Living in France For Members

Reader question: What are the rules for selling food you’ve grown or made in France?

The Local France
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Reader question: What are the rules for selling food you’ve grown or made in France?

If you’ve had a glut of courgettes or tomatoes from your plot, or you want to introduce your neighbours to the joys of a British-style Victoria sponge you might consider selling some food or produce. But you may need a permit first.


Garden produce

Under current regulations, the sale of courgettes, lettuces, tomatoes and other produce from home gardens remains tax-free as long as the surface area of your garden does not exceed 500 square metres, is attached to the home, and the sale of goods is not the main professional activity of the person growing and selling it.

That means, if you’ve had a bumper crop, you are free to sell your excess produce, and you’ll often see little stalls of people selling fruit, veg or honey from their gardens, sometimes with a “honesty box” to leave your money in.

According to the French government, the sale of fruit and vegetables from one's garden falls into the category of “incidental income”. 


If, however, your garden or allotment is separate from your home, income from the sale of crops is taxed as farm income, and you must register as a business – which you must also do if you intend to make growing and selling produce your main source of income.

A smallholders/small farmers regime – micro-bénéfice agricole – is applied if the average income, calculated over three consecutive years, does not exceed €85,800 before tax.

Homemade food

One-off charity bake sales are one thing, but if you want to make and sell cakes or other homemade food for profit, there are specific rules to follow – with fairly hefty punishments, up to and including imprisonment, for failing to respect them. 

One of the first things to do is to declare your activity on the Guichet Unique (One Stop Shop) website and obtain approval if you use any products of animal origin. 

Be aware that you will not get a pitch at a market if your business is not properly registered, complete with a SIRET number and a market trader’s card – known as a carte permettant l’exercice d’activités non sédentaires

The good news is that the card is free from your local chambre de commerce. It just takes a bit of paperwork, and a passport photograph… Then you can make a formal application to the market where you want to trade.

As well as the market trader’s card, you will need:

  • a temporary occupation authorization (AOT);
  • a licence for the sale of takeaway drinks or alcohol, if appropriate;
  • approval from veterinary services, if you’re selling cooked meat-based foods. Professionals must also submit a declaration of handling of foodstuffs of animal origin to the direction départementale chargée de la protection des populations (DDPP) .

If you want to set up a stall or van away from an established market, you will need to visit the local mairie to ask about a pitch, which you may have to pay for.

You must also respect current standards regarding food safety and kitchen hygiene. For example, you have to complete a food safety training course, while your kitchen will be subject to health authority inspections to ensure it meets current hygiene standards, and that you follow safe food handling methods.


All food that you sell must be correctly labelled, with information about ingredients, allergens, and the date of preparation.

If, however, you are already registered as a farmer or local food producer, you can sell foodstuffs related to your farming business under more relaxed rules.


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