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Tennessee

Cottage Food Law

In 2012, Tennessee updated their home-based food laws to make it much easier for cooks to sell their homemade food. Although a license or inspection from the ag department is no longer required, producers can only sell in-person at certain venues. However, sellers may still utilize the older domestic kitchen law if they want to sell indirectly to restaurants or stores.

Producers can sell an unlimited amount of non-PHF baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, or other similar items. While no training is required under this amended law, the Department of Agriculture strongly encourages sellers to take a food safety course.

Selling

At the place of sale, you must display a regular (8.5″ x 11″) sheet of paper that says “These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected” (0.75-inch font).

You can give out free samples of your products.

The law isn’t clear about whether online sales are allowed, but it is clear that all products need to be handed to the customer in-person. You can definitely sell online if you become licensed under the domestic kitchen law.

Made-to-order goods (like birthday cakes, wedding cakes, and custom cookies) may fall under catering and be regulated by the health department, in which case, they would not be allowed under this law. Contact your local health department to learn if you can produce them from home.

Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Allowed Foods

Prohibited Foods
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

Limitations
There is no sales limit

Honey sales are limited to 150 gallons per year (TCA 53-1-102-29). If you produce more than that, you need to use a licensed and inspected facility.

Business

Even though there is no license or training required, you are still encouraged to take a training course in food handling and have an authority check your recipes.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was made in a private home not license or inspected"


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, TN 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 10/24/2020


NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)


Resources

Contacts
Job Title
Principal Secretary
Organization
Food Science & Technology, University of Tennessee
Email
naustin@utk.edu
Telephone
865-974-7011
Fax
865-974-7332
Address
201A Food Science & Technology Building
2510 River Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4539
About
Contact Nancy about food safety training
Law Dates
May 2012
SB 3547

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Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Comments

We use honey and fruit to make carbonated soda in Tennessee. We sell on person at our market vending table. Do we need a certified kitchen? What about selling in person in other states?

I would like to sell steak at a farmers market. What steps and licenses will I need. In the meantime can I hand out free samples and sell the marinade?

I currently bake under the Texas Cottage Food laws in Houston but will be moving to the Chattanooga TN area later this summer. I exclusively make decorated sugar cookies. Will I still be able to continue my business in TN?

    If you make customized sugar cookies for clients, then this law might not apply. I think you will need to get licensed through the health dept and use a commercial kitchen, but you should contact them to make sure.

I’m interested in giving out (not selling) breads and possibly other non-PHF foods to people in Chattanooga, TN. Do you know of any laws prohibiting this or have any resources on limitations or legality?

    Usually, it is not legal to give away food to the public unless you have a license to sell it, because it still poses a health risk to the public. You can ask the ag dept if this would be allowed.

Do I need to charge sales tax for cakes I bake that are direct to consumer via my home based bakery in the state of TN? Thanks!

I currently live in TN and plan on going to some local festivals and selling some crafts and homemade barbeque sauce. Is that ok under TN cottage laws? Thank you.

I’m interested in baking pies for sale to individuals out of my home kitchen. I do not want to go the the domestic kitchen route. Are pies consisted as catering? I would be making custard based and meringue topped pies, there was a question as to pies. Any thoughts

Hello! First, this website is great! SO much useful information and a great time saver in research. My question is: In my state of TN, sauces are not approved for easy resale. The product that I’m looking to sell is an oil made only with dried spices and sugar. I believe this item is non-perishable and would be not considered a “sauce.” Thoughts?