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cottage food community


In 2012, Tennessee updated their home-based food laws to exempt home producers from needing to get licensed or inspected.  Under the new ruling, processors can sell directly from almost any location, which excludes indirect sales like restaurants and retail stores.  Operations may still get inspected and permitted under the older domestic kitchen laws, which would then allow them to sell indirectly.

Tennessee’s laws are fairly flexible, and producers can sell baked goods, candies, jams and jellies, or any other non-potentially hazardous food.  Also, there is no limit to how much they can sell, and there are no fees or costs to get started.  While there is no training required under this amended law, the Department of Agriculture still encourages processors to take a food handling course.


At the place of sale, the processor must place 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).

Processors are allowed to give out free samples of their product.

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


Even though there is no license or training required, processors are still encouraged to take a training course in food handling and have an authority check their 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 8/30/2015

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Law Dates
May 2012
SB 3547
This page was last updated on


    Not necessarily… I’m not sure if mail orders are allowed, but I am sure that interstate sales are not allowed. You can call the ag dept for more info.

I’m planing to start a food truck business in the next few years, would I be allowed to make cookies/cakes in my home kitchen and sell them from my food truck?

Just moved to Tn from Ca recently and would like to know what I would need to do to be able to make baked goods (cupcakes, muffins, cake pops ect) in my home and then possibly take them to places like farmers market to sell. Also, I can sell out of my home to customers with their own special orders? Or is that a no no?

Can people in the state of Tennessee cook hamburgers and hotdogs and sell them on their property

    I’m not sure if you can sell online, but I’m fairly sure that you can’t ship your products, so any online sales would need to be delivered in-person, if permitted. You should call the ag dept about this.

Lately, a lot of children’s lemonade stands have been shut down due to specific laws. Can my children set up a lemonade stand at our garage sale or will it be shut down? We are in Knox County, TN

    Yes, it’s been in the news. Most of the time, police officers turn a blind eye to these little businesses, but technically, they’re illegal.

I make a cake that has liquor poured on top of it. Is this allowed out of a cottage kitchen. Would I need to get an ABC license?

    I don’t know, but you probably need a special license. It might also not be possible to sell an alcoholic good under this law… I recommend you contact the ag dept to ask about that.

I was researching making cakes and selling them by the slice, packaged in a clear plastic container, by placing them on display at local “ma and pop” restaurants that don’t have much in the way of a dessert menu. It is my understanding from reading here that I cannot sell them in this manner. However, would it still be against the rules if I were to sell them in the same packaging/display, but technically I would rent the table space within the restaurant, and therefore would still be selling them to the public myself instead of selling them to the restaurant? And would that mean I would have to be present in order to have them for sale, or could I fill my table and leave?

By the way, TONS of great info here. Thank you for your hard work!

    No, you cannot sell homemade cakes in that way, even if you sat at the table the whole time. Restaurants, by law, cannot offer homemade food in their facility. You would need to get a commercial license and use a commercial kitchen (possibly theirs) to produce your cakes.

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