“It’s cookies, for crying out loud,” – ChiTrib Covers Stalled Cottage Food Bill

March 23, 2011 at 6:56 am

Amongst the many things handled at the Local Beet booth Saturday at the FamilyFarmed Expo was encouraging people to fill out cards to tell their state representatives that they supported the stalled SB 137 allowing for “cottage food” in Illinois; i.e., people making certain types of generally safe foods (cookies, jams) in their home for sale in farmer’s markets and similar venues.  The bill would provide for supplementary income to farmers across the state, provide an additional outlet for local foods as they could be used in more products and provide an entrepreneurial foothold for people getting started by reducing greatly the costs associated with food production.  It’s such a generally good idea, that a whole bunch of neighboring states have cottage food laws on their books.

Not so fast say our health department overlords.  The Chicago Tribune covers the stalled effort today.  Listen, we are all for safe foods, and we know that many a case of “stomach flu” really stems from something you ate, but we also know that the risks here are small.  This is not home canned corned beef.  As the article notes, of the 23 confirmed cases of foodborne illness in Illinois in 2008, only two could be traced to home cooking.  We believe Illinois should create a law allowing for home production in appropriate circumstances.  We appreciate everyone who signed the cards towards this effort on Saturday.

To learn more about the proposed cottage food bill and what you can do to un-stall the effort, see the page of our friends at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.   Thanks, by the way, to Zina Murray of the Logan Square Kitchen, for providing that stellar quote on eating cookies for the Tribune’s article today.