How to Start a Home-Based Food Business in Alabama

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Many entrepreneurs looking to start a food business question whether they can start one from home---most people are prohibited from doing so in their area. However, Alabama is one of the few U.S. states that allows home-based food businesses. Whether you want to sell cakes and pastries or canned preserves made at home, you can do so in Alabama with the proper permits and certifications.

  • Determine where you will cook meals for those living in your home---you will not be permitted to use your home-based kitchen to prepare food for anyone or for any purpose other than commercial use. If you have room, you can build another kitchen for residential use in your home.

  • Ensure the kitchen you will use for your business is closed off from all living areas of the home by a solid door. This includes dining, living and laundry rooms.

  • Contact the Alabama Department of Environmental Management at 334-271-7714 to see what your options are for waste disposal. Most food businesses accrue solid and/or liquid waste, and you can't simply dump waste into your kitchen sink or flush it into the toilet. Improper disposal of waste could lead to fines.

  • Obtain a Food Processing Permit from your local county health department or call the Alabama Department of Public Health at 334-206-5175. This permit is required to produce food in your home and sell it to the public.

  • Obtain a food handler card from your local county health department. They will also be able to provide you with a list of state-approved food handler courses and providers.

  • Purchase food safe, FDA-approved containers and packaging for the food you make. You can purchase these items wholesale from a company such as Nashville Wraps or Vegware.

  • Call your local county health department and request an inspection---you will need to be inspected before you can start preparing food in your home-based commercial kitchen. The inspector will check for sanitation, proper food storage and ensure that your kitchen is separated from the living areas in your house by a solid door.

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