Illinois' Cottage Food Law
What do homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs have in common? They are all eligible to be made in home kitchens and sold at farmers markets under the Cottage Food Bill which went into effect January 2012. Illinois joined the growing list of states across the country that are supporting the growing local food movement by crafting risk and scale appropriate laws regulating local food businesses.
For prospective cottage food producers: To make things easier for potential cottage food operations we have put together a Cottage Food Guide that describes what the law does and doesn’t allow and what you have to do to qualify to become a cottage food operation. More importantly Illinois Departmen of Public Health (IDPH) has created a Technical Information Bulliten for local health departments and potential cottage food operators. The Technical Information Bulletin put together by IDPH can be found here. In order to answer some additional questions IDPH has created a supplemental cottage food TIB which can be found here.
If you are planning on starting a cottage food operation please read and review TIB #44 & TIB #44a. In addition, it is highly recommended that you reach out to your local health department early and start a conversation about your cottage food related plans.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to contact Wes King at email@example.com or 217-528-1563.
Background: On August 16, 2011 in honor of Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Quinn signed into law Senate Bill 840, the Illinois Local Food Entrepreneur and Cottage Food Operation Act, also known as the Cottage Food Bill. The Cottage Food Bill is a step in an ongoing effort to create policies that support the burgeoning local food movement. The cottage food bill will create new opportunities for farmers to engage in value-added processing while making it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to start new local food businesses selling at one of Illinois 300-plus farmers markets.
The cottage food bill changes Illinois’ food safety laws to allow homemade non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jams and jellies, fruit butter, dried herbs, and dried tea blends to be sold at farmers markets provided they are properly labeled as homemade products, annual gross receipts from sales are $25,000 or less, the “cottage food operation” is registered and the person preparing and selling the food has a valid Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate.
SB 840 was sponsored by Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria) and Representative Lisa Dugan (D-Kankakee). Both Senator Koehler and Representative Dugan deserve our thanks for all their hard work because without it, the passage of SB 840 would not have been possible.
On January 1st, 2012, Illinois Cottage Food Law officialy went into effect. There are still some kinks to iron out as the implementation is figured out, however the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been doing a great job putting together guidance for local health departments to make sure the implementation and first year of the program goes a smoothly as possible.