Skip to main content

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is different from every other state in that they allow homemade canned goods, but they don’t allow homemade baked goods. Also known as the “Pickle Bill”, this law was modeled after their neighboring state’s law, except that Minnesota’s law does allow baked goods as well as canned.

Wisconsin’s pickle bill is the most restrictive cottage food law in the United States. Aside from the food limitations, producers can only have up to $5,000 of sales per year, and they may only sell at farmers markets and other community events. All sales must be made in-person and go directly from the producer to the consumer. Home producers are allowed to make jams, jellies, pickled goods, sauces, and any other canned goods that are acidic enough to be safe (needs a pH under 4.6).

However, there is no registration process or cost necessary to start selling. The law exempts producers from needing to get a license, though the Department of Agriculture encourages sellers to test their product for safety and take some training to educate themselves on safe production practices.

Wisconsin introduced bills in 2014 (AB 182) and 2016 (SB 330), which attempted to allow direct sales of some baked goods, but they did not pass.

It’s strange that Wisconsin allows something relatively risky (canned goods) without allowing the least risky foods (baked goods). This is likely due to the presence of some special interest groups, like the Wisconsin Bakers Association. Since the opposition to homemade baked goods is merely political, three women partnered with the Institute of Justice in January 2016 to form a lawsuit challenging the ban on home-baked goods. One of the women, Lisa Kivirist, is the author of Homemade for Sale.

Selling

A sign must be displayed at the place of sale that says “These canned goods are homemade and not subject to state inspection.”

“Events” refers to “community or social events”. You cannot deliver to a private event, like a wedding.

Allowed Foods

All products need to have a pH level of 4.6 or below. The Department of Agriculture recommends the use of a pH meter or lab testing.

Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more

Limitations

Sales are limited to $5,000 per year

Business

Although no training is required, sellers are encouraged to educate themselves about safe canning practices. More information can be found in the “Training” section of the Ag Department’s home canned foods page.

Labeling

Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was made in a private home not subject to state licensing or inspection"


Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, WI 73531


Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)


Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy


Produced on 1/18/2017


Workplace

Although there are no official workplace requirements, the Department of Agriculture encourages sellers to maintain safe sanitation practices in their kitchen and keep records of the products they produce.  More information can be found in the “Record-keeping” and “Sanitation” sections of the Ag Department’s home canned foods page.

Resources

This page was last updated on

Comments

Can you sell baked goods that are made in a commercial grade kitchen that is located in the basement of your home, what are the legal consequences of selling baked goods from your home.

    You can probably build a commercial kitchen on your property, though that’s very expensive to do. You would need to communicate with the health dept throughout the process. The potential consequences of operating illegally are getting shut down, fined, and/or sued. All of those consequences have happened to people, but they’re rare. Usually what keeps people from selling illegally is their desire to follow the law.

Any particular guidance on small scale coffee roasting? 15-20 lbs per hour capability. Proposing to use primarily for non-profit fundraising.

Has there been an update on homemade baked goods in Wisconsin? Are we able to bake in Wisconsin and then sell across state lines?

or comment as a guest
* required (your email will not be displayed on the site)
Allowed tags