[Skip to Content]
University of Illinois Extension

Senate Bill 457

The first Illinois Cottage Food Law, Senate Bill 840, debuted in January 2012, signed into law by then Governor Patrick Quinn. Since enactment, Illinois legislators have amended the Cottage Food Law four (4) different times. Section 5 of the Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act amended Section 4, which is the Cottage Food Operation. Senate Bill 457 Section 4 (410 ILCS 625/4) (a) sets forth the final Illinois Cottage Food 2018 Amendment.

Two Cottage Food amendments enacted in 2018 greatly expanded the list of allowable food for sale by vendors, while restricting the sale of fourteen (14) categories of potentially hazardous foods (1.5). It also allows for the sale of certain homemade chilled drink and home canned drink (no alcohol allowed). The amended Illinois Cottage Food law sets forth its definition and limitations for acidified food, home canned food, a cottage food operation, cut leafy greens, equilibrium pH, a farmers market, leafy greens, main ingredient, microgreens, potentially hazardous food, and sprouts.

A State-certified local public health department that regulates food by a cottage food operation may require a cottage food operation to submit certain high-risk food samples/recipes to a commercial laboratory for analysis. The laboratory analysis must verify the product is a non-potentially hazardous food or has a final equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below. All lab costs are at the cottage food operation’s expense. Posted for your assistance, is a short-list of commercial labs. Food examples may include:

  • Canned tomatoes and canned food containing tomatoes (such as salsa)
  • Baked goods containing cheese
  • Acidified fruits and vegetables (pickles)
  • Fermented food (sauerkraut)
  • Jams, jellies, or preserves made with ingredients not on the approved list (such as mint jelly)
  • As well as other food and drink
  • What Foods Can I Sell and What Foods are Not Permitted?

    Senate Bill 457 provides that notwithstanding any other provision of law (except verification of food standards), neither the Department of Public Health nor the Department of Agriculture nor the health department of a unit of local government may regulate the transaction of a food or drink by a cottage food operation. Cottage food vendors must meet certain conditions as stated in Section 4 of the Cottage Food section, including but not limited to, registration with your local health department, and payment of an annual fee of not more than $25.00.

    A cottage food operation may produce certain homemade food and homemade drink. However, a cottage food operation must be properly licensed, certified, and compliant with all requirements to sell food and drink under the laws and regulations pertinent to that particular food or drink item. All food and drink packaging must exhibit proper labeling with ingredients listed by weight, list of food allergens, and the vendor’s name and home address. Nutrition facts panels are not required. There is no longer a restriction on annual gross sales receipts (income) for vendors.

    The law provides that if the Department of Public Health or the health department of a unit of local government has received a consumer complaint or has reason to believe that an imminent health hazard exists it may invoke cessation of sales. In addition, if a cottage food operation's product is misbranded, adulterated, or not in compliance with the exception for cottage food operations, the cottage food operation may be shut down. The termination of sales will continue until the situation had been addressed to the satisfaction of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    In the event of a consumer complaint or foodborne illness outbreak linked to cottage food, the state-certified local public health department will inspect the premises of the cottage food operation in question and set a reasonable fee for that inspection. The Illinois Department of Public Health may adopt rules as may be necessary to implement the provisions of Section 4 of the Illinois Cottage Food Law.

    The information provided above is an overview of major changes in the current 2018 Cottage Food law. If you have particular questions, check the FAQ section on this website. To read the Illinois Cottage Food Law in its entirety, open the link below.

  • Illinois Cottage Food 2018 Amendment
  • Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act