(410 ILCS 625/3.3)
(a) The General Assembly finds as follows:
(1) Farmers' markets, as defined in subsection (b)
of this Section, provide not only a valuable marketplace for farmers and food artisans to sell their products directly to consumers, but also a place for consumers to access fresh fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products.
(2) Farmers' markets serve as a stimulator for local
economies and for thousands of new businesses every year, allowing farmers to sell directly to consumers and capture the full retail value of their products. They have become important community institutions and have figured in the revitalization of downtown districts and rural communities.
(3) Since 1999, the number of farmers' markets has
tripled and new ones are being established every year. There is a lack of consistent regulation from one county to the next, resulting in confusion and discrepancies between counties regarding how products may be sold. There continue to be inconsistencies, confusion, and lack of awareness by consumers, farmers, markets, and local health authorities of required guidelines affecting farmers' markets from county to county.
(6) Recognizing that farmers' markets serve as small
business incubators and that farmers' profit margins frequently are narrow, even in direct-to-consumer retail, protecting farmers from costs of regulation that are disproportionate to their profits will help ensure the continued viability of these local farms and small businesses.
(b) For the purposes of this Section:
"Department" means the Department of Public Health.
"Director" means the Director of Public Health.
"Farmers' market" means a common facility or area where the primary purpose is for farmers to gather to sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and other locally produced farm and food products directly to consumers.
This Section does not intend and shall not be construed to limit the power of counties, municipalities, and other local government units to regulate farmers' markets for the protection of the public health, safety, morals, and welfare, including, but not limited to, licensing requirements and time, place, and manner restrictions, except as specified in this Act. This Section provides for a statewide scheme for the orderly and consistent interpretation of the Department's administrative rules pertaining to the safety of food and food products sold at farmers' markets.
(m) The following provisions shall apply concerning statewide farmers' market food safety guidelines:
(1) The Director, in accordance with this Section,
shall adopt administrative rules (as provided by the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act) for foods found at farmers' markets.
(2) The rules and regulations described in this
Section shall be consistently enforced by local health authorities throughout the State.
(2.5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law
except as provided in this Section, local public health departments and all other units of local government are prohibited from creating sanitation guidelines, rules, or regulations for farmers' markets that are more stringent than those farmers' market sanitation regulations contained in the administrative rules adopted by the Department for the purposes of implementing this Section and Sections 3.4, 3.5, and 4 of this Act. Except as provided for in Sections 3.4 and 4 of this Act, this Section does not intend and shall not be construed to limit the power of local health departments and other government units from requiring licensing and permits for the sale of commercial food products, processed food products, prepared foods, and potentially hazardous foods at farmers' markets or conducting related inspections and enforcement activities, so long as those permits and licenses do not include unreasonable fees or sanitation provisions and rules that are more stringent than those laid out in the administrative rules adopted by the Department for the purposes of implementing this Section and Sections 3.4, 3.5, and 4 of this Act.
(3) In the case of alleged noncompliance with the
provisions described in this Section, local health departments shall issue written notices to vendors and market managers of any noncompliance issues.
(4) Produce and food products coming within the scope
of the provisions of this Section shall include, but not be limited to, raw agricultural products, including fresh fruits and vegetables; popcorn, grains, seeds, beans, and nuts that are whole, unprocessed, unpackaged, and unsprouted; fresh herb sprigs and dried herbs in bunches; baked goods sold at farmers' markets; cut fruits and vegetables; milk and cheese products; ice cream; syrups; wild and cultivated mushrooms; apple cider and other fruit and vegetable juices; herb vinegar; garlic-in-oil; flavored oils; pickles, relishes, salsas, and other canned or jarred items; shell eggs; meat and poultry; fish; ready-to-eat foods; commercially produced prepackaged food products; and any additional items specified in the administrative rules adopted by the Department to implement Section 3.3 of this Act.
(n) Local health department regulatory guidelines may be applied to foods not often found at farmers' markets, all other food products not regulated by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Public Health, as well as live animals to be sold at farmers' markets.
(p) The Department of Public Health and the Department of Agriculture shall adopt administrative rules necessary to implement, interpret, and make specific the provisions of this Section, including, but not limited to, rules concerning labels, sanitation, and food product safety according to the realms of their jurisdiction.
(q) The Department shall create a food sampling training and license program as specified in Section 3.4 of this Act.
(r) In addition to any rules adopted pursuant to subsection (p) of this Section, the following provisions shall be applied uniformly throughout the State, including to home rule units, except as otherwise provided in this Act:
(1) Farmers market vendors shall provide effective
means to maintain potentially hazardous food, as defined in Section 4 of this Act, at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. As an alternative to mechanical refrigeration, an effectively insulated, hard-sided, cleanable container with sufficient ice or other cooling means that is intended for the storage of potentially hazardous food shall be used. Local health departments shall not limit vendors' choice of refrigeration or cooling equipment and shall not charge a fee for use of such equipment. Local health departments shall not be precluded from requiring an effective alternative form of cooling if a vendor is unable to maintain food at the appropriate temperature.
(2) Handwashing stations may be shared by farmers'
market vendors if handwashing stations are accessible to vendors.
(Source: P.A. 100-488, eff. 6-1-18; 100-805, eff. 1-1-19; 101-81, eff. 7-12-19.)