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Illinois Can you legally sell food from home in Illinois?

Cottage Food Law

For many years, Illinois had one of the most restrictive cottage food laws in the nation.

Their first cottage food law in 2012 (SB 0840) only allowed cottage food operations to sell certain items at farmers markets. Even though an amendment in 2018 (HB 3063) removed the sales limit and greatly expanded the list of allowed foods, sales were still restricted to farmers markets.

Starting in 2014, Illinois also had a law for “home kitchen operations“, which was very restrictive as well.

In 2022, an amendment (SB 2007) improved the law by allowing all direct sales in the state, effectively replacing the home kitchen operation law.

Illinois is most notable for its extensive list of allowed foods. Unlike most states which specify what a producer can make, Illinois specifies what a producer can’t make, and it allows everything else. It allows many types of perishable foods, but those cannot be shipped.

Producers can sell directly anywhere in the state (including from home, at farmers markets, events, etc), and there is no sales limit. Producers cannot sell indirectly through stores, restaurants, or other wholesale venues. Non-perishable items can be shipped within Illinois.

Producers need to register with their local health department before they can sell, which costs up to $50 per year. Those who want to sell certain types of riskier canned and baked goods need to follow extra requirements.

Selling Where can you sell homemade food products?

You can only ship non-perishable food, and you can only ship items within Illinois. Your shipped products must be sealed in a way that reveals tampering.

In addition to the above allowed venues, you can also offer “pickup from a third-party private property with the consent of the third-party property holder”.

At the point of sale (e.g. event booth, online website, etc), you must prominently display this notice: “This product was produced in a home kitchen not inspected by a health department that may also process common food allergens.”

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Allowed Foods What food products can you sell from home?

Prohibited Foods

Unlike most laws, Illinois specifies which types of foods are NOT allowed.

Your products cannot contain these items:

  • Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or shellfish
  • Dairy, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous baked good or candy (such as caramel), or as an ingredient in a baked good frosting (such as buttercream)
  • Eggs, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous baked good, including dry noodles, or as an ingredient in a baked good frosting (such as buttercream), if the eggs are not raw
  • Pumpkin pies, sweet potato pies, cheesecakes, custard pies, creme pies, and pastries with potentially hazardous fillings or toppings
  • Garlic in oil mixtures, unless they are acidified
  • Low-acid canned foods (such as canned green beans)
  • Sprouts
  • Cut leafy greens, except for leafy greens that are dehydrated, acidified, or blanched and frozen
  • Cut fresh (or pureed) tomato or melon
  • Dehydrated tomato or melon
  • Frozen cut melon
  • Wild-harvested, non-cultivated mushrooms
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Kombucha

If your food or drink product does not contain items on that list, then you are allowed to sell it!

Although you can sell many types of perishable foods, you cannot ship them. You can only ship non-perishable items.

However, if you want to sell certain canned or baked goods, you need to follow additional requirements:

  • Canned tomatoes (or canned products containing tomatoes)
    • If you do not follow an approved* recipe, you must test your product in a lab once per year, to ensure that it is non-perishable
  • Acidified or fermented foods
    • You must submit approved* recipes that you use
    • If your product does not use an approved* recipe:
      • You must submit a food safety plan & a pH test
      • You only need to submit one plan & test for each category of acidified/fermented foods that use the same production procedures (for instance, if you sell different flavors of hot sauce, you’d only need to submit one plan & test from a hot sauce recipe)
      • You must submit each food safety plan once per year
      • You must submit each pH test once every 3 years
    • You must follow these packaging requirements:
      • If your acidified/fermented product is canned, you must use the boiling water bath canning method (no pressure canning) and Mason-style jars or glass containers
      • If your acidified/fermented product is NOT canned, you must keep the product refrigerated (below 41 degrees) at all stages (storage, transport, & sale), and you must use new containers
  • Baked goods with cheese
    • A local health department can require you to get your product tested in a lab, to ensure that it is non-perishable

* An approved recipe is one that has been tested by the USDA or any state cooperative extension

Limitations How will your home food business be restricted?

There is no sales limit

You must use a kitchen that is located in your primary residence. It can’t be located somewhere else on your property. The only exception to that would be a farm, which can also use a kitchen located on their property.

Business What do you need to do to sell food from home?

Registration

You must register with your local health department, which costs up to $50 and must be renewed once per year.

If you sell acidified foods and/or fermented foods, you must submit additional info for those items along with your registration.

If you sell baked goods that contain cheese, and/or items containing canned tomatoes, you might be required to submit additional info for those items along with your registration.

Food Safety Manager Training

You must take an approved food protection manager training course, like Learn2Serve’s Food Safety Manager Training course, which costs $99 and takes about 10 hours to complete online.

Private Water Source

If your home uses a private water source, like a private well, a local health department can require you to get your water tested, to ensure its safety.

Labeling How do you label cottage food products?

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was produced in a home kitchen not inspected by a health department that may also process common food allergens. If you have safety concerns, contact your local health department."


Forrager Cookie Company

Permit #: 12345

Issued in Cotton County


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 8/17/2022


You also need to include your city’s name (or the “unit of local government”) on your labels.

At the point of sale (e.g. event booth, online website, etc), you must prominently display this notice: “This product was produced in a home kitchen not inspected by a health department that may also process common food allergens.”

Your products must be pre-packaged in your home kitchen. For items that are impractical to pre-package (e.g. a wedding cake), you must get approval by the local health department of the location where the product is sold, and you must provide the consumer the labeling information in another form.

If applicable, you may include the designation “Illinois-grown”, “Illinois-sourced”, or “Illinois farm product” on your label.

Resources Where can you find more information about this law?

Department
Illinois Department of Public Health

In 2014, Illinois passed a bill (PA 098-0643 aka HB 5354) to allow “home kitchen operations”. This specialized law was only for bakers, and unfortunately, it was very restrictive. It required counties to opt-in by creating an ordinance, but not many did. Home kitchen operations could only sell up to $1,000 of baked goods per month from home (not at any venues). This law was started in direct response to 11-year-old Chloe Stirling getting shut down by the health department.

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