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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 9/28/2016


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Resources

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Comments

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.

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.

Hello,

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

Hello,

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,

Curt

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