Cottage Food Vendor

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If you wish to sell home baked goods at farmers' markets in Illinois, an Evanston resident may register with the Evanston Health Department as a Cottage Food Vendor.  Please note - eligibility to participate in a market is determined by individual municipalities 

TERM: Annual
FEE: None

 What is the Cottage Food Operation law?

The  Cottage Food Law became effective in Illinois on January 1, 2012. This law allows certain foods made in home kitchens to be sold at Illinois farmers’ markets with limited regulation. The purpose of the law is to promote and support the Illinois agriculture and cottage food industries.

The products that can be made in a home kitchen and sold at a farmers’ market include:
• Certain fruit-based jams, jellies and preserves.
• Fruit butters.
• Baked goods (i.e. breads, cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries).
• Dried foods (i.e. herbs and teas).

The law does not allow these homemade products to be sold in retail stores, on the internet, or any location other than an Illinois farmers’ market. In addition, the products must meet specific labeling requirements and the vendor must register the cottage food operation with the local health department where the business is located. The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a Technical Information Bulletin to address the specifics in this law.  An additional Bulletin was issued April 1, 2012 to clarify commonly asked questions.TIB 44a supplement.

For a list of allowable fruits refer to: Cottage Food Chart - Fruit

How do I operate under this new law?
If you would like to operate under the Cottage Food Operation law

First, obtain an Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) approved food service sanitation management certificate (FSSMC).
Go to our webpage  Certified Food Protection Manager Certificate for information and links to resources to obtain your certificate.

Follow all other requirements in the law.

You are responsible for all other provisions in the law including but not limited to:
• Product packaging,
• Product labeling,
• Displaying a placard with the required language,
• Not exceeding gross receipts of $25,000 in a calendar year from the sale of food exempted under this law, and
• Selling allowed foods only at farmers’ markets in Illinois.

Registration confirmation will be provided to you by the Evanston Health Department. You may need to take the registration confirmation with you to other counties. There is no fee for registration in the City of Evanston to operate under the Cottage Food Operations law. Registrations should be submitted to us annually. Please let us know whenever your contact information changes.


Cottage Food Industry Registration (printable version)

Cottage Food Industry Registration - Renewal (printable version)

Apply Online (preferred method):  Cottage Food Industry Registration

Renew Online(preferred method):  Cottage Food Industry Registration - Renewal

CONTACT: Ellyn Golden, Environmental Health Licensing Coordinator, (847) 866-2947 or