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Tennessee

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.

Selling

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

Limitations

Limitations
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.

Business

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.

Labeling

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 7/27/2016


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Resources

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Comments

I’m wanting to sell infused chocolate covered strawberries and cupcakes out of my home. What is the requirements and do i need liquor license in the state of Tennessee?

    I don’t think chocolate-covered strawberries are allowed, with or without alcohol, so you might need a commercial kitchen or a special license to prepare those for sale. There is probably also a license for selling alcohol-infused items, but I’m not familiar with those requirements, so you should contact the health dept for more info. It’s possible that you wouldn’t be able to sell any of these items if they’re homemade.

I am interested in selling flavored and infused simple syrups out of my home (and possibly locally on Facebook and/or at farmer’s markets). Would I have to use a commercial kitchen or could I do this out of my home? I don’t see syrups on the acceptable list nor the prohibited list.

Any information or advice would be appreciated!!

    It’s possible that this law covers syrup, but I’m not sure about that, which is why it’s not on the allowed list. You should contact the ag dept about this.

Hi there! I have read so much conflicting information. Under the Cottage Law in TN am I allowed to make birthday cakes from home? I wouldn’t be delivering them. I have read over the actual Cottage Law of TN signed by Bill Haslam what seems like a million times and I can’t find anything that says that any made-to-order goods would be considered catering and require anything more. Thanks so much in advance!

    There used to be clearer info about this online, so perhaps they are more lenient now. That info comes from some of the training resources for TN’s domestic kitchen law, which states that made-to-order cakes constitute catering and fall under the health dept’s oversight. Since the ag dept manages this law, that’s why I said that made-to-order cakes may not be allowed, and you should contact your health dept for more info. As I said, there used to be a document that spelled it out more clearly, but this is now the only resource I know of that eludes to it: http://extol.tennessee.edu/newsltr-email/DKT-announcement.htm

We are entertaining making complete meals to sell through the church, gym, and daycare centers. Where would this fall in the law?

Hello David,

How can I find out how to make my fried pies and sell them? As long as they do not have meat or cheese or cream etc I do not have to refrigerate them; is that correct? So, a peach fried pie would be fine to sell locally.

If someone is selling prepackaged dip mixes made in another state (from New Jersey), labeled in TN and then sold to anyone in GA, is that legal?

    You would need to go the commercial kitchen route to make that legal. It shouldn’t matter where it’s labeled, but the dip mix needs to be processed in a commercial kitchen in NJ by a certified food processor.

My question to you is 1. I would like to start selling my jam on a website( which I do not have running yet), I have told by many friends, family, neighbors etc that it was so good I should start selling it. Could you please advise on what I should do first?

Thank you!

Rhonda Chaffin

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