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cottage food community

Illinois

Illinois recently passed an amendment to their previous law, so they now essentially have two different laws in place. This page covers the older law (still in effect), which is for “cottage food operations”. The new law is for “home kitchen operations,” which you should use if you want to sell baked goods outside of farmers markets. Aside from being able to sell outside of farmers markets, the new law is more restrictive than this older one.

This law only lets you sell cottage foods at a farmers market, and you can sell up to $25,000 or products per year. The startup cost for your cottage food operation could be as low as $100, but it could be higher if your local health department has decided to charge fees for registration and an inspection. This law is also very specific about what types of food are allowed, but it includes the most common ones.

A new bill (HB 2486) in 2015 aims to improve this law in a few ways. It would raise the sales limit to $36,000 per year, would allow some types of on-farm sales, and would let the health department add to the allowed food list.

Selling

At the point of sale, you must put up a prominent placard that says “This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspection that may also process common food allergens.” (this is in addition to placing that statement on product labels)

Allowed Foods

The laws explicitly state which kinds of pies, jam, jelly, preserves, and fruit butters are allowed — please check the bill to see the full list.

Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more

Limitations

Limitations
Sales are limited to $25,000 per year

If the $25,000 per year limit is not enough, you can sell baked goods as a home kitchen operation and make an extra $1,000 per month.

Business

Registration

You must register with the health department before selling cottage foods under this law, and usually there is no fee to do so. The department cannot charge more that $25 per year for registration.

Food Service Sanitation Management Certificate

You must take a class and receive a “Food Service Sanitation Management Certificate” from the health department, which is about 15 hours long and costs at least $100.

By default, the only requirements for a cottage food operation are a no-fee registration and a certificate. However, an individual health department has the option to charge a fee (up to $25 per year) for registration and mandate a home inspection, which may also incur a fee.

If you are only making baked goods, you can bypass the above requirements by becoming a home kitchen operation.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspection that may also process common food allergens."


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, IL 73531


Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)


Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy


Produced on 7/5/2015


Workplace

In addition to (or instead of) your home kitchen, you can use another residential or commercial kitchen on your property.

Resources

Law Dates
January 2012
SB 0840
June 2014
HB 5354
June 2014
HB 5657
This page was last updated on

Comments

Hello,
I have been baking custom cakes from my home kitchen for my friends. I would like to take public orders of custom cakes and bake them from my kitchen to start with. Can I proceed or do I need some sort of licensing to do this. It will just be 2 orders per week max upto $500 a month.

I am currently running an at home bakery under the cottage food law in a home I own. There is a possibility I will be moving and renting a place in the future. Can I still bake and sell good in a rental property that I do not own? Thank you!

    Yes, but you need your landlord’s approval. You said “sell goods in a rental property” — just to be clear, it’s not legal to sell goods from a property, as this law only allows sales at a farmers market.

Just wondering: I see a lot of people on Etsy that are selling baked goods, dog treats, canned goods, etc. Some of these people are from IL. Since it’s an online sale, and it’s being shipped, I’m assuming that’s technically illegal then?

    Most of them are probably operating illegally, but it’s also possible that some of them are using a commercial kitchen to produce and package their products.

I was wanting to check on packaging of spices. I have my own spice blend I would like to produce for sale. This obviously doesn’t require cooking so it would just be blending and packaging. Am I allowed to do this from home and sell in farmers markets?

    There are some types of candy that use a baking cook process, rather than a stovetop cook process. Most types of candy would not fall under “baked candy”, but a few do, so that’s why it’s listed. For example, many types of mochi candy are cooked via baking.

Hello,
I am looking into starting a beef jerky business. I would do all the cooking (dehydrating) in my kitchen. What are the regulations on this? Do you have some resources about this?

Could you give some examples of what baked candies are, and do you happen to know what the rules are on chocolates? (I’m assuming you need a commercial kitchen to be able to sell them) Also do you know if blondies or types of bars such as lemon bars are allowed?

    Most candies use a stovetop cook method, but there are some that use an oven cook method… mochi is the only one coming to mind right now. Most candies, including chocolate, are not allowed under this law, and you do need to use a commercial kitchen to produce them. http://forrager.com/faq/#commercial

    Blondies should be allowed. Lemon bars are more like a custard and are likely not allowed.

I recently had the idea of selling my home roasted coffee at local farmers markets. Upon further research I found out that home roasted coffee isn’t allowed, but homemade, dried tea leaves are—go figure! I found a recent bill in Illinois General Assembly (HB2486) and wrote the house sponsors and Senator Brady along with my local House Rep. Tim Butler asking them to amend this.Tim Butler’s office just called me this morning to inform me they will be contacting a few Senators involved (bill is now in Senate) to get an amendment for home roasted coffee! How cool is that! Nothing has passed yet, but you can keep track of the bill by going to: http://bit.ly/ILhb2486

    Ethan, you can see some of the reservations I have about this bill on the home kitchen operation page.

    However, it’s a large bill, and I hadn’t really realized the improvements it would make to the above law, so thanks for pointing that out. It looks like the addition of coffee would be something the dept would add after the fact, which might take some time to happen. However, there is hope!

    Doesn’t matter much to me, I’ll be doing the coffee gig again as I have for the past 12 years.

    Thanks for your work, Ethan. Maybe my criminal enterprise will be legal before long.

    :::sigh:::

    UPDATE: Received an email last night from Rep. Tim Butler’s office! Amendment is being drafted by legislative research unit. Should only take them a day or two. Then amendment will be filed by Sen. Brady next day the Senate is in session (they are typically in Monday-Friday until May 31). Making progress, people! You can keep track of the bill by going to: http://bit.ly/ILhb2486

    Please note that enactment of this bill will not automatically allow home-roasted coffee sales at farmers markets. Once it’s a law, then the health dept has the ability to add to the allowed foods list, and I don’t know what their plans are for doing that, or if they would do that.

Hello David,

Im new to IL (chicago) and I make human consumable dog treats. Meaning all my ingredients are edible by people. What are the laws in Cooke County for kitchen needs as well as if they can only be sold at a farmers market (summer only then) rather than being able to deliver them year round or online? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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