How to Start a Home-Based Food Business in Alabama

by Melinda Gaines; Updated September 26, 2017

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

About the Author

Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.