Attention: Food Producers

If you sell food to the public, you fall into one of several categories:

  • Onsite consumption = concessions, which is regulated by the Hamilton County Health Department and requires mobile food permits (among other details). Nothing significant has changed here, and we have been tracking permits and compliance for several years now.

  • Farms harvesting fresh produce fall under the TNDA, and generally do not require any permits provided there has been no modification/processing of the harvested product (ie, shucked peas = processing, requires additional permits).

The final two categories involve all other forms of packaged or processed food manufacturers.

  • if you prepare your foods in a commercial kitchen, then you must have a TNDA Manufacturer’s Permit. This permit entities you to a broader range of eligible products, but also requires more inspections, costs, and compliance aspects. Many of our vendors have this, and it’s definitely the safest approach.

  • if you do not have a TNDA Manufacturer’s Permit, then you are operating under the cottage laws which have been further updated as Food Freedom laws. These products can not be made in a commercial kitchen - they must be produced in a home kitchen. Further, the types and kinds of products produced are restricted, and require special labeling.

If you are operating under the Food Freedom guidelines, please review this document and verify that every aspect of it is being met. Online Link Here

I’m not going to read you the entire document, but a few things to point out, which I am certain some of our past participants would no longer be compliant towards (without some updating/changes to operations):

  • Products shall not contain meat, poultry, fish, or whole eggs.
  • Finished product shall not require refrigeration for safety.
  • Foods prepared under Tennessee Food Freedom Act are not
    approved to be used in a food service establishment
  • Intrastate sales only – products shall only be sold within Tennessee

Additionally, there are new labelling requirements under the Food Freedom Act:

  • Producer name
  • Home address and phone number
  • Common name of food
  • Ingredients in descending order of prominence
  • Sub-ingredients must be declared for any ingredient
    containing more than one ingredient itself.
  • Required Disclaimer:
  • “This product was produced at a private residence that is
    exempt from state licensing and inspection. This product may
    contain allergens.”

If you plan to sell food products at any of our markets under the Food Freedom Act, make sure that your labels are current and that we know the entire list of products you will be selling (email us a list of those items). We will be inspecting all items moving forward, and all items not in compliance will be immediately pulled from sale.

It is your responsibility to maintain awareness and compliance with all laws in the State of Tennessee, as this is where you are conducting business. And please consider this post as a helpful reminder – I promise you that State Inspectors will also be onsite this season, and our bark is a lot kinder than their bite. Do the right thing, stay compliant with this very generous expansion of the cottage laws, and you will be in good shape.


Where does honey fit into this?

Honey requires TNDA involvement:

In addition to registration requirements, your processing would fall into one of the two categories above based in the type of kitchen facility used. You are either in a commercial facility,or you are not.

Where does cotton candy fit into this?

Cotton candy is on-site concessions, correct?

Can be made on-site or made and brought to market

1 Like

Then you are answering your own question. Regardless of what occurs, the requirements fall into the categories listed above. We verify compliance based on your chosen path.

Do GA vendors need to go through the State of Tennessee and obtain Tennessee permits?

1 Like

Out of state vendors must also comply with Tennessee laws, as you desire to conduct business within the State. For the most part, there is a lot of reciprocity between GA and TN. But there are also exceptions.

I suggest you first determine how you would fit into the guidelines above, if you resided within the state. Then you can decide what potential issues you might have by being out of state. I further suggest that you chat with both your local health/agriculture people, as well as the individual listed on the TNDA document above with your specific products and situation.

I’ve never seen or heard of a situation where a hundred people descend upon your home for asking honest questions in an effort to do the right thing - these agencies have proven to be very helpful over the last two decades. So be honest with them, and ask them for suggestions. Their job and purpose is to help you manufacture local foods in a safe manner - so they really want for you to succeed.

As do we.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 10 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.