For many years, only Kentucky farmers could sell homemade food, leaving it as one of the last states without a basic cottage food law. But that changed in 2018 when the law was amended (HB 263) to make it available to everyone.
With this law, home-based processors can make many types of non-perishable foods and sell them directly to consumers within the state. Indirect sales (through retail stores, restaurants, etc) and shipping products are not allowed.
Processors can sell up to $60,000 of products per year, and they must register with the health department for $50. No inspection or food safety training is needed.
Those who want to make higher-risk canned foods, like acidified foods and low-acid canned foods, can do so as a home-based microprocessor.
The only types of syrups that are allowed are maple syrup and sweet sorghum syrup.
You cannot touch candy with your bare hands.
If you want to sell low-sugar, low-acid, or acidified canned foods (e.g. canned tomatoes, low-sugar jams, green beans, salsa, BBQ sauce, pickles, etc), and you grow the primary ingredient in them (e.g. you grow the tomatoes for canned tomatoes), you can become a home-based microprocessor.
Honey and whole eggs have their own exemptions, separate from this law. You can sell up to 150 gallons of honey per year, and you can sell up to 60 dozen eggs per week. For more information about labeling and special requirements, see the Farmers Market Manual.
You can sell homemade pet food in Kentucky, but you must register (and pay an annual fee) and follow special labeling requirements.
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 12/4/2021
NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)
You can find more information about product labels in the labeling requirements guide.
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 workplace requirements in Section 3 of 902 KAR 45:090.
- Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
- (502) 564-7181
- 275 E. Main St. HS1CF
Frankfort, KY 40621
- For general inquires
Food Safety Branch
For many years, Kentucky’s cottage food law was only available to farmers. In 2016, Jennifer Lopez started a petition to try to change the law, which ultimately happened in 2018. She describes the process on Episode 16 of the Forrager Podcast.