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Selling Homemade Food in Kentucky

People love fresh-baked cookies and cakes right out of the oven, but selling homemade food in Kentucky was illegal for anyone who did not own a farm. That changed in 2018 with the passage of Kentucky House Bill 263, supported by the Institute for Justice. Now, any Kentucky resident may produce and sell many types of food in their home kitchens without permit or registration. The new law imposes no revenue limit, and home-based business owners may sell their food at a wide variety of venues, including online to buyers within Kentucky. 

Kentucky cottage food types

Many states regulate “cottage food,” meaning food made in a home kitchen for sale. Kentucky allows the sale of home-baked good like cookies and cakes, along with dried or freeze dried fruits and vegetables, mixed greensjams, jellies, fruit butters, candypies, dried herbs and spices, dried grains, nuts, granola, popcorn and other snacks. The Family & Consumer Sciences Extension at the University of Kentucky’s School of Human Environmental Sciences provides a more detailed list of allowable Kentucky cottage foods… 

Kentucky cottage food facts

Myths about cottage food abound. Here are the facts: 

  • Cottage food is safe. Critics who talk about the risk of food-borne illness give hypothetical examples of what could go wrong because real-world cases are rare or nonexistent. 
  • Cottage food is local. When neighbors trade with neighbors, money stays in the local economy. 
  • Cottage food is transparent. People who buy from a cottage food producer know what they get. If they have questions about ingredients, sourcing or safety, they can ask.
  • Cottage food creates jobs. Many homemade food producers use their income to provide for their families. Others seek a secondary or supplemental income. 
  • Cottage food empowers women. IJ cottage food research shows that most cottage food producers are women, and many live in rural areas with limited economic opportunity.
  • Cottage food expands consumer choice. Some stores simply don’t sell what you want. This is especially true if you have a gluten-free, peanut-free, halal, kosher or vegan diet. Cottage food fills market gaps, giving consumers more options.

Kentucky cottage food resources 

As part of its Food Freedom Initiative, the Institute for Justice provides a variety of resources for home bakers and other food entrepreneurs. These include: 

Selling Homemade Food in Kentucky

Kentucky cottage food resources:

  • Kentucky Home Bakers: Check out the Kentucky Home Bakers website to learn more about the Kentucky cottage food law, how you can get involved, and learn tips of the trade from fellow cottage food producers.

Tell your Kentucky story

Is government violating your homemade food freedom in Kentucky? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here… 

Support Kentucky legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in Kentucky by teaming with the Institute for Justice. Send an email with your name, background information and availability to get started… 

Defending homemade food freedom nationwide 

People have a right to earn an honest living without arbitrary and excessive government interference. Since 2013, the Institute for Justice has defended home bakers and chefs as part of its Food Freedom Initiative. Read about IJ’s nationwide food freedom advocacy…

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All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes, regulations, and processes are subject to change at any time, and specific facts and circumstances could alter how they are applied. If you have questions about the regulation of cottage foods in your jurisdiction, we recommend consulting a lawyer who can help you navigate the process. 

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