How to Start an Herb Business in Minnesota

This is an overview of the steps involved in starting an herb business in Minnesota:

  1. Form an LLC under the business name you pick (we charge a total of $620 for this)
  2. Obtain an EIN number for the LLC: EIN at the IRS
  3. Visit the Zoning Department at your city hall to ensure that you can conduct your business at your location
  4. Visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practice (OCAP) to determine what licenses and requirements are involved in preparing and selling your herbal products: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/hop/ocap/
  5. Visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to determine if any other licenses or requirements are involved in preparing your food products
  6. Determine if you need to collect sales tax and, if so, obtain a state sales tax number: http://taxes.state.mn.us/business_taxpayers/pages/index.aspx
  7. If you have employees, obtain workers compensation insurance
  8. Ensure that your food label complies with FDA regulations: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/default.htm
  9. Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in the specific requirements for selling herbs nationwide, including FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requirements: Michael H. Cohen
  10. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practice (OCAP) will explain the following requirements to you:

Your business may be considered an “unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practitioner” under Minnesota Statutes § 146A. 01 subd. 6. All unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practitioners must provide their clients with a client “bill of rights. ” Among its provisions, the bill of rights must include (1) the practitioner’s name, complementary and alternative health care title, business address, and telephone number; (2) the practitioner’s degrees, training, experience, or other qualifications regarding the complementary and alternative health care being provided, and (3) this statement in bold:

“THE STATE OF MINNESOTA HAS NOT ADOPTED ANY EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING STANDARDS FOR UNLICENSED COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONERS. THIS STATEMENT OF CREDENTIALS IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. Under Minnesota law, an unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practitioner may not provide a medical diagnosis or recommend discontinuance of medically prescribed treatments. If a client desires a diagnosis from a licensed physician, chiropractor, or acupuncture practitioner, or services from a physician, chiropractor, nurse, osteopath, physical therapist, dietician, nutritionist, acupuncture practitioner, athletic trainer, or any other type of health care provider, the client may seek such services at any time. ”

The client is also entitled to a brief plain language summary of the theoretical approach used by the practitioner (§ 146A. 11). The law creates the Office of Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practice in the Minnesota Department of Health. The office investigates complaints and takes and enforces disciplinary actions against all unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practitioners for violations of prohibited conduct. It also serves as a clearinghouse on such practices (§ 146A. 02)

11. Consider joining an organization for herbal sellers: http://www.minnesotanaturalhealth.org/

This of course is merely an overview of the steps for starting an herb business in Minnesota. For advice specific to your situation, which may include additional steps, consult with an attorney.