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Cottage Food Law

Arkansas created a cottage food law in 2011 (Act 72), and it was amended in 2017 (Act 399) and 2019 (Act 775).

This law is somewhat limited, since it restricts allowed food to non-PHF foods in five categories (baked goods, candy, jams/jellies, fruit butters, and chocolate-covered fruit), and only allows direct sales from home and at farmers markets, fairs, and events. Indirect sales (retail stores & wholesale) and most online sales are not allowed.

However, it is very easy for producers to get started, since the health department does not register or inspect these businesses. There is no sales limit, so producers can sell as much as they want.

2017’s amendment added chocolate-covered fruit to the list of allowed foods, and enabled sales through online farmers markets. 2019’s amendment enabled producers to setup a temporary “pop-up shop” at retail stores and other businesses, but only if sales are made in person.


“Events” only refers to county fairs and special events.

You can also sell in a “pop-up shop” in another business, like a grocery or retail store. This means that you can setup a table or stand in a store (on a temporary basis) to sell your products. However, you must personally be present for each sale, and the health department may inspect your kitchen. Indirect sales, such as placing your items on a grocery store shelf, are not allowed.

Most online sales are not allowed, but you can sell your products through an online farmers market. Typically, an online farmers market is a website that is run by a physical farmers market, where products from multiple vendors are listed for sale. You cannot sell online in other ways, such as through your own website or via social media.

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Allowed Foods

You can only sell honey, maple syrup, and sorghum syrup at farmers markets, farm markets, and temporary festivals or celebrations, and you must produce them yourself.

You can sell a limited amount of whole eggs at farmers markets, but you must follow additional rules.

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


There is no sales limit


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This Product is Home-Produced" (10-point type)

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, AR 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)


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Starting a cottage food business?


Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)


Hi I have a couple of questions. I realize I cannot sell anything online. But can you do a website where customers can yes the products then contact me for a direct sell. Other words there would no check out button and no place to put credit card info. Just set thru email, phone or messenger. I see candied apples are not allowed but what bout caramel apples. Thank you diana

Hey, David. I live in Arkansas and I was going to start selling cookies. I understand that I can’t put pecans or peanuts in my cookies. I noticed that those are prohibited for sale or does that mean only when sold separately? Also, I thought about making my own granola bars and selling them, but than I noticed that dried fruit is not allowed. Does that mean it’s not allowed to be sold separately or am I allowed to sell raisin granola bars or oatmeal raisin cookies?

    As long as your items are thoroughly baked, they should be allowed. You should definitely be able to add nuts to your cookies. As for the granola, you likely can use dried fruit, but I would check with the health dept first. Please keep in mind that you would need to use commercially-produced nuts and dried fruits in your products.

I’m afraid I’m not understanding why coffee beans are not allowed to be sold at farmers markets. Would you know the reasoning for this, David?

    I agree that there is no good reason. The only “reason” is because that was not added as a category when the bill was created. And the reason it likely wasn’t added, is because the bill was probably made to be intentionally limited and simple to make it more likely to pass. In other words, if it had allowed more food items, it may have been more complex and taken longer to pass, or may have never passed. Hopefully a future amendment will allow all non-PHF foods to be sold.

    So my understanding is if it is not listed it is illegal? Would that principle not violate the Ninth Amendment which states “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. ” basically affirming the existence of such “unenumerated” rights outside those expressly protected by the Bill of Rights.
    I thought laws had to give a specificity of what is legal and illegal, not just an all encompassing “If we don’t say you can do it , it is illegal” ?
    Perhaps someone with more legal knowledge can help me understand this.
    Thank you

Who do you need to contact to start a cookie business. Can you explain events better as to what this actually means? This also means no sales and shipping. Sorry new to this and trying to learn and understand better the rules.

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