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Cottage Food Law

Wisconsin is a lucky state. That is because Lisa Kivirist, a co-author of Homemade For Sale, lives there, and without her dedication and rallying others’ support, it is quite possible that the below allowance for selling homemade baked goods would not exist.

Wisconsin tried to change their law for many years, but they were always thwarted by strong politic efforts from the Wisconsin Bakers Association and the Wisconsin Grocer’s Association, which were concerned about competition. What is most curious about this state is that they already had a pickle bill, which allows for the sale of home-canned goods (products with higher food safety risks).

With many unsuccessful attempts at changing the law (2013 AB 182 & 2015 SB 330), the restriction for home bakers was finally overturned by a lawsuit against the state, which took over two years to come to a full resolution. Kivirist led this successful effort with fellow plaintiffs Kriss Marion and Dela Ends, with legal support from Erica Smith at the Institute for Justice. The opposition from the associations were so strong that the judge had to clarify his ruling twice, and clearly became annoyed at their efforts to restrict home bakers.

Wisconsin joins Minnesota as the only states that created an allowance for cottage foods through a lawsuit. It is also now one of a handful of states that has no law allowing cottage food operations (and doesn’t need one). However, a bill like 2017 SB 271 may be passed in the future, which would clarify (and probably slightly restrict) the current allowances.

For now, home cooks can sell their non-PHF baked goods directly to anyone in the state, and there is no limit on how much they can sell. Cooks can also sell home-canned goods by using the pickle bill.

Because there is no official regulation for home bakers in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Farmers Union created, which provides excellent and reasonable guidance for home cooks. All home bakers should read through that entire website. There is also a Facebook page with provides updates.


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Allowed Foods

All of your products must be baked goods that are non-PHFs (do not require refrigeration). If your product is not a baked good, OR if it requires refrigeration, it is not allowed under this law. You can sell up to $5,000 of home-canned goods by using the pickle bill. If you are unsure about whether your product is a non-PHF, you can get it tested in a lab for about $25. You are allowed to make basic frostings for your baked items. Frostings that contain cream or eggs, and require refrigeration, are not allowed.

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


There is no sales limit


Local Regulations

Although you do not need any licensing or permission from the state to start your business, your local town or county may have requirements for home-based businesses.


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 10/22/2020

There are NO current requirements for labeling, but the Wisconsin Farmers Union strongly recommends following the labeling requirements in the pickle bill, which is shown above. Again, this is optional, but highly recommended.


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Starting a cottage food business?


Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Cottage Food Business

(Some of them just might surprise you!)


The sample label says that chocolate chip cookies are not allowed to be sold by home bakers in Wisconsin. Can anyone clarify/explain why?

question….with being married to a native we make maple syrup….now it says above that syrups are not aloud to be sold but yet we know lots of natives who buys from other people and sales it to places where it gets sold to other people and they too sale it….also….with chocolates….i didn’t sale but i sent my children who live in maryland a big package of different candies like chocolate clusters, candy flowers, different kinds of cookies, fudge and i sent it all over night delivery so why couldn’t it be done and why would chocolate not be aloud to sale, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and should you have a food handlers card

Where do I obtain a permit (or register) for operating under the Cottage Food Law? I live in Burnett County, Wisconsin and cannot find any information (so far) online.

The entry for Wisconsin needs to be updated. Legislation allowing home baked goods passed in October 2017 and was expanded in February 2018.

My daughter and I are growing herbs with the intention of drying for teas. Can dried herbs be sold at farmers market under the pickle law?