Home-Based Processing In Kentucky

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The Law

We get many questions about home-based processing, and how it impacts the average home baker. What are the rules?

The best place to find out what the law states is by reading the current law, which can be done HERE

The Basics

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.

When we helped in the creation of House Bill 263 it only made two simple changes to Kentucky’s existing “Cottage Food” law that was from 2003. These changes were consistent with what is already allowed in most states. The bill was passed unanimously by the Kentucky House and Senate. HB 263 was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin on April 2, 2018. Since then, House Bill 468 was filed and as an emergency is now law as of March 27, 2019. House Bill 468 added more foods that are allowed to be sold, along with a few extra restrictions on home-based processors such as an income cap and registration with the health department.

  • First, the law allows for anyone to be a home-based processor, not just farmers.

  • Second, it expands where these foods can be sold. The updated 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, are prohibited. Items must be sold directly to the consumer.

  • “Home-based processor” means a person who in his or her home, produces or processes non-potentially hazardous foods, including but not limited to dried herbs, spices, nuts, candy, dried grains, whole fruit and vegetables, mixed-greens, jams, jellies, sweet sorghum syrup, preserves, fruit butter, bread, fruit pies, cakes, or cookies and who has a gross income of no more than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) annually from the sale of the products.

  • Please be advised that canning is still not allowed under the new law, unless you are a farmer and follow specific guidelines.

What Is A Home-Based Processor In Kentucky?

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.
A Home-based processor means a person who in his or her home, produces or processes non-potentially hazardous foods, including but not limited to:
  • whole fruit and vegetables
  • mixed-greens
  • jams
  • jellies
  • sweet sorghum syrup
  • preserves
  • fruit butter
  • bread
  • fruit pies
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • dried herbs
  • spices
  • nuts
  • candy
  • dried grains

And who has a gross income of no more than sixty thousand ($60,000) annually from the sale of the products.

Registration With The Health Department

As part of House Bill 468, home bakers will now be required to register with the health department.

  • No later than January 1, 2020, the cabinet shall develop and implement a registration system for home-based processors.

  • Beginning January 1, 2020, a home-based processor shall be registered with the cabinet and include the following information:

    • The name of the home-based processor and the physical address where production or processing will occur

    • A listing of the food products to be produced or processed

    • Apply with this FORM

Labeling Your Baked Goods

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 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.

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


Please see our page Labeling and Allergens for more information.


Where You Can Sell

You may NOT sell across states lines. If you sell online, the sales must be in the state. We get this question a lot, and below is the wording that is in House Bill 468:

“Food products that may only be offered for sale directly to consumers within this state, including from the home-based processor’s home, whether by pick-up or delivery, at a market, roadside stand, community event, or online. These food products may be used in preparing and serving food.”

Yes, There Is A Difference Between A Processor and 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 foods, but not limited to acid foods, formulated acid food products, acidified food products, or low-acid canned foods, and who has a gross income of less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) 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: http://fcs-hes.ca.uky.edu/homebased_processing_microprocessing/ (Note, that this page is not updated with the changes of HB263).

Kentucky’s One Stop Business Portal, has all kinds of information for anyone wanting to bake and sell beyond a hobby!

  • https://onestop.ky.gov/start/Pages/default.aspx
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.