Product Sampling Certificate and Policies

In 2014, Illinois Stewardship Alliance was proud to champion the “Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets” which aimed to standardize farmers market regulations across Illinois in order to make it easier for farmers to attend multiple markets. Because of this bill, new sampling regulations are going into effect this year.  Now farmers can offer product samples in multiple counties throughout the state with just ONE certificate! This is GREAT news! Sampling has been reported to grow product sales up to 30%!

Here’s what you need to know about the statewide Farmers Market Food Sampling Handler’s Certificate:

1. Food Product Sampling Handler Certificates are required for all persons who engage in performing tasks such as unpacking, cutting, slicing, preparing or distributing food product samples.

2. Food Product Sampling Handler Certificates are not transferable between individuals.

3. Certificates are issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health

4. If you are an individual already possessing a valid ANSI accredited Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) certification (previously, Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate (FSSMC))*, you will be required to submit the following to the Illinois Department of Public Health:

5.Individuals who do not possess a valid CFPM shall submit the following:

5. Certificates issued to a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) will be valid 36 months from the issue date.

6. Certificates issued to a non-CFPM will be valid for 36 months from the date of the successful completion of the Department farmers’ market food sampling handler training.

Additional information can be found in the forms below:
Farmers Market Food Product Sampling Handout
Farmers Market Pre-Inspection Checklist

*As of January 1, 2018, there is no longer a requirement for individuals to obtain a state-specific Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager’s Certificate for all locations outside of Chicago. Anyone who obtained a FSSMC in 2014 or later, should already be in compliance with the new CFPM certification, as the FSSMC went above and beyond this federal certification. Anyone whose FSSMC was issued before 2014 should check with your health department to make sure you have the proper certification. For more information, and to find CFPM courses and exams, please see the Illinois Department of Public Health webpage. (Note, cottage food producers need this certification now.)