Anyone who has eaten a home-cooked meal at a family gathering in Alabama knows that we have the best food in the world, but before the pandemic, most people were so busy with work that they only had time to prepare their favorite family recipes on holidays and other special occasions.  Amid the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic, many Alabamans rediscovered their passion for home cooking, and others found out for the first time how the kitchen can be a place of calm inside the storm.  Alabamans have also been known for their entrepreneurial spirit and their ability to make lemonade when life gives them lemons, so it is no surprise that many Alabamans, mostly women, who were stuck at home during the pandemic, set about trying to monetize their talents for turning lemons into lemon meringue pie, lemon marmalade, and bright, citrus-flavored spice rubs.  That trouble is that state laws regulating home-based food businesses made it very difficult to operate such businesses during the pandemic, but the good news is that, not only can you now come and go freely from the house where your home-based food business originated, but a new law reduces the restrictions on the sale of foods prepared in home kitchens.  The even better news is that a Birmingham business law attorney can help you get your home-based food business off the ground.

New Law Opens the Door to a Business Boom for Homemade Sweets, Pickles, and Spice Blends

On May 6, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law Senate Bill 160, which changes the regulatory framework for home-based food businesses.  In August, when the law goes into effect, home-based food businesses will be allowed to sell their products online, by phone, and in person and deliver the products directly, by mail, or through third-party couriers.  The businesses will not need to be licensed as commercial kitchens (like restaurants and catering businesses do), but the operators will need to complete a county-run food safety training.  Best of all, the law removes the limit on the amount of income that business owners can derive from home-based food businesses, which means that you are free to live large from the proceeds of your one-woman fudge operation.

The new law only allows certain home-produced foods to be sold online and by mail.  These are the included categories of food:

  • Sweet and savory baked goods
  • Canned jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit preserves
  • Candies
  • Pickles and other fermented foods
  • Spice blends and other shelf-stable foods with dehydrated ingredients

Importantly, the included foods are all relatively non-perishable.  This means that Grandma is all set to monetize her pecan pie, but for the time being, Grandpa still needs a food truck to monetize his barbecue.  But don’t worry, Grandpa.  2021 looks like it is shaping up to be a food truck summer as it is.

Contact Us Today for Help

Before you start seeing dollar signs as you whisk the meringue, don’t forget about details like business taxes and choosing a business structure.  A Birmingham business & corporate litigation lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes as you establish and grow your business.  Contact Cloud Willis & Ellis for help with your case.