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University of Illinois Extension

What Foods Can I Sell?

Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods (non-PHF)

Jams, jellies, and preserves

Foods prepared for sale by a Cottage Food Operation: only non-potentially hazardous baked goods, fruit pies, jams, jellies, fruit preserves, fruit butters, dry herbs, dry herb blends, and dry tea blends intended for end-use consumption are permitted.

  • Jams, Jellies, and Preserves: Fruits are naturally high in food acid. Only high acid jams, jellies, and preserves made from the following fruits are permitted: apple, apricot, grape, peach, plum, quince, orange, nectarine, tangerine, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry, red currants, or a combination of those fruits.

    Any other jams, jellies, butters, or preserves not listed may be produced by a cottage food operation provided the recipe has been tested. The testing must be conducted by a commercial laboratory at the expense of the cottage food operation. The lab report must document that the product is not potentially hazardous, containing a pH equilibrium of less than 4.6 or has been specified and adopted as allowed in administrative rules by the Department.
  • Low Sugar Jams and Jellies: The best practice for low sugar jams and jellies or those using sugar substitute is that they be processed only in a boiling water canner for a minimum of ten (10) minutes and not by any other methods unless water activity is determined by a commercial lab to be less than 0.85.
  • What about other flavors? Any other jams, jellies, or preserves not listed may be produced by a cottage food operation provided their recipe has been tested and documented by a commercial laboratory as containing a pH level equilibrium of less than 4.6.
  • Baked Goods Permitted: Baked goods, such as, but not limited to, breads, cookies, cakes, fruit pies, and pastries.

Baked goods

  • Fruit Butters: Only high acid fruit butters are permitted. Fruit butters made from: apple, apricot, grape, peach, plum, quince, and prune. Any other fruit butter not listed may be produced by a cottage food operation provided their recipe has been tested and documented by a commercial laboratory as containing pH of less than 4.6. and water activity of less than 0.85.
  • Fruit pieFruit Pies Permitted: High-acid fruit pies made of apple, apricot, grape, peach, plum, quince, orange, nectarine, tangerine, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry, red currants, or a combination of these fruits.
  • Fruit pies not listed may be produced by a cottage food operation provided their recipe has been tested by a Commercial Laboratory and documented by the laboratory as containing a pH equilibrium of less than 4.6

What Foods are NOT Permitted

Foods not permitted for sale by a Cottage Food Operation: Any potentially hazardous food (as defined by the 2013 FDA Food Code or subsequent amendments) is prohibited from being produced and sold under the cottage food law. That includes, but is not limited to:

  • Meat products, dairy products, canned vegetables, pickled products, raw seed sprouts, and generally any food item that requires time and temperature control for food safety are NOT permitted.
  • Fruit Butters: Pumpkin, rhubarb, tomato, banana, and pear butters are NOT permitted.
  • Baked Goods: Pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, cheese cake, custard pies, crème pies, and pastries with potentially hazardous fillings or toppings are NOT permitted.

Potentially Hazardous Foods (PHF)

"Potentially hazardous food" means a food that is potentially hazardous according to the Department of Public Health administrative rules. Potentially hazardous food (PHF) in general is a food that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation.

In accordance with the FDA 2013 Food Code, time and temperature controlled foods for safety (also known as PHF) does not include a food item that because of its high acid (pH) and/or lack of water (Aw 0.85) is designated as a non-time and temperature controlled food for safety (TCS).

Potentially Hazardous Foods: 2013 FDA Food Code

  • Meat (beef, pork, lamb)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.)
  • Fish (tuna, salmon, etc)
  • Shellfish and crustaceans (shrimp, crab, clam, etc)
  • Shell Eggs
  • Milk and milk products
  • Heat-treated plant food (cooked rice, beans, or vegetables)
  • Baked or boiled potatoes
  • Cut leafy greens
  • Cut (sliced) tomatoes
  • Raw sprouts and seeds
  • Tofu and soy-protein foods
  • Untreated garlic and oil mixtures
  • Cut (sliced) melons: like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew