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Wisconsin Pickle Bill

Cottage Food Law

For many years, Wisconsin allowed canned goods without allowing baked goods, unlike every other state. As of 2017, Wisconsin now has a ruling that allows homemade baked goods. This older law, also known as the “Pickle Bill”, is still in place for canned good sales.

This law is very restrictive. Producers can sell up to $5,000 per year of canned goods at farmers markets and other community events. They are allowed to make jams, jellies, pickled goods, sauces, and any other canned goods that are acidic enough to be safe. To sell baked goods, use this law.

There is no registration process to start selling, though the Department of Agriculture encourages sellers to test their product for safety and take some training to educate themselves on safe production practices.

Prior to 2017, it made no sense that Wisconsin would allow canned goods, which are relatively risky, and not allow baked goods, some of the least risky foods. This was likely due to the presence of some special interest groups, like the Wisconsin Bakers Association, who were concerned about competition from home bakers.

Since the opposition to homemade baked goods was 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.

This 2010 Pickle Bill was modeled after Minnesota’s former law, except that Minnesota’s law allowed baked goods. In 2013, Minnesota’s ag department was also sued, and as of 2015, the state now has a better law.

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.

You can sell baked goods from home by following this ruling.

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Allowed Foods

Prohibited 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.

You can sell homemade baked goods by following this ruling.

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

The $5,000 sales limit only applies to sales of your canned goods. You can sell an unlimited amount of homemade baked goods by following this ruling.

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 12/3/2020


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

2009 Wisconsin Act 101Official Site for Home Canned Foods in WisconsinSelling Home-canned Foods BrochureFacebook PageUW Food Safety, & Health Extension

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.

Contacts
Department
Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
Telephone
(608) 224-5012
About
For legal information
Organization
University of Wisconsin
Telephone
(608) 263-7383
About
For information about safe home-canning practices
Law Dates
February 2010
AB 229

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Comments

you would think the stores would have to go through more regulations when having doughnuts sit in a case on trays lined up in rows…kids can get in to those cases and place their dirty fingers on each one or a person going to get can touch another one they don’t want…and what if somebody else buys the one that was touched and gets sick…you see….it’s more dangerous for stores selling then what it is for home sales….and for cupcakes too….why can’t they be sold from home….using the labels would safe guard any foods with fillings inside or icing on top…for these foods you make and sale them the same day…i never placed cupcakes in the refrig once i make them….if they don’t get eaten in 2 days….i throw them away…so if the label states when they were made and it’s wrapped why can’t they be then sold…i don’t think people can be that stupid not to know when to throw something away….i think these laws for home baked goods need to change a little more for the better

ok this is making my head spin….1 law states you can’t sale home made salsa and things like that but this one says you can but it has to be at a farmers market or an event….well what if you have no car or somebody to drive you to these places to sale your goods….then what….these laws are still messed up to me….you can sale some cookies but not other cookies….i never places chocolate chip cookies in the refrig so why can’t you sale them….an if you can’t sell baked goods with icing on top of them then how comes the stores can and cupcakes set in their casings for hours on end with people around…it just doesn’t seem right to me