel® is made to

Q: Are pumpkin or squash preserves allowed?

  A: No. Pumpkin and squash preserves are not an allowable cottage food product. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable with a pH hoovering around 5.0. and cannot be safely canned in the boiling water bath process.  Currently, the USDA nor National Center for Home Food Preservation have any tested recipes to recommend for safely canning pumpkin preserves (jams, jellies, conserves, or pumpkin butter) and then storing them at room temperature. These pumpkin products must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and treated the same as fresh pumpkin therefore are not an allowable cottage food product. Source:  Home-Preserving Pumpkins . National Center for Home Food Preservation. 2015. 

Q: Can cottage food products cross state borders?

  A:  Acid and acidified canned foods (such as pickles, salsa, sauerkraut, BBQ sauce) cannot cross state borders due to federal restrictions on interstate movement of these foods. Minnesota's Cottage Food Law includes language requiring that acid and acidified canned products be made in Minnesota.  Baked items, dried items, high-sugar items like fruit-based jams and jellies, and other low water activity items allowed as cottage foods can cross state borders if both states' laws are followed: the state where the product is made, and the state where the product is sold. A producer bringing baked or other low water activity foods into Minnesota from another state must be registered with the MN Department of Agriculture as a MN Cottage Food Producer. Source: Jane Jewett, Associate Director, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, September 8, 2021