Breen Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Promoting the Removal of Barriers to Small Businesses that Provide Local Foods

A group of bi-partisan state legislators have come together to announce a slate of bills that seeks to remove barriers to local food production in Illinois. The bill package, unveiled at a press conference hosted by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance this past week, also shows support of small businesses and Illinois farmers.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) participated in the press conference and discussed his HB 2466, which would broaden Illinoisans’ access to raw milk. “Consumers are demanding more food choices today,” said Breen. “They are looking for organic and locally-grown options, and a growing number of people are looking for unpasteurized milk. My House Bill 2466 will remove costly and unnecessary restrictions, to allow for the expansion of the safe production and distribution of raw milk beyond dairy farms and to local farmers’ markets across the state.” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has filed an identical bill in the Senate.

SB1469/HB2820, sponsored by Koehler and State Representative Steven Andersson (R-Geneva), would add additional allowable foods for production by Cottage Food Operations (homemade foods) and streamline certain farmers market food sanitation rules across counties. An additional bill, sponsored by State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), would expand the cottage food market even more. Guzzardi’s HB3063 would allow food producers to sell any harvested or homemade food to an informed end consumer for personal home use, without inspection or certification (excluding non-poultry meats). State Representative Carol Ammons (D–Champaign) is also advancing HB 2592, which would create a statewide permitting system for farmers’ markets.

State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) has introduced the Industrial Hemp bill (SB1294) which would create an opportunity for Illinois farmers to apply for permits from the Illinois Department of Agriculture in order to grow industrial hemp, reviving a once thriving market for Illinois farmers and processors. Neighboring Kentucky has a similar law in place and has already enrolled over 135 farmers, 4,500+ acres, and 40 processors in hemp projects.

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