Learn more about recipe testing.
What is a commercial laboratory?
A commercial laboratory is a laboratory which performs fee for service analysis. It accepts samples from the public. Such a laboratory may be certified in one or more categories of accreditation. The Illinois Department of Public Health or the University of Illinois laboratories will not perform these services. See Food Testing Labs for a list of tabs? for an incomplete list of accredited labs. The University of Illinois does not endorse any of the listed labs.
What food testing is involved with the testing and documenting of a recipe?
pH testing (acidity): A food is "acidified" if:
- acid or acid ingredients are added to it to produce a final equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below
- it is fermented to produce a final equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below.
Does each product need to be tested and documented?
Not every product needs to be tested; however, in order to sell a fermented or acidified food, a cottage food operation shall either:
- Submit a recipe that has been tested by the United States Department of Agriculture or a cooperative extension system located in Illinois or any other state in the United States.
- Submit a written food safety plan for each category of products for which the cottage food operator uses the same procedures, such as pickles, kimchi, or hot sauce, and a pH test for a single product that is representative of that category; the written food safety plan shall be submitted annually upon registration and each pH test shall be submitted every 3 years; the food safety plan shall adhere to guidelines developed by the Department.
And in order to sell canned tomatoes or tomato products, a cottage food operation shall either:
- Follow exactly a recipe that has been tested by the United States Department of Agriculture National Center for Home Food Preservation or by a state cooperative extension located in this State or any other state in the United States; or
- Submit the recipe, at the cottage food operator’s expense, to a commercial laboratory according to the commercial laboratory’s directions 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 annual test results of the recipe submitted under this subparagraph upon registration and to an inspector upon request during any inspection authorized subsection (d).