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

Kentucky is different than most other states, in that it only allows farmers to sell, including individuals that grow the primary ingredient of their product. In addition to the laws not being open to anyone, they also restrict sales to farmers markets, roadside stands, and the processor’s farm.

Despite those limitations, the law is otherwise flexible. There are two forms of home-based businesses: processors and microprocessors.

Processors can make many types of low-risk foods that contain a primary ingredient that they grow, and there is no limit on how much they can sell. The processor does have to register for the program, but there are no fees involved.

Microprocessors can make certain types of higher-risk canned foods, like low-sugar jams and acidified foods. However, there is a sales limit of $35,000 per year for these products, and microprocessors must pay for registration ($50), take a training course ($50), and get their recipes approved ($5/recipe).


Sales may only be made at farmers markets listed with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and certified road stands listed with the Kentucky Farm Bureau, or from the processor’s farm. Products may not be marketed or sold outside of these three locations.

Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods

Home-based processors can produce standard fruit jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butters. However, by going through some extra registration steps, home-based microprocessors can produce non-fruit or sugarless jams/jellies, as well as acid foods, acidified food products, and/or low acid canned foods (examples: canned tomatoes, green beans, corn, salsa, barbeque sauce, pickles, chutney, etc).

Canned, pureed baby food is not allowed.

For more info about allowed foods, see the table on page 59 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


There is no sales limit
For home-based processors
Sales are limited to $35,000 per year
For home-based microprocessors that produce certain types of canned goods


Home-Based Processor Registration

Farmers must register with the KCHS Food Safety Branch to become a home-based processor, and the registration must be renewed annually. There is no fee to register.

Home-Based Microprocessor Registration

To sell certain types of canned goods, farmers 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
Home-Based Microprocessor Workshop

To sell certain types of canned goods, farmers must complete the University of Kentucky Home-Based Microprocessor Workshop, which costs $50 and is good for 3 years.

Recipe Approval

To sell certain types of canned goods, farmers must get approval for each recipe of their more risky items (low-sugar jams, acidified foods, etc), which costs $5 per recipe. Recipes can be submitted online or mailed.

Private well testing

If the processor has a private water source, they must get it tested and approved.


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 12/14/2018

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


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

Foods for the business must be kept separate to those for residential use.

The local health department may inspect the kitchen of a processor annually, but it is not a requirement.



Food Safety Branch

Cabinet for Health and Family Services
For general inquires and to request an application

Sandra Bastin, PhD, RD, LD

Job Title
Extension Professor, Food & Nutrition Specialist
University of Kentucky
[email protected]
Law Dates
March 2003
HB 391

This page was last updated on

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Starting July 14, 2018 everyone will be allowed to be a home-based processor and bake non-potentially hazardous foods from their home kitchens in Kentucky. The law however, did not change for home-based microprocessors. The rules for microprocessors are still the same, and are restricted to farmer’s only. Check out my website that has all the updates and links to the new law. Thanks!

Keep an eye on Ky Cottage Laws…. Home Bakers have just walked through the House and are headed to the Senate! Very favourable outcome if (WHEN) this goes all the way!

    If you give the cake away and do not charge for it, that is legal. If you are selling raffle tickets, you may want to contact your local health department for clarification. My first thought would be no since there is money involved.

As of today, there are people actively trying to change this restrictive, outdated law.

“ok so here goes from the meeting: He said for the August meeting we need to focus on the why more than the “specifics” of the proposed bill. We need to explain why there needs to be a change. Once we convince them that there is a need for the change then and only then do we worry about the specifics. So that being said he suggested we put together presentations for the meeting in August that shows our work and tells our story of why we need this. Please we need you to not remain silent. Please email/message me your stories of why you want this bill changed. I am going to put them all together and use them in the presentation. Send me pictures of your work, letters from your “clients” of why they are behind you on this. Tell them your story. The more people we have at the meeting in August the better it is for us. Help support us. The meeting will be in Graves County on August 29th. If you can attend to show support that is awesome but just as important we need your input so please step up and send me your stories the more the merrier. you can email them along with your pictures to [email protected]

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