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cottage food community


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 11/28/2015

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Job Title
Principal Secretary
Food Science & Technology, University of Tennessee
201A Food Science & Technology Building
2510 River Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4539
Contact Nancy about food safety training
Law Dates
May 2012
SB 3547
This page was last updated on


    You can sell to a nonprofit, as long as they are not reselling your goods. If they want to resell, I’d recommend you contact the ag dept for more info.

I live in Johnson City. What, if any, tax information do I need to consider? Only wanting to sell vegetable, herbs, vegetable plants, and farm eggs.

    You probably don’t need to worry about the cottage food law to sell those items, and you may not need a permit at all. You should talk to the ag dept about what’s required to sell them in your area. There may be restrictions for eggs. At the very least, you will need to report your income on your yearly tax return.

I’m starting a dog bakery business only online but i will also be selling homemade pet shampoo too, where do I get my homemade products tested in Tn before selling them? And the cost ? Knoxville area.

I have been looking for answers everywhere and I thought maybe you could help me or point me in the right direction. I am a home owner and have been thinking about putting one of those little houses next to my house to see candy, drinks and things of that nature just to little kids and young adults. Basically, I want to know do I have to get a license for that, can I sell out of one of those little storage houses if its on my property, where do I go to find out the info to all my questions?…I am so lost but I am trying to find my way…lol thanks for any and all help you can give me…

    You do need to get a license, but I’m not sure which one. This probably is also a zoning issue, so you may not be able to do it, depending on where you live. If you are selling commercially-prepackaged food, it would probably be easier to accomplish. You should contact the ag dept to learn about setting up your business.

I am in the Nashville area. I make cake pops. Sell to the public but not on a regular. Do I need a lisence because I make and sell out of my house? I take orders and delivery by word of mouth.

Hi David, my husband and I are planning to relocate to Nashville in the next year or so. Under the Tennessee Cottage Food law, if someone wants to hire me to bake cookies (not custom, just cookies off a menu) for their wedding, and they/their representative will be picking the order up at my home, is that acceptable, or is that considered catering? What if I deliver the cookies to the wedding venue? I understand that many cakes for weddings fall under catering and require a license, but what about cookies? Thank you in advance for your help.

    Usually I associate catering with serving food on-site at an event. The potential prohibition for made-to-order items comes from this training page, and I think I saw that info on one other page as well when I researched this state a couple weeks ago. To be honest, considering a delivered made-to-order wedding cake to be catering makes no sense to me, which is why I said that those may not be allowed. If those aren’t allowed, then I don’t see why your non-custom cookies would be allowed, and then it makes me wonder what would be allowed! As you can see, I’m confused too. :)

    I’d recommend you contact the health dept to try to clear things up, and if you learn anything, please let me know!

Hello! Great info. We are moving to Clarksville, TN soon. Under the Cottage food law am I required to have a separate kitchen with a locking door since I have a pet? Would this kitchen need to be inspected?

    Hi Did you ever find out the info you were seeking about Clarksville, Tn, did you have to get an inspection of your kitchen by the environmental part of the health dept. I did find out that if you take in less than $3000 a year you are not required to get a city or county license. If you are just in county you need a $15 business license fee and if you are in city and county it is a $15 fee for both city and county. I am waiting for Clarksville health dept, the environmental dept to call me back as far as inspection. Thanks Roxanna

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