A new cottage food law (SB 159) went into effect on June 1st, 2014. Previously, Alabama only allowed homemade food sales at farmers markets, but this law allows direct sales at other venues as well, including sales from home. Cottage food operators must take a food safety training course and are limited to $20,000 of sales per year.
It’s possible that Alabama’s previous law is still in effect, which would allow for unlimited sales of most non-perishable foods at state-sanctioned farmers markets.
All sales must be direct to the final consumer. Products may be delivered, but only the cottage food operator may deliver the product.
Sampling of homemade food is not allowed at certified farmers markets, so it is unlikely that it would be allowed at other venues.
You must take a basic food handler course before starting your business. One option is to take the online ServSafe food handler course for $15, but there are other nationally-accredited courses that meet this requirement. The ACES also provides in-person cottage food courses for $25.
Contact your county health department to request a review form. The form will be used to check a sample label, approve your products, and ensure that you took a food handler course.
Sales tax must be charged when selling at a certified farmers market. It’s possible that sales tax is required for all sales at any venue. Check with state, county, and city tax authorities to determine how much tax to charge.
Check with your county or city to determine if you need to get a business license.
No license from the health department is required, but you should check with your planning division to see if there are any local requirements.
To sell at a state sanctioned farmers market, you must get a business license and all necessary city, county, and state privilege licenses. The costs and zoning requirements vary depending on location.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, AL 73531
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Regional Extension Agents
- Job Title
- Standardization Officer
- Alabama Department of Public Health