Experiences Involving Food in Detroit
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, make sure you take your guests to (or otherwise serve them food from) reputable restaurants, food trucks, or professional caterers who keep clean facilities, use fresh ingredients, and have a good food safety track record. If your experience involves you cooking or handling food (including storing or serving food prepared by others), be sure you handle, prepare and serve food safely and with good hygiene. We encourage you to review the USDA’s tips for handling food safely. Also ask your guests in advance about any food allergies they may have, or religious or philosophical codes that may impact what kind of food they eat.
I’m a foodie. What kind of food experiences can I provide in Detroit?
The following food experiences are unlikely to trigger any regulatory issues:
- Taking your guests to your favorite local restaurants or food trucks;
- Inviting your guests to your home or a picnic where you serve food that is cooked in a licensed facility (for example, take-out from your favorite local restaurants, food catered by a professional licensed caterer).
If you are thinking of serving home-cooked food, please carefully read our home-cooked food guidance and check with an attorney to make sure you are following your local laws.
I want to serve home-cooked food to guests visiting my home. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
The key question is whether serving home-cooked food in your private home to occasional guests qualifies as a regulated activity under the Michigan Food Law (“MFL”).
According to the MFL, any “operation” that serves or sells food to the public is a “food service establishment” and should be permitted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (“DARD”).
DARD has provided guidance that “the word ‘public’ is key” to the definition of a food service establishment. “If an operation does not service the public, it is not a food service establishment and is not subject to licensure or compliance with law.” DARD also advised that Chef-at-home businesses (when a person cooks for paying Guests in homes) are not required to be licensed in the State of Michigan unless they are also selling prepared food to take home, cooking supplies, or other products. This suggests that:
- A Host can hire a personal chef to cook for a private party of guests who book in advance without getting a license, or
- A Host can cook and serve food in a private home to guests who book in advance without getting a license.
That said, this is a tricky area and we encourage you to call DARD directly or speak to a lawyer to describe your Experience or Trip to make sure you are correctly interpreting this guidance and are following your local laws.
In addition, it is clear that if the food you are serving is a Cottage Food, you can serve it to your guests.
If you partner and host with a nonprofit a food experience and donate all fees to that nonprofit, it may fall under the non-profit exemption of Michigan’s Food Law.Cottage Food
The Michigan Food Law was amended in 2010 to expressly clarify that specified non-perishable Cottage Food products can be legally sold (both inside and outside the home) by cooks without a permit as long as certain requirements are met.Co-Hosting home cooked meals with a non-profit
Hosts may be able to provide home-cooked meals for guests by hosting an event with a non-profit organization and donating all proceeds from the meal to the non-profit organization. The MFL exempts non-profit entities serving home-prepared food as part of a fund-raising event from the definition of a “food establishment.”
While the exact meaning of this exemption is not clear, it can be interpreted to mean that if Hosts partner with a nonprofit to host a food experience and donate all their proceeds from that experience to the non-profit, they can do this without a license. If you want to host a dinner party in your home by partnering with a non-profit, we encourage you to speak to an attorney to make sure you are following the law.
I’m a great cook. Can I give cooking lessons for a fee to my guests?
If you want to teach a cooking lesson in a private home, please carefully read the section on home-cooked foods and speak to an attorney to make sure you are following your local laws.
Alternatively, you may consider giving a cooking lesson on Cottage Foods. From time to time, Airbnb may also partner with select non-profits who may either provide licensed food facilities for hosts or may otherwise sponsor a food related event.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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