Illinois Senate Bill 804 passed both houses and has been sent to Governor Quinn on June 24th for his signature. The "Illinois Local Food Entrepreneur and Cottage Food Operation Act" would allow individuals to produce non-potentially hazardous foods in their own homes for direct sale to consumers and at Illinois farmer's markets. If signed by the governor, this will mean that small food entrepreneurs will be able to produce non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jellies, preserves, fruit butters, dry herb or tea blends intended for end-use only, in their own kitchen.
All I I can say is "YEAH -- it's about time!"
It's about time that Illinois join the 17 other states who have similar laws that allow foods not associated with food borne illness to be prepared in your own home kitchen for sale to the public. For individuals who want to start a small food business, this potential law would mean that you can start your dream in your own kitchen as opposed to having to rent a commercial kitchen.
However, there are limitations on the foods you can prepare in your own home. The law would allow the following jams, jellies and preserves: Apple, apricot, grape, peach, plum, quince, orange, nectarine, tangerine, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry, red currants, or a combination of these fruits. You would not be allowed to sell rhubarb, tomato or pepper jellies or jams.
Any other jams, jellies or preserves not listed above may be produced by a cottage food operation provided that their recipe has been tested and documented by a commercial laboratory as being not potentially hazardous (ie. has a pH of less than 4.6).
The following fruit butters would be allowed: apple, apricot, grape, peach, plum, quince, and prune. Pumpkin, banana and pear butter are not allowed. Again, if a cottage food operation wants to sell a fruit butter not listed on the allowed list, they would have to have their recipe tested and documented by a commercial laboratory as containing a pH of less than 4.6.
Baked goods such as breads, cookies, cakes, pies and pastries are allowed. Only high-acid fruit pies (apple, apricot, grape, peach, plum, quince, orange, nectarine, tangerine, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry, red currants or a combination of these fruits) is allowed. The same rule applies as above if you want to make a fruit pie from other fruits not listed -- the recipe must be tested and documented by a commercial laboratory as containing a pH of less than 4.6.
Pumpkin, sweet potato, cheesecake, custard and cream pies and pastries are prohibited from sale.
In addition, gross receipts from the sale of food produced from your home must not exceed $25,000 in a calendar year.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that Governor Quinn signs this bill.
Until next time,