Thursday, May 26, 2011

Selling at a Farmer's Market in Illinois

It's Farmer's Market time here in Illinois and many individuals have inquired as to how can they sell their home made foods at the market.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has guidelines for Farmer's Markets that are provided to give guidance to local health departments.  To view these guidelines, see: http://www.agr.state.il.us/farmersmarket/IDPH_TIBF30.pdf

In the Farmer's Market guidelines, it states, "Operators of stands and concessions who wish to sell products other than fresh, uncut, unprocessed produce must contact each local health department in which they will be operating to obtain specific requirements including necessary inspections, food permits or licenses."

What this means is that if you want to sell your cookies, cakes, jams, etc you must follow the requirements of the individual health departments.  Most Illinois health departments now require that all foods for sell be produced in an inspected kitchen and that the food handler be certified by IDPH.

However, in these tough economic times, the Illinois House on May 23, 2011 approved a measure that would allow vendors to prepare foods in their home kitchens and it is now headed to Governor Pat Quinn for his consideration.

This new law, if passed, would limit the types of foods that could be prepared in a home kitchen for resale. Only foods designated as not potentially hazardous would quality to be cooked in a home kitchen.

In addition, the vendor must not gross over $25,000 a year. It would still require that the vendor have an IDPH sanitation certificate (see previous blog entries on how to become a certified food handler).

So stay tuned...if this bill passes it could be much, much easier for you to sell your home baked or prepared products to the public.

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