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Kentucky Microprocessor Can you legally sell food from home in Kentucky?

Cottage Food Law

This state's cottage food law is restricted, so it is not available to everyone!

You can only use Kentucky’s law for home-based microprocessors if both of these apply to you:

If both of those apply to you, see below for more information about becoming a home-based microprocessor. If those do not apply to you (or if they do apply, but you also want to sell other homemade foods), you can use Kentucky’s law for home-based processors to sell certain homemade food items.

This law caters to farmers, and it is a very restrictive one. Microprocessors can make certain types of higher-risk canned foods, and sales are restricted to farmers markets, roadside stands, and the microprocessor’s farm. There is a sales limit of $35,000 per year, and microprocessors must register ($50), take a training course ($50), and get each of their recipes approved ($5/recipe).

Passed in 2003, this was one of the earliest forms of a cottage food law in the United States. Initially, it also allowed “home-based processors” to sell other types of homemade foods, but they also had to be farmers. In 2018, the law was amended to allow anyone in Kentucky to become a home-based processor.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

You can only sell at:

  • Your farm
  • Farmers markets listed with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture
  • Certified road stands listed with the Kentucky Farm Bureau

Your microprocessed products may not be marketed or sold outside of these three locations.

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Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Home-based microprocessors can produce non-fruit or low-sugar jams/jellies, as well as acidified food products, and/or low acid canned foods (e.g. canned tomatoes, green beans, salsa, BBQ sauce, pickles, chutney, etc).

If your product is not a low-sugar, low-acid, or acidified canned good, then you should use Kentucky’s law for home-based processors. Home-based processors can produce standard fruit jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butters, as well as many other non-PHF foods.

Canned, pureed baby food is not allowed.

For more information about allowed foods, see the table on page 76 of the Farmers Market Manual.

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?

Sales are limited to $35,000 per year
You can sell up to $35,000 of low-sugar, low-acid, or acidified canned goods per year. However, you can use Kentucky's law for home-based processors to sell an unlimited amount of other types of homemade food.

This law is only for farmers. To be considered a farmer, you must grow the primary or predominant fruit, vegetable, nut, or herb in your products. For instance, if you want to sell canned tomatoes, you must grow the tomatoes.

You cannot use commercial equipment in your home kitchen, but you can use a commercial kitchen, or build one on your farm.

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

Home-Based Microprocessor Registration

You must register with the KCHS Food Safety Branch to become a home-based microprocessor. There is a $50 annual fee to register. The application must include:

  • Workshop certificate (details below)
  • Approved recipes (details below)
  • Draft labels for each product (details below)
Home-Based Microprocessor Workshop

You must complete a University of Kentucky Home-Based Microprocessor Workshop, which costs $50 and is good for 3 years. You can sign up for a workshop online.

Recipe Approval

You must get approval for each recipe, which costs $5 per recipe. Recipes can be submitted online or mailed.

Draft Labels

Each product must have a draft label included with the application. For more information, see the Labeling section.

Private Water Source Testing

If you use a private water source, you must get it tested and approved. You can find more information on page 73 of the Farmers Market Manual.

For more guidance, follow this step-by-step guide.

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product is home-produced and processed" (10-point type)

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, KY 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)

Produced on 9/23/2021

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)

You can find more information about product labels in the labeling requirements guide.

Workplace Are there any home kitchen requirements?

Your home kitchen can have no more than two non-commercial ranges, ovens, or double-ovens, and no more than three refrigerators.

The local health department is able to inspect your kitchen annually, but they are not required to do so.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Job Title
Extension Associate
Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Food Safety Branch
(859) 257-1812
University of Kentucky
121 Funkhouser Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0064
For general inquires and to request an application

Karen Sloat

Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Food Safety Branch
(502) 564-7181
Food Safety Branch HS1CF
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40621
Information about labeling and general questions
Law Dates
June 2003
HB 391

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