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In 2012, Tennessee updated their home-based food laws to make it much easier for cooks to sell their homemade food. Although a license or inspection from the ag department is no longer required, producers can only sell in-person at certain venues. However, sellers may still utilize the older domestic kitchen law if they want to sell indirectly to restaurants or stores.

Producers can sell an unlimited amount of non-PHF baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, or other similar items. While no training is required under this amended law, the Department of Agriculture strongly encourages sellers to take a food safety course.


At the place of sale, you must display a regular (8.5″ x 11″) sheet of paper that says “These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected” (0.75-inch font).

You can give out free samples of your products.

The law isn’t clear about whether online sales are allowed, but it is clear that all products need to be handed to the customer in-person. You can definitely sell online if you become licensed under the domestic kitchen law.

Made-to-order goods (like birthday cakes, wedding cakes, and custom cookies) may fall under catering and be regulated by the health department, in which case, they would not be allowed under this law. Contact your local health department to learn if you can produce them from home.

Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods
Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more


There is no sales limit

Honey sales are limited to 150 gallons per year (TCA 53-1-102-29). If you produce more than that, you need to use a licensed and inspected facility.


Even though there is no license or training required, you are still encouraged to take a training course in food handling and have an authority check your recipes.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was made in a private home not license or inspected"

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, TN 73531

Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)

Produced on 1/18/2017

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


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David, first of all thanks for this great website lots of info. I know this has been asked but I can’t find a yes or no answer, if I find a commercial kitchen (i.e, Church) to rent to use to produce my candy can I sell online to other states? Thank You!

in Tennessee, if i were to have a dual use live work property, and operated as a home based food processor, may i have a pet, if the property is divided in two – where the pet does not have access to the kitchen and store front…. as apposed to the domestic kitchen where it is plainly forbidden?

My husband and I are looking to start a spanish food business from home start getting clients to then open a small family restaurant, can that be possible? Or what we need to do?

I am starting a catering/food truck business……how do I go about selling my food before I get the food truck in my home to customers?

My daughter would like to sell cupcakes and other small homemade baked goods at a small tractor pull event. Will we need to get a food permit for this? Or just post a homemade sign?

Seem kind of contradictory to say we can’t bake-to-order, when that’s usually what most home bakeries do. I can’t just make a huge batch of cookies and just sell them as the orders come in, that’s how products go bad quickly.

    I think the law was created with the intent of helping small producers who want to take baked goods to a farmers market and sell them there, in which case they’d all need to be made in advance. The law isn’t really intended for a full bakery. However, you should contact the ag dept to see if your cookie business would be allowable from home.

My kids want to start a pickle business…is that possible? I saw that pickles were not allowed, but does that count for a small, small business?

    Yes, it applies to any business, no matter how small. But it’s fairly common for kids to start small businesses like this… for instance, lemonade stands are also illegal.

It says no catering. Does this include baking cookies and stuff from home and then delivering them to a college campus near my house? Or is this different than actually catering an event? I want to develop an app where students can place orders and pay and then hand deliver them hot cookies. -Thanks

    Catering usually involves some element of service or serving the food, but from my research, it looks like the health dept may consider any pre-ordered, made-to-order cookies to be included in catering. Regardless, this law only allows direct sales, so people wouldn’t be able to pay through an app. It might be possible to have people order with the app and then have them pay when you deliver the cookies. You should talk with the ag dept about this business.


I have found this site very useful in answering many of my questions as a start-up Cottage Kitchen small business. I apologize if this question has already been answered in another comment, but I was wondering about my ability to sell infused olive oils as a cottage kitchen. I didn’t see any mention of it on Allowed or Prohibited foods, and since it won’t be infused with a protein or dairy product, I was hoping that it was allowed. Any advice or help is appreciated. Thank you in advance.

– Doug


I am starting by spice business in Nashville, TN. I have 3 spice rubs that I would like to sell. My question is, what do I need to sell online? I know in states like NY you have to have an extra license to display shopping cart buttons on your site. Do you need any kind of license to sell spices online in Tennessee? Also, do you need a license to sell to stores or at a Farmer’s Market?

Any help would be appreciated,


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