How Will House Bill 263 Impact You?

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We get many questions about House Bill 263, and how it will impact the average home baker. What are the rules?

The best place to find out what the law states is by reading House Bill 263, which can be done here:

Home-based food processors — Exemption from permit requirement and fair packaging and labeling laws — Production, labeling, and sales of home processed food products — Inspections.

**Please note:  At this point, all the regulations are still in the air about home-based processing, such as what foods can and can’t be sold outside of what is listed in the bill. Our team at The Institute for Justice talked to the Governor’s office, and they are completely rewriting the first draft of the regulations. For instance, they expect there will be no regulations on well water. The next draft will come in by mid August, and our team from the Institute for Justice will have an opportunity to comment on the regulations. There are no regulations as of yet. If anyone is given a hard time by the department, for instance selling dried herbs which was okay under the previous regulations, email me at and I will get you in touch with the lawyer at the Institute for Justice. – Thank you, Admin.

After you read the bill come back here and we will lay out the basics.

The Story of HB263

House Bill 263: An act related to home-based food products. This bill was filled on January 29th, 2018 by Representative Richard Heath. House Bill 263 unanimously passed the House and Senate. On April 2nd, HB 263 was signed by Governor Matt Bevin. You can read the full bill HERE. This law took effect on July 14, 2018! That means you can make non-potentially hazardous foods from your home kitchen in Kentucky!!

What Does House Bill 263 Do?

The new law does NOT require bakers to buy a permit, be inspected, or pay a fee. If you have questions about starting a home-based baking business, we suggest contacting an accountant on how to best do that for your situation.

House Bill 263 makes two simple changes to Kentucky’s existing “Cottage Food” law. These changes are consistent with what is already allowed in most states. This bill was passed unanimously by the Kentucky House and Senate. HB 263 was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin on April 2, 2018.

  • First, HB263 allows anyone to be a home-based processor, not just farmers.
  • Second, it expands where these foods can be sold. The new law allows sales anywhere that is directly to a consumer within the state, including out of a home (whether by pickup or delivery) and online. Wholesales, such as to grocery stores and restaurants, would are prohibited.
  • HB 263 does not change the existing safety protections in place under the 2003 law.
  • HB 263 also does not change the foods that can be sold. Only non-potentially hazardous foods (meaning foods that are shelf-stable and do not require refrigeration) can be sold. Examples are cookies, syrups, and jam to name a few.
  • Please be advised that canning is still not allowed under the new law, unless you are a farmer and follow specific guidelines.

What Does Home Baking Mean?

  • Home baking is just that: baking goods, such as cookies, cakes and muffins, in a home kitchen. Home kitchens can legally be businesses in the United States, with the exception of New Jersey, & Rhode Island. (Find out about New Jersey Here.)

What Is A Home-Based Processor In Kentucky?

A Home-based processor means a person who in his or her home, produces or processes:

  • whole fruit and vegetables
  • mixed-greens
  • jams
  • jellies
  • sweet sorghum syrup
  • preserves
  • fruit butter
  • bread
  • fruit pies
  • cakes
  • cookies

If you bake or sell an item that is not listed we have been told that it would not be allowed under the law.

What Is The Difference Between A Processor And A Microprocessor?

See the above question for the definition of a home-based processor. The new law only allows home-based processors to bake from home kitchens without being a farmer. We originally asked for microprocessors to be included in the bill, but that was removed with the House Committee. To be a home-based microprocessor, you are still required to be a farmer.

  • The definition of a home-based microprocessor is: “Home-based microprocessor” means a farmer who, in the farmer’s home or certified or permitted kitchen, produces or processes acid foods, formulated acid food products, acidified food products, or low-acid canned foods, and who has a net income of less than thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) annually from the sale of the product.
  • “Certified” means any person or home-based microprocessor who:
    Has attended the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service’s micro-processing program or pilot micro-processing program and has been identified by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service as having satisfactorily completed the prescribed course of instruction; or has attended some other school pursuant to 21 C.F.R. sec. 114.10.
  • “Farmer” means a person who is a resident of Kentucky and owns or rents agricultural land pursuant to subsection (9) of KRS 132.010 or horticultural land pursuant to subsection (10) of KRS 132.010. For the purposes of KRS 217.136 to
    12 217.139, “farmer” also means any person who is a resident of Kentucky and has grown the primary horticultural and agronomic ingredients used in the home-based micro-processed products which they have produced; and
  • The UK College of Agriculture and Food Environment has a helpful page for anyone interested in micro-processing: (Note, that this page is not updated with the changes of HB263).

Labeling Requirements For Home Based Processors In Kentucky

Kentucky Home Bakers Labels on Zazzle

A home-based processor shall label each of its food products and include the following information on the label of each of its food products:

  • 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 and volume of the food product by standard measure, or numerical count.
  • The following statement in ten (10) point type: “This product is home
    produced and processed”; and the date the product was processed.
  • Food products identified in KRS 217.015(56) and not labeled in accordance with subsection (3) of this section are deemed misbranded.

After a little research I found the example below for labels on Forrager. If say you do a modified cake recipe and add a “Cake Mix”, you will have to add the word “Cake Mix” (with probably the brand name). Then in parenthesis put the ingredients that are in the cake mix. This also applies to butter or even your vanilla extract. All ingredients in an ingredient must be listed on the label for your product.


The example below is from Kentucky’s website, and is based on what the law states for labeling requirements.

Kentucky Home Bakers Labels on Zazzle

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Why Should I Care?

  • Now you can order grandma’s homemade cookies on demand! Home baking businesses can provide additional income to families and pay taxes. Home bakers also have the flexibility to make small batches of goods and cater to food allergies and dietary restrictions. People who live far from traditional bakeries can buy locally. Plus, home bakers are likely to source locally, buying ingredients and supplies from other small businesses.

How Do I Know The Food Is Safe?

  • The types of baked goods we sell are safe and do not need to be refrigerated, like cookies, cakes, and muffins. The new law change allows us to sell these goods as long as our customers know the items were made in a home kitchen. These very same goods can be sold by farmers who grow their main ingredient, so it’s not a question of health and safety. Again, these businesses are legal in 47 states!

Will This Be Bad For Traditional Bakeries?

  • Our businesses are limited by the nature of our business model, so there will still be demand for traditional bakeries. We can only fill so many orders from our home kitchens. It’s not the government’s place to restrict competition, and that’s what the law from 2003 was doing.
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