Under the provisions set forth in the Clay County Food Ordinance and the IDPH Food Service Sanitation Code, the Health Department’s Food Protection Program is responsible for permitting, regulating, and inspecting food establishments operating in Clay County. The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness and to promote safe food practices within the community. This goal is realized by surveying food operation procedures and by educating food handlers and the public on food safety.
Opening a New Food Establishment
Cottage Food Operations
Food Service Sanitation Management Certification
Food Handler Certification
Food Establishment Food Safety
Consumer Food Safety
Opening a Food Service Establishment in Clay County
The Division of Environmental Health welcomes new food service establishments to Clay County. Before your Food Service Establishment can begin operation, you must complete a Plan Review, obtain a Clay County Food Service Establishment Operating Permit, and pass a Pre-Opening Inspection. We encourage you to contact us early in the planning process.
Operating Permit Fees
Temporary Food Service Establishments
A Temporary Food Service Establishmentis defined by the Illinois Department of Public Health as a food service that operates at a fixed location for not more than 14 consecutive days, in conjunction with a single event or celebration.
Any person desiring to operate a Temporary Food Service Establishment in Clay County must comply with any existing county or city zoning provisions, where applicable, and shall submit an application for an operating permit on forms provided by the Clay County Health Department a minimum of five (5) business days prior to the proposed date of opening at the anticipated event. A $35.00 fee, payable to the Clay County Health Department, is required to obtain an Operating Permit to operate a Temporary Food Service Establishment within Clay County. Applications submitted to the Clay County Health Department less than five (5) business days prior to the proposed date of opening at the event specified on the application shall be assessed an additional $15.00 penalty fee.There is no fee for non-profit organizations.
Temporary Vendor Operating Permit Application
Self-Inspection Checklist for Vendors
IDPH Temporary Food Stand Safety
Cottage Food Operations
What is Cottage Food?
In accordance with the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act, individuals may register as a Cottage Food Operation. Cottage food operators shall register with the local health department where they reside. Clay County residents must submit to the Clay County Health Department a completed Cottage Food Application and other required documents prior to operation.
A cottage food operation may produce homemade food and drink provided that all of the required conditions are met. The Act does not specifically state what foods can be sold under a Cottage Food Operation. Instead, it outlines which foods cannot be sold or used as an ingredient. Prohibited foods include:
· Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or shellfish
· Dairy, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous baked good or candy or as an ingredient in a baked good frosting, such as buttercream
· Eggs, except as an ingredient in a non-potentially hazardous food, including dry noodles, or as an ingredient in a baked good frosting, such as buttercream, if the eggs are not raw
· Pumpkin pies, sweet potato pies, cheesecakes, custard pies, crème pies, and pastries with potentially hazardous fillings or toppings
· Garlic in oil or oil infused with garlic, except if the garlic oil is acidified
· Low-acid canned foods
· Cut leafy greens, except for cut leafy greens that are dehydrated, acidified, or blanched and frozen
· Cut of pureed fresh tomato or melon
· Dehydrated tomato or melon
· Frozen cut melon
· Wild-harvested, non-cultivated mushrooms
· Alcoholic beverages
All Cottage Food Operators and any person helping to prepare or package food products as part of the Cottage Food Operation must have completed a Certified Food Protection Manager course and passed the exam.
While once restricted to selling at Farmer’s Markets, a Cottage Food Operation now has many more options on where they sell their products. Cottage Food products may be sold anywhere in the State of Illinois. However, you may not sell outside of Illinois. Cottage Foods must be sold directly to the customer. This means that the food items can’t be sold to or by a third party, such as a restaurant, bakery, or retail store.
For more information, please review the below handouts. A full copy of the regulations may be found on the Illinois General Assembly website (www.ilga.gov) by searching “Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act”. If you have any questions or concerns about the foods you plan to produce, please contact the Clay County Health Department.
There is a $50 annual registration fee with the Clay County Health Department to operate under the Cottage Food allowances.
Cottage Food Application
Cottage Food Home Self-Certification Checklist
Food Safety Plan for Acidified and Fermented Foods
Clay County Cottage Food Guidelines
IL Dept of Public Health's Cottage Food Guide
Please contact the Clay County Health Department at (618) 662-4406 for more information or to request a paper copy of the registration form be mailed to you.
The following foods are allowed for sale or distribution at farmers’ markets with no restrictions:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, only minimally rinsed to remove visible soil, but otherwise unprocessed.
- Grains, seeds, beans, and nuts (whole, unprocessed, and unsprouted)
- Popcorn (un-popped; kernels can be removed from the cob)
- Fresh herb sprigs; dried herbs in bunches (only cut for harvesting, minimally rinsed to remove visible soil)
- Honey in the comb or removed from the comb in an unadulterated condition is exempt if the producer packs or sells less than 500 gallons.
Other foods may only be allowed if certain conditions are met. 2013 – Sanitation Guidelines for Farmers Markets provides guidance on foods allowed or prohibited for sale at farmers’ markets.
Baked Sales as Fundraisers
Non-profit organizations – including churches, civic, and school-affiliated groups – may conduct occasional bake sales with the intent to raise funds for an organization or charity. The funds generated must go to benefit the organization or charity. Allowable baked goods include, but are not limited to, breads, cookies, cakes, and fruit pies.
IDPH Temporary Food Stand Safety
Food Handler Certification (FHC)
Effective July 2014, the State of Illinois is requiring ALL food handlers in restaurants to attend food handler training and obtain a food handler certificate (FHC). Any food handler working in the state of Illinois, unless that person has a valid Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC), is required to have food handler training within 30 days of employment and every 3 years thereafter. Food handler means an “individual working with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces.”
All food handlers working in non-restaurants will be required to have training completed by July 1, 2016.
Overview of the FHC Requirement
Food Handler Training FAQ
ANSI-Accredited Food Handler Training Course (IDPH)
Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM)
The Food Code requires at least one designated Person in Charge (PIC) to be in the food establishment during all hours of operation. This includes times of preparation, service, and clean-up. The PIC is the individual present at a food establishment who is responsible for the operation at the time. If the Health Department shows up and asks, “Who is the Person in Charge?” everyone at the establishment should know who the designated PIC is.
- Any employee serving as the PIC in a High Risk (Category I) or Medium Risk (Category II) food establishment must have ANSI accredited Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) certification.
- Employees serving as the PIC in Low Risk (Category III) food establishments are exempt from the ANSI CFPM certification requirement.
Contact the health department for online and local listings of Certified Food Protection Manager classes.
Food Safety Education for Food Service Establishments
Aside from establishment inspections, we strive to educate food service managers and operators on proper food safety practices and HACCP principles. It is our belief that increased education is the greatest defense against foodborne illnesses. Food safety documents and links are listed below:
Proper Handwashing Procedure
Keeping Food Safe During A Power Outage
Boil Order Guidelines for Food Establishments
Consumer Food Safety
The following information will help you to select, store, and prepare foods properly.
Basics for Handling Food Safely
Check Your Steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill
Safe Minimum Cook Temperatures
Cleanliness Helps Prevent Foodborne Illiness
Cooking Safely in the Microwave Oven
Food Safety While Hiking, Camping, and Boating
Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out
Frozen Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When To Throw Out
Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency
The following websites will provide you with the latest information on food recalls and alerts, as well as food illness outbreaks. If you have a product on the list, review the recall notice and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disposing of the product safely.
Meat, Poultry, and Processed Egg Products
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues recalls on meat, poultry, and egg products:
Food, Pet Food, and Farm Animal Feed
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has jurisdiction over recalls on other food, as well as pet food and animal feed