University of Illinois Extension launches website addressing Illinois Cottage Food Laws

By University of Illinois Extension

Have a favorite recipe for fruit pies that everyone loves? Thinking of making some extra cash by selling them at a local farmers’ market this spring? Then check out the new website being launched by University of Illinois Extension that addresses the Illinois Cottage Food Laws. The website, “From Garden Gates to Dinner Plates” (, is a great resource giving vendors, consumers, and farmers’ market managers additional information about cottage foods, food safety, food labeling and preservation.

This new website will help you to not only navigate through the rules and regulations, but also answer questions such as what foods are permitted to be made and sold by a Cottage Food Operation, as well as what information must be included to meet the labeling requirements” said Diane Reinhold, nutrition and wellness educator with U of I Extension.

The Cottage Food Laws are specifically for vendors preparing products in their home kitchen and then selling at farmers’ markets. Cottage food operators must have a current Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Management certificate and be registered with the local county health department. These laws give vendors rules and regulations allowing them to sell items at farmers’ markets that otherwise they would be unable to sell.

It means that while I’m able to purchase what I usually find at farmers’ markets, I can now pick up local breads, jams and jellies that complement them,” said Grant McCarty, U of I Extension educator, local foods and small farms. “It allows for more diversity at farmer markets and can be a draw to help other vendors.”

For more about upcoming programming in local foods, nutrition and wellness, visit or call (815) 235-4125.

From the Dec. 18-24, 2013, issue

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