Home Cooking

Want to Sell Your Homemade Pies and Jams? Not in Cook County.

June 04 2012 - 7:41 AM

Most people have a neighbor who makes a mean apple pie, or a great blackberry jam, or who bakes the best bread around. A new Illinois law makes it easier for regular people to sell those goods at farmer’s markets, provided they register with local government and label their food “uncertified.”

Not in Cook County, however. Illinois Statehouse News reports that despite applications from residents, the Cook County Board of Health has refused to review their submissions, citing a loophole in the Illinois Local Food Entrepreneur and Cottage Food Operation Act. The act states that “a unit of local government” must review the applications, and the Cook County Health Department has said, summarily, that it’s not their job.

Across Illinois, other health departments have taken up the applications without a fuss, and considering that only about a dozen applications have been filed in Cook County, it hardly seems like an burden for the county’s health department. Wes King, policy director for food advocacy group Illinois Stewardship Alliance, told the Statehouse News that the county’s decision has more to do with politics: “It seems that they’ve made it personal,” King said. “I think they don’t like the law in general.”

–Kate Bernot