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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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Fruit jams, jellies and preserves (this does not include
low and/or no sugar varieties and pepper jellies)
Sweet sorghum syrup
Candy (no alcohol)
Dried herbs and spices
Trail or snack mix
Popcorn with or without added seasonings
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;
- Not produce, package, or handle any home-processed products while infected with a contagious disease or illness.
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 Virginia Hamilton, program coordinator for
home-based processing at [email protected] or 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
The remainder of this page applies to microprocessors: Farmers, Commercial
Kitchens and Food businesses.
Kentucky Homebased microprocessors
Homebased microprocessors are farmers who grow and harvest produce to use in their value-added products. Homebased microprocessors are
allowed to make higher risk products such as canned tomatoes, pickled fruits and vegetables, salsa, barbecue sauce, pepper 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 [email protected] .
If your food product does not meet the definition of a Cottage
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
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
- certified road stands listed with the Kentucky Farm Bureau,
- from the processor's farm.
- Processors have no limit on how much they can sell.
- Microprocessors have a sales limit of $35,000 per year for
Beyond the requirements, common sense, good practices and
reducing liability suggests you should do the following.
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.
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,
- 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
- 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
- Wash hands frequently while working
- Consider annual testing of water if using a private well
- 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
- crustacean shellfish,
- tree nuts,
- wheat and
- 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
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