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Kentucky Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Kentucky

Kentucky Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

Kentucky Home Bakers petition for Cottage Food LawsDate of the enactment of the Kentucky cottage food law: N/A, None

Kentucky, along with Delaware and Rhode Island) is one of the most restrictive states in the country with regard to cottage food sales. Cottage foods include known safe items made in average kitchens, including jams and jellies, cakes and breads, doughnuts and candies. Only commercial kitchens, food businesses and the commercial growers may sell low-risk canned foods like jams and jellies, and other low risk foods like baked goods, cakes breads, doughnuts and candies. Essentially, the average non-farm individual has no option as a cottage food producer in Kentucky. See this newpaper story on the subject.

Also see Kentucky Home Bakers website and consider signing the group's online petition 

The remainder of this page applies to Farmers, Commercial Kitchens and Food businesses.

Which foods are subject to the 2003 Kentucky Food Processor law?

  • home-based processors Processors can make and sell low-risk foods that contain as a primary ingredient something they grow.
  • home-based microprocessors.Microprocessors can make and sell some types of higher-risk canned foods, like low-sugar jams and acidified foods.

If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage Food, you may still be able to make and sell it commercially, through a startup approach.  See this page for detailed information about selling foods that do not meet the Cottage Food definition.


  • A processor does have to register for the program, but there are no fees involved.
  • microprocessors must pay for registration ($50), take a training course ($50), and get their recipes approved ($5/recipe).

Labeling requirements

Cottage Food Production Operations must label all of their food products properly, which include the following information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale:

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

Sales may only be made at

  • farmers markets listed with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture,
  • certified road stands listed with the Kentucky Farm Bureau, and/or
  • from the processor's farm.

Other requirements

  • Processors have no limit on how much they can sell.
  • Microprocessors have a sales limit of $35,000 per year for their products.



Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and reducing liability suggests you should do the following.

Testing of pH

​It's best to use a pH meter, properly calibrated on the day used. I use this one, which is reliable and inexpensive. And this pH meter is really good, but isn't always available.
Short-range paper pH test strips, commonly known as litmus paper, may be used instead, if the product normally has a pH of 4.0 or lower and the paper's range includes a pH of 4.6.

Record-keeping is suggested

Keep a written record of every batch of product made for sale, including:

  • ​Recipe, including procedures and ingredients
  • Amount canned and sold
  • Canning date
  • Sale dates and locations
  • Gross sales receipts
  • Results of any pH test


Although iInspections are not required, you should consider doing the following:

  • ​Use clean equipment that has been effectively sanitized prior to use
  • Clean work surfaces and then sanitize with bleach water before and after use
  • Keep ingredients separate from other unprocessed foods
  • Keep household pets out of the work area
  • Keep walls and floors clean
  • Have adequate lighting
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair to keep insects out
  • Wash hands frequently while working
  • Consider annual testing of water if using a private well

Best Practices

  • Allergans:  Most state home baking acts require an "ingredient statement" and/or an "allergen listing" on the label of the bakery item for sale; but if your state does not, you should anyway. The eight major food allergens are
    • milk,
    • eggs,
    • fish,
    • crustacean shellfish,
    • tree nuts,
    • peanuts,
    • wheat and
    • soybean.
  • Cross-allergenicity: There are also ingredients available, even flours, that can cause a cross-allergenicity. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology explains cross-allergenicity as an allergic reaction when proteins in one substance are similar to the proteins found in another substance. For example, consumption of lupine flour may trigger an allergic reaction to peanuts, and cricket flour may trigger an allergic reaction to shellfish. Again, providing such information might be a beneficial marketing tool and help keep potential consumers safe.
  • The 2 Hour/4 Hour Rule -  Anyone wishing to make and sell refrigerated bakery items should remember to follow the "2 Hour/4 Hour Rule." This is a system that can be implemented when potentially hazardous foods are out of temperature control (temperatures greater than 45 degrees Fahrenheit) during preparation, serving or display for sale. The rule guidelines are as follows:
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for 2 hours or less, then it may continue to be used or be placed back in the refrigerator.
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for more than 2 hours but less than 4 hours, it needs to be used quickly or discarded.
    • If a potentially hazardous food has been out of temperature control for more than 4 hours, it must be discarded.

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