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

Cottage Food Law

Kentucky’s law for home-based microprocessors is only for those who want to sell acidified foods, low-acid canned goods, or low-sugar jams & jellies.

To sell other types of homemade foods, Kentucky has a law for home-based processors, which is much less restrictive than this one.

In order to use this law for home-based microprocessors, the producer must be a farmer, or must grow the primary ingredient in their canned foods (for instance, someone who grows tomatoes could use this law to sell salsa).

Microprocessors can only sell their canned goods on their farm, at farmers markets, or at certified roadside stands in the state. There is a $60,000 annual sales limit, and they must register with the health department ($50), take a training course ($50), and get each of their recipes approved ($5/recipe).

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

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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-perishable foods.

Canned, pureed baby food is not allowed.

For more detailed information about allowed foods, see 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 $60,000 per year

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 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.

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
  • Approved recipes
  • List of all food products
  • Draft labels for each product (see the labeling guide)
  • Water source approval
Kitchen Inspection

You must get a kitchen inspection at least once every 4 years.

Private Water Source Testing

If you use a private water source, you must get it tested and approved. You can find more information on this fact sheet.

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)

Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy

Produced on 5/20/2024

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.

You can find many workplace requirements in 902 KAR 45:090.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Job Title
Extension Specialist
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food & Environment
Family and Consumer Sciences Extension
(859) 257-1812
University of Kentucky
102c Erikson Hall
Lexington KY 40506-0050
For general inquires and to request an application
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
(502) 564-7181
275 E. Main St. HS1CF
Frankfort, KY 40621
Law Dates
June 2003
HB 391
March 2019
HB 468
September 2019
902 KAR 45:090

This law 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.

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