Register a Cottage Food Operation

What is the Cottage Food Operation law?

Major changes took effect January 1, 2022 due to the passage of the Home-to-Market Act (Public Act 102-0633 amending 410 ILCS 625/4). This law allows certain foods made in home kitchens to be sold directly to consumers with limited regulation.

Refer to the law for a complete list of prohibited foods. The law does not allow these homemade products to be sold in any type of retail food establishment. Retail food establishments include but not limited to retail stores, grocery stores, and restaurants. In addition, the products must meet specific labeling requirements.

Food and drinks produced by a Cottage Food Operation shall be sold directly to consumers for their own consumption and not for resale. Sales directly to consumers include sales at or through:

  1. Farmers’ markets
  2. Fairs, festivals, public events, or online
  3. Pickup from the private home or farm of the cottage food operator in compliance with the Ordinance that applies equally to all home-based businesses
  4. Delivery to the customer
  5. Pick up from a third-party private property with the consent of the third-party property holder

If you wish to sell home-prepared foods at these locations, and the home that you prepare these foods is in Chicago, you must register with the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Can I ship food under this law?

Only food that is non-TCS may be shipped. Cottage food products cannot be shipped out of Illinois. Refer to the law for those restrictions.

How do I operate under this law?

If you would like to operate under the Cottage Food Operation law, please follow these steps:

(Step 1) Obtain an approved Food Protection Manager certificate.

If you are not already certified, click here to obtain more information.

(Step 2) Register with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

All applicants must submit a Cottage Food Application and Self-Certification Checklist.

In addition, only for Acidified and Fermented Foods, a Cottage Food Safety Plan and Hazard Analysis are required.

The completed documents may be returned to us via the following options:

Mail:

Chicago Department of Public Health

Food Protection Program

2133 W. Lexington Street, 2nd floor

Chicago, IL 60612

Fax:

312.746.4240

Allow 14 business days from the date of receiving to process your application.

Upon approval of the application, a registration number will be provided to you. You may need to take the registration number with you to other counties. Registrations must be renewed annually. Please notify us if your menu or contact information changes. 

Step 3) Follow all other requirements in the law.

Only the food and drinks approved on the application may be produced. The Cottage Food Operator is responsible for all other provisions in the law.

Are there any fees associated with operating under this law?

Any fees to register a Cottage Food Operation will be listed on the application. There are fees associated with the Food Protection Manager certification.

How can I obtain a paper copy of the registration form?

For more information or to request an application call 312.746.8030.

 

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