Illinois General Assembly Votes to Expand Cottage Food Law

May 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

From a press release from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance:

SPRINGFIELD — In May the Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation (HB 2486) that expands Illinois’ cottage food law. The legislation was unanimously approved by the Illinois House of Representatives in April and will now be sent to Governor Rauner for his approval.  Illinois’ cottage food law went into effect in 2012, allowing farmers and local food entrepreneurs to legally make in home kitchens certain non-hazardous food products for sale at farmers markets throughout Illinois. Prior to the enactment of Illinois’ cottage food law, it was illegal to sell homemade food products to the public for commercial purposes.

HB2486 supports small businesses and farmers by making it easier for them to meet the growing demand for local food and farm products,” said Wes King Executive Director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, a nonprofit that worked with legislators and stakeholders to champion HB2486, “It’s a good example of legislators working together in a bipartisan manner to meet the needs of both food businesses and farmers market vendors.”

Galesburg Farmers Market Photo by Knox College

Galesburg Farmers Market
Photo by Knox College

Illinois’ cottage food law is currently limited in what types of non-hazardous food products can be made in home kitchens, where those products can be sold, who can sell the products and how much a farmer or entrepreneur can sell. HB2486 would authorize the State’s Farmers Market Task Force to develop an expanded list of allowed products beyond non-hazardous baked goods, high-acid jams, jellies, preserves and fruit butters; dried herbs, and dried teas. HB2486 would also expand the allowable locations cottage food products can be sold to include on-farm sales and through Community Support Agriculture arrangements for farmers making allowed cottage food products featuring ingredients grown on their farm, in addition to farmers markets.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria), would also relax requirements around employees having food sanitation training to sell cottage food products, allowing farmers and entrepreneurs to more easily hire staff; and increase the gross sales limit for cottage food products from $25,000 to $36,000 per year. Finally, the legislation includes a clarification around charitable bake sales, making clear that religious, non-profit and charitable bake sales are exempt from state food handling regulation.

Governor Rauner is expected to sign the legislation into law later this summer.

Green City Market  Photo:

Green City Market

Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just, local food systems through policy development, advocacy, and education.

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