Skip to main content

Alabama

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.

Selling

Delivery is allowed, but you must personally deliver your products.

Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

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

Limitations

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.

Business

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.

Labeling

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

Workplace

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

Resources

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

Phyllis Fenn, BS

Job Title
Standardization Officer
Organization
Alabama Department of Public Health
Email
phyllis.fenn@adph.state.al.us
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?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Comments

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??

    Is the shop currently in business? That may make a difference. If not, as long as you are selling there directly, I think it would be allowed. I still recommend that you contact your health dept about this.

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?

    You should be able to get a license from the health dept to start your business. There are usually a number of steps involved in starting a commercial food business.

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.

    Well the first possibility is that they may be illegally selling them. But also, some of the southern states do allow the sale of boiled peanuts without a license. I can’t remember right now if Alabama is one of them.

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

Thank you