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Wisconsin Pickle Bill Can you legally sell food from home in Wisconsin?

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 Where can you sell homemade food products?

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 What food products can you sell from home?

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 How will your home food business be restricted?

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 What do you need to do to sell food from home?

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 How do you label cottage food products?

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 6/21/2024

Workplace Are there any home kitchen requirements?

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 Where can you find more information about this law?

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

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.

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