Skip to main content


Cottage Food Law

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.

Starting a cottage food business?


Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Allowed Foods

Candied or roasted pecans are not allowed.

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 Safety Course

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.

Review of Label & Food Safety Class

After taking your food safety course, you must submit this form along with a sample label and your course certification.

Sales tax

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.


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


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

Phyllis Fenn, BS

Job Title
Standardization Officer
Alabama Department of Public Health
Law Dates
April 2009
Home Processed Rule Change
June 2014
SB 159

This page was last updated on

Is there something wrong on this page? Please let us know! You can submit changes through this form.

Starting a cottage food business?


Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)


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?