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.
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.
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.
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
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.
If the processor has a private water source, they must get it tested and approved.
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 9/19/2018
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.
- Cabinet for Health and Family Services
- For general inquires and to request an application
Food Safety Branch
- Job Title
- Extension Professor, Food & Nutrition Specialist
- University of Kentucky
- [email protected]
Sandra Bastin, PhD, RD, LD
- March 2003
- HB 391