Three Wisconsin Farmers Challenge Homemade Baked Goods Law

Current law prohibits the sale of baked goods without a commercial license

Outfitting a commercial kitchen can cost anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000.

Three farmers, Lisa Kivirist, Kriss Marion, and Dela Ends, are challenging a Wisconsin law that prohibits them from selling their baked goods without a commercial license, reports Chicago Tribune. Under the current law, muffins, bread, and other baked goods have to be made in a commercial kitchen, which is subject to inspections and fees.

Outfitting a commercial kitchen is an expensive endeavor for a small baking business, and can cost approximately $40,000 to $80,000, according to attorney Erica Smith from the Institute of Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm helping the women file a lawsuit. Even renting a kitchen can cost over $1,000 per month. Lisa Kivirist, owner of Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast in Green County, says, “We're heading into our 20th year as a bed-and-breakfast, so those are a lot of muffins that we could have sold. We should be able to sell baked goods out of our kitchens in Wisconsin. We look at what other states have. Wisconsin is open for business, but not in this category.”

According to the Institute of Justice, only Wisconsin and New Jersey have such laws regulating baked goods. Homemade canned goods such as pickles, salsa, jams, and jellies, are treated differently. A ‘pickle bill’ allows limited sales of these goods without a license. Past proposals to allow the sale of baked goods without a license have failed to pass in previous years. Smith says, “It's not a legitimate government motive in having legislation that protects others from competition. This has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with economic protectionism.”

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