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A new cottage food law (SB 159) went into effect on June 1st, 2014. Previously, Alabama only allowed homemade food sales at farmers markets, but this law allows direct sales at other venues as well, including sales from home. Cottage food operators must take a food safety training course and are limited to $20,000 of sales per year.

It’s possible that Alabama’s previous law is still in effect, which would allow for unlimited sales of most non-perishable foods at state-sanctioned farmers markets.


All sales must be direct to the final consumer. Products may be delivered, but only the cottage food operator may deliver the 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


Sales are limited to $20,000 per year

Sampling of homemade food is not allowed at certified farmers markets, so it is unlikely that it would be allowed at other venues.


Food handler course

You must take a basic food handler course before starting your business. One option is to take the online ServSafe food handler course for $15, but there are other nationally-accredited courses that meet this requirement. The ACES also provides in-person cottage food courses for $25.

Review form

Contact your county health department to request a review form. The form will be used to check a sample label, approve your products, and ensure that you took a food handler course.

Sales tax

Sales tax must be charged when selling at a certified farmers market. It’s possible that sales tax is required for all sales at any venue. Check with state, county, and city tax authorities to determine how much tax to charge.

Business license

Check with your county or city to determine if you need to get a business license.

No license from the health department is required, but you should check with your planning division to see if there are any local requirements.

To sell at a state sanctioned farmers market, you must get a business license and all necessary city, county, and state privilege licenses. The costs and zoning requirements vary depending on location.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, AL 73531


Click on a county to find an ACES regional extension agent in your area

Phyllis Fenn, BS

Job Title
Standardization Officer
Alabama Department of Public Health
[email protected]
Law Dates
April 2009
Home Processed Rule Change
June 2014
SB 159
This page was last updated on


I’ve purchased an old antique shop in front of our home and want to take baked goods down to sell along with the antiques. Would this be considered a Roadside Stand??

The online exam link posted is incorrect for the county extension office of Colbert County. I’m not sure how it is for the whole state of AL, but I paid for the $15 online course & exam & was just told that it isn’t accepted for Colbert County, AL. The extension office informed me that I will have to pay $25 for their exam & take it in person or over the phone to get my certification. Just letting anyone know so they can check with their extension office so they don’t waste $15.

I want to make and sell healthy (read food and no chemicals) homemade dog treats to local businesses. What do I need to start selling my healthy dog treats?

If you have a website for other things you sell, would it be allowed to advertise only your cottage items on the website?

I’m not trying to start an uproar or a movement, but I am curious as to how any fruit stands and other little stands get away with selling boiled peanuts.
One would believe those could make a person much sicker than cookies could if not properly kept.

    Do these same rules apply if meals were prepared for the consumer in their own residence by me?

    Do these same rules apply if meals were prepared for the consumer in their own residence by me? I haven’t gotten a reply from the first time I asked!

Where do I go to take the class? I’m in Calhoun county alabama. I need a number & address, please.

Thank you

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