New law allows low-risk foods to be prepared at home for Farmers Markets

ARTHUR — There is a new law in Illinois called the Cottage Food Operation Act of 2011….

ARTHUR — There is a new law in Illinois called the Cottage Food Operation Act of 2011.

This new law allows for certain low-risk foods such as jams, jellies and baked goods to be sold at Illinois Farmers Markets to be prepared in the private home without the expense of a certified commercial kitchen.

A workshop called “From Garden Gates to Dinner Plates” will be offered at the Moultrie-Douglas County Office, 122 S. Walnut St., Arthur, from 10 a.m. to noon June 21.

There is no fee for the workshop, but pre-registration is required by June 15. Register online at

The main business advantage of this law is that it allows food entrepreneurs to sell their goods direct to consumers without significant start-up capital.

There are basic guidelines that growers and vendors must observe in preparation for Farmers Market sales.

Lynnette Mensah, University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator, will present an illustrated talk on how to safely prepare jams and jellies for sale to the public.

She also will discuss the preparation of homemade baked products under this law. Information will be provided about how to get your kitchen ready for this endeavor, including home kitchen safety and sanitation practices.

Those who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program should contact the Moultrie-Douglas county office at least two weeks prior to the event.

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