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Wisconsin Pickle Bill

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 6/16/2019


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

Contacts
Department
Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
Telephone
608-224-4682
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

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