New state law won’t impact most Farmers’ Market vendors, official says
Some Farmers’ Market vendors who were put off by a new state law on home-prepared foods may decide to participate in the markets after all….
Some Farmers’ Market vendors who were put off by a new state law on home-prepared foods may decide to participate in the markets after all.
Organizers of the Farmer’s Market in Kewanee were under the impression that the new Illinois Cottage Food Act required that all kitchens in which food is prepared for sale at a farmers’ market be inspected by the local health department. They were concerned that this requirement would deter some vendors from taking part in the local market.
In fact, according to Wes King of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, the new law removes that requirement from some home-prepared products.
King, who helped write the Cottage Food Act, explained that until the act took effect this Jan. 1, the guidelines of the Illinois Department of Public Health required the local health department inspections for any kitchen in which food was prepared for sale in a commercial operation. The guidelines don’t apply to items donated to bake sales run by charitable organizations, King said.
The Cottage Food Act actually removes the inspection requirement for most baked goods (except “high-risk” items such as cream-filled concoctions), high-acid jams and jellies, and dried herbs. The inspection requirement still applies to other foods, King said.
Anyone preparing food at home for commercial sale must take a course in safe food handling and preparation, King said.
He said confusion over the new law apparently arose because many local health departments weren’t going to farmers’ markets to enforce the state guidelines. The Cottage Foods Act removes restrictions that were preventing people who prepared homemade breads and other items from selling them, King said.