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Alabama Can you legally sell food from home in Alabama?

Cottage Food Law

Alabama created a cottage food law (SB 159) in 2014. Previously, producers could only sell non-perishable homemade food at farmers markets.

In 2021, an amendment (SB 160) greatly expanded the list of allowed foods, removed the sales limit, allowed online sales, and allowed in-state shipping.

Alabama allows direct sales of almost any type of non-perishable food, and there is no sales limit. Producers cannot sell indirectly (e.g. in grocery stores, restaurants, wholesale), but they can ship their products within Alabama or hire someone to deliver for them.

Before selling, a producer needs to take a basic food safety training course and get approved by their local health department.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

In addition to being able to ship your products, you can also have an “agent” (someone who works on your behalf) deliver your products.

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Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Prohibited Foods

If you want to sell acidified foods, like pickles, you must send them to an authority (like the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service) to get pH tested.

If you want to sell freeze-dried foods, you must send them to an authority (like the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service) to get tested for water activity.

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 How will your home food business be restricted?

There is no sales limit

Business What do you need to do to sell food from home?

Food Safety Course

You must take a food safety course, like Learn2Serve’s food handler training course, which costs $7 and can be completed online in a couple of hours.

Another option is to take ACES’s course, which is specifically tailored to cottage food producers in Alabama. You can watch the training videos for free, but the exam fee is $25.

Business Review

You must get approved by your local health department before starting your business.

The applications and fees vary by county, but usually you will need to submit:

  • Proof of your completed food safety training
  • A sample label
  • A list of the products you intend to sell

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This food may contain allergens and is not inspected by the Department of Public Health (10-pt type)


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, AL 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)


If you don’t want to put your home address on your labels, you can use a P.O. box instead.

Workplace Are there any home kitchen requirements?

You can find many workplace recommendations in this food safety guidance document.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Department
Department of Public Health
Contacts
Department
Alabama Department of Public Health
Organization
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Law Dates
April 2009
Home Processed Rule Change
June 2014
SB 159
August 2021
SB 160

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Comments

Does anyone know if, as a cottage baker, you have to report your sales and baking equipment as assets to your local Revenue office. I received a letter stating that I have to list and report the things(equipment) that I use in my baking. Keeping in mind I do not have a bakery business. I just bake cookies in my personal kitchen for friends and family.

I want to sell meat jerky online as a home based business, It says I cannot do this with a cottage food permit, how do I get the information I need to do this business

So I can bake cakes and sell to individuals that pick them up or that I deliver to only if they do not have an icing that has to be refrigerated, correct? To do that, do I have to take the food safety course?

So basically anything that requires refrigeration cant be sold.? I juice and make small 16 oz smoothies for myself in mason jars. I create salads in a mason jar, so If I juiced and delivered the same day it’s still a no?

It says pepper jelly is not included, but what about using dried chile? And if not alone, can I add it to a fruit for heat?

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