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June 13, 2014

A.J. Watson
(334) 613-4219

Alabama’s cottage food law, SB 159, which allows for non-hazardous foods to be sold at a person’s home, went into effect June 1.

“Passage of SB 159 opens the door for producers to have an additional revenue source,” said Mac Higginbotham, director of horticulture for the Alabama Farmers Federation. “Farmers have been selling fruit and vegetables directly to the public from the farm, at farmers markets and roadside stands. Now they can expand to offer additional products to customers. This new opportunity, combined with proper food handling, can lead to some great products for the public to enjoy."

According to the USDA, farmers markets have more than doubled in the last 10 years. That success has spurred some processors to sell food out of their homes, hence the name cottage food business.

Although the bill provides another revenue option for farmers, it caps annual gross sales at $20,000, which used to be unlimited. Producers must also take a ServSafe class and register with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Items producers can sell in-house include baked goods, such as cakes and pies that require no refrigeration; canned jam and jelly; diced herb mixes; and candy.

Contact county Extension offices for additional information about operating under the new law. To view SB 159, click here.

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