Cottage Food Operation Laws

What Is the Cottage Food Operation Law?

The new Cottage Food Operation law changes took effect January 1, 2022 due to the passage of the Home-to-Market Act (Public Act 102-0633 amending 410 ILCS 625/4). The law now allows certain foods made in home kitchens to be sold directly to consumers with limited regulation.

The law does not allow these homemade products to be sold in any type of retail food establishment. Retail food establishments include, but are not limited to, retail stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. In addition, the products must meet specific labeling requirements.

What Foods Can Be Made Under the Cottage Food Law?

 As of January 1, 2018, all food and drink are permitted, except for what is specifically prohibited in the law outlined below:

  • Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or shellfish; Dairy, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous baked good or candy; or as an ingredient in a baked good frosting, such as buttercream
  •  Eggs, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous food, 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, cream pies, and pastries with potentially hazardous fillings or toppings
  • Garlic-in-oil or oil infused with garlic, except if the garlic oil is acidified
  • Low-acid canned foods
  • Sprouts
  • Cut leafy greens, except for cut leafy greens that are dehydrated, acidified or blanched and frozen
  • Cut or pureed fresh tomato or melon
  • Dehydrated tomato or melon
  • Frozen cut melon; wild-harvested, non-cultivated mushrooms
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Kombucha

 Some higher risk products listed below do have additional regulations and guidance:

● Acidified/Fermented Foods 

● Tomatoes 

● Salad dressings, vinegars, infused oils 

● Frostings and icings 

● Cheesy bread or other baked goods containing cheese 

● Fresh-pressed juices or bottled drinks

● Time and Temperature Controlled (TCS) Foods such as fresh cut fruit and vegetables (zucchini noodles, pasta salads with vegetables, fruit bowls, etc.), and heat-treated produce such as vegan soups and meals

Food and drinks produced by a Cottage Food Operation shall be sold directly to consumers for their own consumption and not for resale.  Sales directly to consumers include sales at or through:

  • Farmers’ markets
  • Fairs, festivals, public events, or online
  • Pickup from the private home or farm of the cottage food operator in compliance with the Ordinance that applies equally to all home-based businesses
  • Delivery to the customer
  • Pick up from a third-party private property with the consent of the third-party property holder

How Do I Operate Under the Cottage Food Law?

  1. Obtain an ANSI accredited Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) certificate. CFPM course and exam fees vary by location, but in general range from $100-200. Certificates are valid for five years.
  2. Register with DuPage County Health Department. You will need to register with us after you have received your Illinois Department of Public Health approved food service sanitation management certificate. Registration confirmation will be provided to you. You may need to take the registration confirmation with you to other counties. Registrations should be submitted to us annually. Approvals are from Jan 1 -Dec 31. Please let us know whenever your contact information changes.
  3. Follow all other requirements in the law. You are responsible for all other provisions in the law.

Temporary Food Services

A temporary food service permit is required when food is served to the public during an event.