Food Safety

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 Food Service Establishment in Clay County

Temporary Food Service Establishments

Farmers’ Markets

Cottage Food Operations

Bake Sales as Fundraisers

Food Service Sanitation Management Certification (FSSMC)

Food Handler Certification (FHC)

Food Safety Education for Food Service Establishments

Consumer Food Safety

Food Recalls

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 

Farmers’ Markets

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.   Sanitation Guidelines for Farmers Markets provides guidance on foods allowed or prohibited for sale at farmers markets.

Cottage Food Operations


The Cottage Food Operation law (P.A.097-0393) became effective in Illinois on January 1, 2012. This new law allows certain foods made by individuals in home kitchens to be sold at Illinois farmers’ markets with limited regulation. Non-profit organizations – including churches, civic, and school-affiliated groups – do not fall within the scope of the Cottage Food Operation law. 

The products that can be made in a home kitchen and sold at a farmers’ market include:

  • Certain fruit-based jams, jellies and preserves
  • Certain fruit butters
  • Baked goods (i.e. breads, cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries)
  • Dried foods (i.e. herbs and teas) 

In addition, the products must be properly labeled, annual gross receipts from sales must be $25,000 or less, the “cottage food operation” must be registered with the local health department where the business is located, and the person preparing and selling the food must have a valid Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate.  The law does not allow these homemade products to be sold in retail stores or any location other than an Illinois farmers’ market. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued Technical Information Bulletin #44 to address the specifics in this law. An additional Technical Information Bulletin #44a was issued April 1, 2012 to clarify commonly asked questions.

There is no fee to register with the Clay County Health Department to operate under the Cottage Food Operations law. However, there are fees associated with the food service sanitation management certification training, certificate, and related renewal courses. 

For a complete list of the foods allowed to be sold, or for more information on how to operate under this law, refer to the following documents:


How to Register as a Cottage Food Operation 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Allowable & Prohibited Food Chart

Commercial Laboratories

Labeling Example

Application to Register a Cottage Food Operation

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. 

Bake 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 charityThe 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. 

            Guidelines for Bake Sales as Fundraisers


Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC)

How many of my employees need to have FSSMC?

Category I facilities must have a certified manager on the premises at all times that potentially hazardous food is being handled/prepared.

Category II facilities must have at least one full-time certified food service manager on staff.

Category III facilities do not require the operational supervision of a certified food service sanitation manager.

Any new establishment shall have a certified manager from the initial day of operation or provide documentation of enrollment in an approved course to be completed within three months. Original certificates of certified managers shall be maintained at the place of business and shall be made available for inspection upon request.

Important Changes:

Effective January 1, 2014:

The State of Illinois-sponsored FSSMC exam for initial certification will be eliminated.

Instructors are required to administer a Conference for Food Protection (CFP) / American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved exam. 

Although the State of Illinois will no longer sponsoring exams, an Illinois FSSMC is still required by the Illinois Food Code.

Effective July 1, 2014:

The training hour requirement for initial FSSMC certification is reduced from 15 hours down to 8 hours. An exam must be taken and passed with a score of 75% or greater.  The eight-hour class time includes time for the exam.  FSSMC certification is valid for a period of 5-years.

The 5-hour refresher course for recertification will be eliminated. 

When a FSSMC expiration date nears, recertification must be accomplished by completing an eight-hour training course. A test must be taken and passed with a score of 75% of greater. The eight-hour class time includes time for the exam.

The Illinois Department of Public health will allow reciprocity of CFP-approved manager certifications for individuals meeting the Illinois training hour requirement who have moved to or began working in Illinois six months prior to applying for reciprocity.  

Where can I find a FSSMC course?

The Illinois Department of Public Health website allows you to search FSSMC course schedules by narrowing down search results by county, region, course type, course date, language, instructor/sponsor name, and/or course status.

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 FAQs (IDPH)

ANSI-Accredited Food Handler Training Courses (IDPH)   

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 Procedures 

Handwashing Poster 

Cooling Procedures 

Temperature Requirements

Keeping Food Safe during a Power Outage 

Boil Order Operating 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 Cooking Temperatures 

Cleanliness Helps Prevent Foodborne Illness 

Grilling Safety 

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 

Food Recalls

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:   FSIS Recalls and Alerts

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:  FDA Recalls, Market Alerts and Safety Alerts



Where We Are Located

601 E 12th Street 
Flora IL 62839
Phone: (618) 662-4406
Fax:     (618) 662-2801


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