Diversity in cottage food sales expected with new 2022 rules in Illinois
New cottage food rules under the Illinois Home to Market Act went into effect January 1st creating more opportunities to sell foods made in home kitchens.
Mary Liz Wright with University of Illinois Extension tells Brownfield she expects to see more diverse and creative homemade foods like baked goods that can now be sold at fairs, festivals and out of homes this year.
“Cottage food makers are getting educated, they’ve got great ideas, I think we are going to see some really creative bakers and home canners that are doing amazing things and I am looking forward to it.”
She says while there are strict food safety regulations in place and food items with a high risk of food born illness are not allowed, consumers should still use their best judgement before buying goods from a home kitchen.
“Just know full well going in, when you are purchasing a cottage food it has been made in someone’s home kitchen. This is not a commercial business. Go in with open eyes and something doesn’t appear as you’d expect it to be, don’t buy it. But, for the most part, 99% of people are going at this in the right way.”
Wright says there is a lot to learn with the new laws and so far, the top questions she’s received have been about labeling requirements, restrictions on alcohol infused products and how to bottle and store items like hot sauce. She recommends producers direct any questions to their local extension office.
Brownfield interviewed Wright at the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference in Springfield last week.