Find a local pick your own farm here!

Looking for Tennessee Cottage Food Laws and Regulations: How to sell your homemade foods in Tennessee in 2023?  Scroll down this page and  follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.  If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page.  Read our disclosure policy to learn more. 

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

Tennessee Cottage Food Laws, Regulations and Facts

Date of the enactment of the Tennessee cottage food law: January, 2007

The law was updated, effective June 17, 2017, see this fact sheet

Which foods are subject to the Tennessee Cottage Food law?

Only foods considered non-potentially hazardous can be made in home kitchens. Non-potentially hazardous foods do not support the growth of harmful bacteria and the processing steps do not require stringent controls to assure a safe product. It should be understood that while these foods are inherently lower risk, it does not mean that they are without risk. They are still prone to cross-contamination from other foods in the kitchen or allergens. Examples of these foods are:

  • Baked goods that do not require refrigeration.
  • Jams, jellies and preserves.
  • Candy.
  • Dried baking or spice blends.

Prohibited foods

. Potentially hazardous food products that cannot be made in a home kitchen include:

  •  Pickled vegetables and eggs.
  • Sauces and dressings.
  • Products that contain meat or poultry.
  • Any food that must be refrigerated.

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


  • "Domestic Kitchen" is a home based kitchen that meets the established requirements herein in order to process non-potentially hazardous foods for sale to the general public.
  • "Non-potentially hazardous foods" are jam, jellies, candy and baked goods that do not meet the definition of potentially hazardous foods.
  • "Potentially hazardous food" are those foods which consist of meat, poultry, liquid eggs and partially cooked egg products, fish, milk and milk products, shellfish, partially cooked bakery products and/or other ingredients capable of supporting rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic micro-organisms when stored at temperatures in excess of 45 degrees F, if a cold food or below 140 degrees F, if a hot food. Also included as potentially hazardous food, are low acid canned foods (vegetables, fish, meat, etc.) and acidified foods (pickled vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, etc.).Sample Tennessee COttage Foods Label
  •  "Unit of sale" is the form of packaging in which the product is normally offered for sale to the consumer (e.g., 1 loaf of bread, 1 dozen cookies, 1 pie [or piece thereof, as applicable], 1 container of jelly, etc.)


There is no Registration, Permit, or License Requirement . This changed with the 2017 amendments. The Tennessee cottage food laws are for those individuals who elect to forgo inspection and permitting - but must meet certain stipulations.

Labeling requirements

All food items packaged in a domestic kitchen must be properly labeled prior to sale. The following, at a minimum, must be present on all food items (Figure 1):

  •  The name, street address, city, state and ZIP code of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.
  •  An accurate statement of the net amount of food in the package in English and Metric units (e.g. ounces and grams)
  •  The common or usual name of the food.
  •  The ingredients in the food in order of predominance by weight.
  •  Lot dates or numbers shall be evident on each package or container of food for traceability purposes in the event an issue occurs that may require a market withdrawal of the food.

A current distribution list including quantities sold may also be of assistance should an incident occur. All labeling shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 21, Part 101. The FDA Food Labeling Guide is a good resource to consult to assure you have properly labeled your product.

Special attention should be paid with respect to clear labeling of the eight major food allergens: milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustacean shellfish. The licensed facility may apply for a Small Business Nutritional Labeling Exemption , if applicable. Tennessee Cottage Food Label Sample

Here is a free Microsoft Word label template which you can download and edit.  These labels are already formatted to fit on Avery Template 22820  Print-to-the-Edge Oval, Labels 2" x 3-1/3", 8 per Sheet, Glossy White. You can get the label stock online (see at right). 

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations sell the food products?

These non-potentially hazardous foods are limited to direct market sales

  • at the cottage food producer's residence,
  • community social events,
  • flea markets and
  • farmers markets

all must be located within the state.

Other requirements

 Other stipulations, such as adherence to good manufacturing practices and product labeling requirements, also must be adhered to


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:

I have not found any contacts, phone numbers or even email at the State of Tennessee for Cottage Foods. It is bizarre... like they do not wish to be reached!