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University of Illinois Extension

What Foods Can I Sell and What Foods are Not Permitted?

Illinois Cottage Food Operation Information

What Foods Are Not Permitted?

“Cottage Food Operation” means an operation conducted by a person who produces or packages food or drink, other than foods and drinks listed as prohibited (below) in a kitchen located in that person’s primary domestic residence or another appropriately designed and equipped residential or commercial-style kitchen on that property for direct sale by the owner, a family member or employee.

Prohibited foods include (1.5):

(A) meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or shellfish;

(B) dairy, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous baked good or candy, such as caramel, subject to paragraph (1.8);

(C) eggs, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous baked good or in dry noodles;

(D) pumpkin pies, sweet potato pies, cheesecakes, custard pies, crème pies, and pastries with potentially hazardous fillings or toppings;

(E) garlic in oil or oil infused with garlic, except if the garlic oil is acidified; (1.6) A food is "acidified" if: acid or acid ingredients are added to it to produce a final equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below; or it is fermented to produce a final equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below. "Equilibrium pH" means the final potential of hydrogen measured in an acidified food after all the components of the food have achieved the same acidity.

(F) canned foods, except for the following, which are allowed if they are acid/acidified and canned only in Mason-style jars with new lids. "Canned food" means food preserved in airtight, vacuum-sealed containers that are heat processed (Boiling Water Bath Canner) sufficiently to enable storing the food at normal home temperatures. Low acid canned foods are prohibited: canned vegetables (such as green beans, corn, etc.)

(i) fruit jams, fruit jellies, fruit preserves, or fruit butters;

(ii) syrups;

(iii) whole or cut fruit canned in syrup; and

(iv) acidified fruit or vegetables prepared and offered for sale in compliance with paragraph (1.6) and

(v) condiments such as prepared mustard, horseradish, or ketchup that do not contain ingredients prohibited under this Section and that are prepared and offered for sale in compliance with paragraph (1.6);

(G) sprouts; "Sprout" means any seedling intended for human consumption that was produced in a manner that does not meet the definition of microgreen.

(H) cut leafy green, except for cut leafy greens that are dehydrated, acidified, or blanched and frozen; "Leafy greens" includes iceberg lettuce; romaine lettuce; leaf lettuce; butter lettuce; baby leaf lettuce, such as immature lettuce or leafy green; escarole; endive; spring mix; spinach; cabbage; kale; arugula; and chard. "Leafy greens" does not include microgreens or herbs such as cilantro or parsley. "Microgreen" means an edible plan seedling grown in soil or substrate and harvested above the soil or substrate line.

(I) cut or pureed fresh tomato or melon;

(J) dehydrated tomato or melon;

(K) frozen cut melon;

(L) wild-harvested, non-cultivated mushrooms; or

(M) alcoholic beverages; or

(N) kombucha (fermented tea).

What Foods Can I Sell?

Many foods (not listed above as prohibited foods) can be sold under the newly amended cottage food law, if the food item has been approved for sale by the local health department.

Canned foods only in mason-style jars with new lids and processed in boiling water bath canner as described in the attached;

(i) Fruit jams, fruit jellies, fruit preserves, or fruit butters;

(ii) Syrups;

(iii) Whole or cut fruit canned in syrup;

(iv) Acidified fruit or vegetables prepared and offered for sale in compliance paragraph (1.6); and

(v) Condiments such as prepared mustard, horseradish, or ketchup that do not contain ingredients prohibited under this section and that are prepared and offered for sale in compliance with paragraph (1.6 below);

(1.6) In order to sell canned tomatoes or a canned product containing tomatoes, a cottage food operator shall either

(A) follow exactly a recipe that has been tested by the United States Department of Agriculture or by a state cooperative extension located in this State or any other state in the United States; or

(B) submit the recipe, at the cottage food operator’s expense, to a commercial laboratory to test that the product has been adequately acidified; use only the varietal or proportionate varietals of tomato included in the tested recipe for all subsequent batches of such recipe; and provide documentation of the test results of the recipe submitted under this subparagraph to an inspector upon request during any inspection authorized by paragraph (2) of subsection

(1.7) A State-certified local public health department that regulates the service of food by a cottage food operation may require a cottage food operation to submit a canned food that is subject to paragraph (1.6), at the cottage food operator’s expense, to a commercial laboratory to verify that the product has a final equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below.

(1.8) A State-certified local public health department that regulates the service of food by a cottage food operation may require a cottage food operation to submit a recipe for any baked good containing cheese, at the cottage food operator’s expense, to a commercial laboratory to verify that it is non-potentially hazardous before allowing the cottage food operation to sell the baked good as a cottage food.