Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

What tribal people should know about Montana’s Cottage Food Law

By Naomi Robinson
Char-Koosta News

Corrie Williamson, AERO Outreach Director, meets and greets with participants in a workshop recently held in Arlee.  The Alternative Energy Resources Organization educated local cottage food producers about the new Cottage Food Law of Montana and how it can be applied on and off the reservation. (Naomi Robinson photo) Corrie Williamson, AERO Outreach Director, meets and greets with participants in a workshop recently held in Arlee. The Alternative Energy Resources Organization educated local cottage food producers about the new Cottage Food Law of Montana and how it can be applied on and off the reservation. (Naomi Robinson photo)

ARLEE — The Cottage Food Law enacted on October 1, 2015 is the first food law of Montana. It defines what cottage food is and how it can be sold by the producer. Although enacted with the idea of protecting consumer and seller, tribal members need to know a vital detail that is not in the law.

Tribal members who create and sell a cottage food product for retail needs to register with the county if they are selling on non-trust property. A tribal member selling on trust property only needs to register with Tribal Sanitarian Fred Steele.

Non-tribal members need two separate licenses to operate within the reservation if selling on Tribal trust property and county property. Non-members would have to register with the Tribal Sanitarian and the Tribal lands program, and if selling in a farmer’s market, the individual would need to register with the county that they are selling in.

According to Ed Evanson of the DPHHS Food and Consumer Safety Section, the law also allows greater flexibility for temporary and mobile food establishments. For example, mobile food operations, who often provide food at seasonal events such as summer fairs, will be held to a consistent standard, pay an annual fee to the state, and be allowed to operate in any jurisdiction of Montana without additional permits or licenses. “This new law creates more consistency from county to county and makes it easier for temporary and mobile food establishments to operate,” he said.

Steele, advises “All vendors providing food service at our events such as the powwows, whether they are tribal or non tribal, must fill out an application with the Tribal office, and are subject to our jurisdiction. This applies since they are on trust property.”

Advertise with us!
Share
submit to reddit
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious