Since this page was last updated, Alabama has greatly improved their cottage food law with a new bill (SB 160).
As of August 1st, 2021, cottage food producers can now sell most non-perishable foods, and can sell their products online and ship them within the state. Also, the sales limit was removed.
Most of the information below still applies to cottage food businesses.
Alabama created a cottage food law (SB 159) in 2014. Previously, this state only allowed homemade food sales at farmers markets.
This cottage food law is relatively restrictive. It allows direct, in-person sales of many non-perishable food items. Cottage food operators must take a food safety training course and are limited to $20,000 of sales per year.
It is 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.
Delivery is allowed, but you must personally deliver your products.
Candied or roasted pecans are not allowed.
Sampling of homemade food is not allowed at certified farmers markets, so it is unlikely that it would be allowed at other venues.
You must take a food safety course approved by the Alabama Department of Public Health every 5 years. The ACES provides in-person cottage food courses for $25.
After taking your food safety course, you must submit this form along with a sample label and your course certification.
Sales tax must be charged when selling at a certified farmers market, and it may be required at other venues as well. Check with your state, county, and city tax authorities to determine how much tax to charge.
You do not need a license from the health department, but you should check with your planning division to see if there are any local requirements before starting your business.
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.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This food is not inspected by the Department of Public Health
Forrager Cookie Company
123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, AL 73531
You can find many workplace recommendations in this food safety guidance document.
- Click on a county to find an ACES regional extension agent in your area
Regional Extension Agents
- Job Title
- Standardization Officer
- Alabama Department of Public Health