Did you know that home-based food businesses are subject to Cottage Food Law? The law allows food entrepreneurs to start small, test their products, and grow a customer base before deciding whether or not to scale into a commercial kitchen.
As defined in Illinois’s law, “Cottage Food Operation” means an operation conducted by a person who produces food or drink, other than foods and drinks listed as prohibited in the law, in a kitchen located in that person’s primary domestic residence or another appropriately designed and equipped kitchen on a farm for direct sale by the owner, a family member, or employee.
Cottage Food Law was created with the intent of supporting the growth of small businesses by developing regulations that allow food entrepreneurs to use their home kitchens to make specific, relatively low-risk food products for sale directly to consumers. Cottage Food Operations do not compete with brick and mortar establishments and are limited in the type of products they can make, and the places they can sell their products.
The Illinois 2022 Cottage Food Guide is a publication from the Illinois Department of Public Health that is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in applying to become a Cottage Food Operator. The guide explains the law, state requirements, and safety standards for Cottage Food Operators.
You can download a copy of the Food Guide using the link provided. You may also consider joining the Illinois Cottage Food Entrepreneurs Facebook Group to connect with other cottage food operators.