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IL Food Freedom bill passed; cottage food expansion in 2018

This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  BC 6 years ago.

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    Expect exciting changes to the Illinois Cottage Food Law in 2018!

    I am the Policy Associate at Illinois Stewardship Alliance ( and wanted to get you thinking about new cottage food opportunities you will have in 2018. We introduced an Illinois Food Freedom bill in the Illinois legislature this year, and after some negotiation with various public health groups, unanimously passed a bill that will dramatically expand opportunities next year. We anticipate that the Governor will sign it very soon.

    Instead of the law saying that nothing is allowed except a short list of foods, as it does now, everything will be allowed except a list of more potentially hazardous foods. We also removed the cap on gross receipts, so a cottage food operation could begin to provide a real income. Please read more here: We will continue to develop educational pieces to help answer your questions, so you may want to sign up for our newsletter to get local food news and opportunities to help drive policy change.

    Remember, these changes will not be effective until January 1, 2018.


    Jeff Hindman

    What would be required as far as permits go for me to sell tacos? I would be making them in my kitchen then delivering them.



    Unfortunately, meat and dairy will still not be allowed to make food in a home kitchen (with some limited exceptions) and sales could still only occur at farmers markets or, if the food contains a locally produced ingredient, from the farm that grew the ingredient or delivered. There is more detail in the article I linked, and has some helpful explanations of the law under the Illinois section as well.


    Christine Knight

    That sounds like great news! I read the article, and if I understand correctly, this will only change things for the Cottage Food Law. Will any of the changes affect the Home Kitchen Operation Law (cupcake law)? I would love to see the cap on gross receipts removed for that as well!


    David Crabill

    This is a fantastic advancement to the cottage food law! Good work Rebecca and team. Hopefully the governor signs it soon.

    Although this is a dramatic improvement to the current cottage food law, and it represents a breakthrough in a state that has consistently been stubborn, I don’t think this can be properly termed a food freedom initiative. I understand that the original intent was for food freedom, but it is now an improved cottage food law. Three things severely limit this law: food can only be sold at farmers markets, many food items cannot be sold, and (if I’m reading this right) health depts have the authority to disallow CFOs in their area. This isn’t meant to take away from the significant advancement that this law represents… it’s just that it seems like it’s dumbing down the term “food freedom”, which has historically represented eliminating almost all government interference with the sale of food.


    David Crabill

    Christine, this will not affect the sales cap on the HKO law.



    So online sales and direct sales outside of a farmer’s market are not covered in the Illinois Food Freedom Act that goes into effect in 2018, correct?

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