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.
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)
The laws explicitly state which kinds of pies, jam, jelly, preserves, and fruit butters are allowed — please check the bill in the Resources section below to see the full list.
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.
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.
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.
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 5/26/2015
In addition to (or instead of) your home kitchen, you can use another residential or commercial kitchen on your property.