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Illinois Home Kitchen Operation

Illinois passed an amendment to their previous law, which is for “home kitchen operations” (PA 098-0643 aka HB 5354). This specialized law is only for bakers, and unfortunately, it is not available in many counties across the state.

Before anyone can use this law, their county must create an ordinance to allow it, but ordinances can take awhile to get initiated and passed. This requirement also makes it easy for counties to prevent the law from taking effect in their area. Many health departments have little or no incentive to take the effort to make this law available in their area, so many people cannot use it.

If a county does allow home kitchen operations, then all non-perishable baked goods can be made at home and sold directly to customers, either from home or elsewhere. Unlike any other cottage food law, sales are limited to $1,000 per month (rather than on a yearly basis). No registration or permit from the health dept is required, but other local permits may still be required.

The older law (still in effect) is for “cottage food operations“, which may sell up to $36,000 of products at farmers markets. It’s technically possible to use both laws to sell up to $48,000 of goods per year.

This law was started in direct response to 11-year-old Chloe Stirling getting shut down. In this way, it is similar to California’s law, which also got started after someone got shut down by the health dept. It only took a few months to pass this law, whereas it took about two years to pass California’s. However, this amendment to Illinois’ law is far more limiting than California’s.

Selling

Your products may only be sold in counties that have an ordinance allowing homemade food sales under this law.

It would probably be better to use the older law for your farmers market sales, so that you can sell up to $36,000 of goods there. That way, this law’s $1,000 per month sales limit would only apply to your sales elsewhere.

Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Allowed Foods

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 $1,000 per month

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This product was produced in a home kitchen



Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy


Resources

Law Dates
June 2014
HB 5354
January 2016
HB 2486

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Starting a cottage food business?

DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE

Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)

Comments

Would you be able to tell me if Will county has adopted home kitchen ordinance? I’m trying to find it but have been unsuccessful. I see DuPage has not, and has no intention to (such a shame).

Respectfully, I must ask: Why do we accept these ridiculous regulations? I am 61 years old, have attended farmers markets, church bazaars, bake sales, and swapped all kinds of home-made stuff for as long as I can remember. I have never – NEVER – gotten sick from any of it. Not once. What happened to our liberty? What happened to “buyer beware”? Why are we accepting regulations that are geared at restricting our rights, that assume we are all guilty of poisoning our neighbors and don’t know the first thing about food safety? Seriously, people. LOOK at these rules!! Written by some attorney and/or public official who want to keep their jobs! I attended a public hearing about raw milk rules in Illinois. IDPH wants to MAKE rules, because we don’t have any law that restricts the sale of raw milk. The dept. head said this (and I have it recorded!!!): “If there is no law, that makes it illegal.” And she still holds that job! I brought that up to several Representatives, to no avail. This mindset must be changed. We need to change it, by IGNORING unconstitutional laws, rules or regulations. We did not elect these agency people who make these bogus regulations. Wake up!

If i were to cook the meal for a church celebration and receive compensation for the food cost and my time at a 1 time event a d cook in church kitchen would i need a certificate of some sort

    I don’t know for sure, but assuming your church has a commercial kitchen, it would probably be possible, and you might need to take a training course or get a certificate. Since it’s a one-time thing, I would personally not bother with the legalities, but you have to determine what’s best for you and the church. You can contact the health dept for more specific info.

Thank you for response, I think I have a much better handle on things in Cook County. I do have one more crucial question, now that I’ve been looking around your site quite a bit more:

My plan was to sell cookies through Etsy. But looking on your website, the only states that let you sell cookies online (I came up with: AZ, CA, CO, GA, IN, IA, LA, ME, MA, MN, NV, NH, NC, OH, OR, PN, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WY) also always say:

* “Your products can be purchased online, but orders may need to be picked up or delivered in-person. Also, usually you cannot sell to someone in another state, unless they pick up the product in your state.” *

So I don’t really understand how *anybody* is legally selling cookies online through Etsy, unless they are delivering them by hand/having people pick them up. And yet I know people don’t do that. Are you able to clarify this for me?

Thanks very much for the help.

    p.s. In case it isn’t clear — I am assuming a few of those Etsy sellers work out of a commercial kitchen (and thus might be potentially legal), but I would guess not all of them!

    There are a few states that do allow interstate sales, but for the most part, sales of homemade food on Etsy are illegal. And yes, some Etsy vendors use a commercial kitchen to produce their product so they can legally sell it.

I just want to make sure I understand the law here: I live in Cook County, Illinois. I had wanted to start selling cookies online through Etsy, but it sounds like that’s illegal (via both laws – home kitchen & cottage food operations) no matter what? I *could* sell items locally, with the proper labeling, though?

Thanks for taking the time to respond, I doubt my question is very unusual! I just want to make sure I understand it all.

    I haven’t heard of Cook County having passed an ordinance, so no, I don’t think you could sell locally (unless it was at a farmers market as a cottage food operation). You definitely can’t sell homemade food through Etsy. You can call Cook’s health dept and ask if they have an ordinance that allows home kitchen operations.

We are planning to buy a house in Morton Grove. Is there a way to open up a commercial kitchen in the basement of the house??
thank you

    Lisa, that’s a complicated process and you need to talk to the health dept about it. It’s possible in other parts of the country, but I’m not sure if it’s possible where you live.

Hi there, I’m in DuPage County… I know there was someone on here who was pretty diligently watching how DuPage Health Dpt. was handling the HKO stuff. When I called there, the guy kind of laughed at me and said that they had no intention of adopting it. I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do to get this to go through. Any thoughts? It’s SO expensive to rentCommercial Kitchen Space. I’ve seen $15 per HOUR… the things I make take nearly 7 hours to make. I wouldn’t be able to afford to make them!

    First of all, I’d recommend that you give up on DuPage County… it’s not going to happen. It would probably be faster to push an entire amendment through the legislature that forces them to allow you to sell from home.

    Secondly, $15/hour is super cheap! In many places, $25/hour is about the lowest you could rent a commercial kitchen.

    Lastly, you have to factor in your time when you price things. If you’re spending 7 hours to make something, and you can’t do it in less time, then that item should cost hundreds of dollars!

Given how strict the Illinois “home kitchen operation” law(s) are, basically impossible in most counties, is it legal to prepare food in a commercial kitchen, but sell online and local delivery?

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