Regulation Questions

We have answers to your regulation questions.

Can cottage food operators sell a "take-n-bake" product?

No. These products would require temperature control to prevent bacterial growth and are not allowed for sale by a cottage food operation.

Is the sale of cottage foods limited to Illinois farmers and farm families?

No, residents of Illinois who hold a current Food Protection Manager Certification can complete an application in the county where they live at the Local Health Department to participate in the sale of specific home prepared foods..

Does the cottage food operation have to be registered with the local health authority?

Yes, the cottage food operation shall register with the Local Health Department (LHD) where the cottage food operation resides. Failure to register with the LHD will subject the cottage food operation to regulation by IDPH and/or IDOA.

Other references: Guide to Illinois Laws Governing Direct Farm Marketing, Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Does the cottage food operator need to be certified as a Certified Food Protection Manager?

Yes, The person preparing or packaging products as a cottage food operation must have an ANSI accredited Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) certificate. 

Can a cottage food operation be required to pay a registration fee?

Yes. The Public Acts permits the Local Health Department to charge a registration fee, not to exceed $50, provided the cottage food operation can meet all the conditions for exemption. However, neither Illinois Department of Public Health nor Illinois Department of Agriculture may charge a fee.

Is it the intent of the law that each vendor registers only once for a registration fee or can the local health department charge annually like a food permit? If the vendor changes information such as address or phone #, do they need to re-register with the health department?

A local health department may require that each vendor register annually. It is up to the discretion of each Local Health Department what the requirements are when the vendor changes information during the year. As an address change would be a new location for the cottage food operation, the Local Health Department may want to require notification/registration of any address changes.

What would the state recommend if a complaint is received and significant food safety violations are found at the cottage food operation?

In the event of a consumer complaint or foodborne illness outbreak, upon notice from a different local health department, or if the Department or a local health department has reason to believe that an imminent health hazard exists or that a cottage food operation’s product has been found to be misbranded, adulterated, or not in compliance with the conditions for cottage food operations, the Department or the local health department may:

  • Inspect the premises of a cottage food operation in question;
  • Set a reasonable fee for the inspection; and
  • Invoke penalties and the cessation of the sale of cottage food products until it deems that the situation has been addressed to the satisfaction of the Department or local health department; if the situation is not amenable to being addressed, the local health department may revoke the cottage food operation’s registration following a process outlined by the local health department.