Cottage Food Law – Illinois


Illinois’ Cottage Food Law

Information about Illinois Cottage Food Law

What do homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs have in common? They will all be eligible to be made in home kitchens and sold at farmers markets when the Cottage Food Bill goes 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.
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.
While, the general assembly has passed it and Governor Quinn has signed it, the cottage food bill does not  go into effect until January 1, 2012 so don’t start baking just yet!  The registration process isn’t in place yet.  In order to make it easier for potential cottage food operations to hit the ground running during the 2012 farmers market season, 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.


Please visit the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for more information and to join their mailing list.

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