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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

Date of the enactment of the Kentucky cottage food law: House Bill 468 became law on March 27, 2019. The corresponding regulation, 902 KAR 45:090, has also been updated with an effective date of September 9, 2019.

Kentucky lawmakers passed HB468, which further defined who qualifies to be a home-based processor and what products they can make.


  • home-based processors Home-based processors are Kentucky residents who make value-added products in their home kitchens. These Processors can make and sell low-risk foods
  • home-based microprocessors. Homebased microprocessors are farmers who grow and harvest produce to use in their value-added products. Microprocessors can make and sell some types of higher-risk canned foods, like low-sugar jams and acidified foods.

Kentucky Home-based processors

As a home-based processor, you are not required to grow any ingredient in your products.


Registration: Starting January 1, 2020, anyone who wants to become a home-based processor will have to register with the Kentucky Department for Public Health's Food Safety Branch. There is a $50 annual registration fee. To register, home-based processors should submit a DFS-250 Application for Home-Based Processors along with a $50.00 registration fee to the Food Safety Branch. Registrants will receive a physical proof of registration valid until March 31. Once you are registered, a renewal invoice will be mailed to you each year. You can get the Kentucky Home Food Processor Applications here from the Food Safety Branch or from the UK Extension Service

Where you may sell: Processors may sell these products throughout the state at farmers markets, certified roadside stands, community events, fairs, festivals and from the home-based processor's home.  You can only sell your products within Kentucky .Kentucky types of Home Processors

Who and how you can sell to: Home-based processors cannot mail or ship products to customers, and they cannot sell products to restaurants, grocery stores, wholesale distributors or any other retail outlet for further sale.

Labeling: Products must be properly labeled and include the common name of the product, name and address of the home-based processing operation, net weight (or volume) or numerical count, date processed, ingredient list and allergy information. Processors must list all ingredients in descending order on the label and include the sentence, "This product is home-produced and processed" in 10-point type. You can see a Kentucky Food Labeling Guide here.

Sales limit: You cannot earn an annual gross income of more than $60,000 from product sales.

Allowable foods to make and sell

This law also limits the types of foods home processors can make. . Home-based processors cannot process foods that require refrigeration or freezing. They must be shelf stable. Allowable foods include:

  • Whole fruits and vegetables
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables
  • Mixed greens
  • Fruit jams, jellies and preserves (this does not include low and/or no sugar varieties and pepper jellies)
  • Fruit butters
  • Sweet sorghum syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Bread
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Candy (no alcohol)
  • Fruit pies
  • Pecan pies
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Dried grains
  • Nuts
  • Granola
  • Trail or snack mix
  • Popcorn with or without added seasonings


Quick Reference Chart at right

  1.  Products manufactured commercially may only be sold with an additional Mobile Retail Sales permit from the Local Health Department. Home-based products DO NOT require this additional permit.
  2.  Only cultivated mushrooms of recognized safe species may be marketed. No mushrooms that have been gathered in the wild may be sold in any form. 3. Candy cannot contain alcohol or made using bare hands for homebased processor.
  3. This chart is provided for your quick reference. It is NOT intended to be the final say on what is allowed or not allowed. The KY Food Safety Branch has final authority on allowed products.


Home-based processors must comply with the standards outlined in 902 KAR 45:090 to maintain basic hygiene, cleanliness, and sanitation while producing, packaging, and handling home-based products. Homebased processors shall:

  • Regularly wash hands with soap and water;
  •  Keep kitchen equipment and utensils used for home-based processing clean and maintained in a good state of repair;
  •  Wash, rinse, and sanitize all food contact surfaces, equipment, and utensils used for food preparation before each use;
  •  Keep children under age twelve (12) and pets or other animals out of the kitchen during home-based processing related activities;
  •  Cease performing any domestic activities in the kitchen, such as family meal preparation, dishwashing, or washing and drying laundry; and
  •  Not produce, package, or handle any home-processed products while infected with a contagious disease or illness.

Labeling Guidelines

The following shall be included on the label:

  • the name and address of the home-based processing operation;
  • the common or usual name of the food product;
  • the ingredients of the food product, in descending order of predominance by weight;
  • the net weight or net volume of the food product;
  • allergen information as specified by federal labeling requirements;
  • nutritional labeling as specified by federal labeling requirements (required if any nutrient content claim, health claim or other nutritional information is provided);
  • the following statement printed in at least 10-point type in color that provides a clear contrast to the background label: "This product is homeproduced and processed"; and the date the product was processed.

Questions and more information:

If you have questions about registration, fees, allowable products or labeling, contact the program coordinator for home-based processing at 502-564-7181. Additional information is available at the (COUNTY NAME) Extension office.

Also see Kentucky Home Bakers website

Commercial Food Manufacturing Permit: If a homebased processor wants to make products not listed under the homebased processing category or if a microprocessor wants to sell products from additional locations such as grocery stores, gift shops, across state lines or over the internet, a commercial food manufacturing permit is required. Products manufactured under this permit must be made in a permitted or certified kitchen that meets commercial food manufacturing requirements. A home kitchen cannot be used. For more information on obtaining a Commercial Food Manufacturing Permit, visit the Kentucky Food Safety Branch website or contact the Food Safety Branch, 502-564-7181.

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

Kentucky Home-based microprocessors

Homebased microprocessors are farmers who grow and harvest produce to use in their value-added products.

Microprocessor allowable foods to make and sell

Homebased microprocessors are allowed to make higher risk products such as

  • canned tomatoes,
  • pickled fruits,
    pickled vegetables, such as (sauerkraut or cucumber pickles),
  • salsa,
  • barbecue sauce,
  • pepper jelly or herb jellies,
  • vinegars,
  • low or no sugar jams and jellies, and
  • pressure canned vegetables.


  • Homebased microprocessors are required to grow a predominant ingredient in the products they make.
  • Homebased microprocessors cannot have a gross annual income over 60,000 (sixty thousand dollars) from the sale of their products.
  • Homebased microprocessed products can only be sold from three locations within Kentucky: the processor's farm, a Kentucky Registered farmer's market, or a certified roadside stand.
  • The first step to becoming certified as a homebased microprocessor is to attend a Homebased Microprocessor (HBM) workshop presented by the University of Kentucky. The cost of the workshop is $50.00.
  • Next, recipes for all products to be sold under the program must be submitted to the University of Kentucky for approval, at a fee of $5.00 per recipe. Proof of workshop completion, approved recipes, draft labels for all products, and verification of an approved water source are then attached to the application for HBM certification and sent to the Department for Public Health Food Safety Branch. There is a $50.00 fee for this certification each year.

Questions should be directed to Annhall Norris at 859-257-1812 or .

If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage Food:

Don't give up. You may still be able to make and sell it commercially, through a startup approach.

First, you may be able to rent space in a local licensed commercial kitchen.

Second, if that doesn't work, you may be able to get a co-packer to make the food for you.

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.


Take the ServSafe® training classes for Manager and employees, the 7th Edition Book that accompanies this course should be purchased here.. 

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 inspections 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

  • Allergens: 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.

More resources:

Questions? Contact Information:

Food Safety Branch (DPH)


Phone:(502) 564-7181.

275 E. Main St. HS1CF

Frankfort, KY 40621.