ILLINOIS: Ban on home-baked goods at market angers vendors

Posted: April 23rd, 2009 - 2:56am
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URBANA -- Sales of home-baked goods at Urbana's Market at the Square will no longer be allowed, according to officials with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
And that decision is upsetting some longtime vendors and city officials.
Jim Roberts, director of environmental health for the district, said the district has long allowed the sale of many home-baked goods at farmers' market. But he said that after he attended a January panel discussion about farmers' markets sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension Service and The Land Connection, and after checking with other area health departments, he felt compelled to revisit the issue.
Roberts said state law since 1999 has been clear that, in most instances, the sale of home-baked goods is prohibited.
The law makes exceptions if a bake sale is limited in nature (less than 14 continuous days of consecutive operation) or a fundraiser for a nonprofit, charitable organization or church.
But selling baked goods commercially on a weekly basis for several months a year is "a business," he said, and is not allowed under the law unless the baked goods are cooked in a certified kitchen with a permit from the health department.
Roberts said he checked with public health departments in Vermilion, McLean and Macon counties, and none of them allow the sale of home-baked goods at farmers' markets.
Alderwoman Heather Stevenson, R-Ward 6, criticized the new policy at Monday's city council meeting.
"I think it will harm the farmers' market to not have vendors offering baked goods," she said. "I will not stay silent. Most people who go to the farmers' market know it's not made in a commercial-grade kitchen."

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