Training

New Cottage Food Training Course launches May 16, 2022!

Approach your home-based food business with confidence.  

Establishing a home-based food business takes work to get started and to stay current. Get a head start on understanding the laws, certifications, processes, and practices required to safely and legally run a cottage food operation in Illinois and learn how the newest laws give businesses room to grow and thrive.

  • Self-paced, online course
  • Expert overview of cottage food topics, including:
    • Legislation, prohibited foods, and certifications
    • Permitted sales avenues
    • General food safety practices
    • Refrigerated and frozen food requirements
    • Food preservation methods
    • Packaging and labeling
    • Zoning, insurance, and limitations for Chicago-area businesses
  • Legislative updates from Illinois' Home-to-Market Act (January 2022)
  • Course fee: $25 

This course works best when taken on a desktop/laptop computer or tablet. You’ll have unlimited access to the course and will be notified when any new information is posted. You also have the option to take part in the Question and Answer Forum to ask questions or post comments to other cottage food operators and expert instructors. At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. 

Please note: This course does not take the place of the American National Standards Institute accredited Certified Food Protection Managers course and exam required by the Illinois Department of Public Health for all cottage food operators and persons preparing or packaging products as part of a cottage food operation.

Course outline

1. Cottage Food Legislation

Understand cottage food laws, certifications, requirements, prohibited foods, and sales avenues - and learn about additional requirements for Chicago operators.

2. General Food Safety

Food poisoning affects 1 in 6 Americans each year. Protect yourself and your customers by following food preparation, handling, and storage best practices.

3. Refrigerated and Frozen Foods

Some home-prepared food and drinks require refrigeration to remain safe. Learn when and how to keep foods chilled.

4. Food Preservation

Learn the rules, approved methods, and equipment needed for preserving food safely by canning, dehydrating, or freezing.

5. Packaging and Labeling

Follow the law and support your customers with packaging that protects your homemade products and labeling that identifies ingredients and allergens.

6. The Business Side

Review FAQs to understand if you need insurance, if you must conform to local zoning laws, if you can sell to retail outlets, and more!

Enrollment instructions

If you do not have a Learn @ Illinois Extension account:

  1. Click go.illinois.edu/CottageFoodTraining.
  2. You will be asked to login to the Learn @ Illinois Extension site. Toward the bottom of the page, there is the Create Account button. Click that button to begin the account creation process. 
  3. When you complete the account creation process you will get an email asking you to confirm your account by clicking on a link that is in the email. 
  4. After you click the link, you will go to a page that acknowledges your account is confirmed and you should click the Continue button. 
  5. You will go directly to the enrollment page. Click the Pay button to enter your credit card information. 
  6. Upon completion of the payment, you will be enrolled in the course and taken to the course main page. The course will appear in your dashboard. 

If you already have a Learn @ Illinois Extension account:

  1. Click go.illinois.edu/CottageFoodTraining.
  2. You will be asked to login to the Learn @ Illinois Extension site. Login with your username and password. 
  3. Upon logging in, you will go directly to the enrollment page. Click the Pay button to enter your credit card information. 
  4. Upon completion of the payment, you will be enrolled in the course and taken to the course main page. The course will appear in your dashboard.