The Right to Bake in Wisconsin Leads to New Lawsuit Over the Definition of a Baked Good



Here’s some cookie jar, half-filled, great news despite the pandemic: The surge of new home-based food businesses. Whether as a result of being laid off or simply inspired into action to follow a long-standing dream of running their own food business from home, tens of thousands of people are taking advantage of their state’s cottage food law, launching an enterprise from their home kitchen by selling baked goods, canned items, candies and other non-hazardous, shelf-stable items.

Most state cottage food laws allow the sale of non-hazardous baked items, which, in the simplest of terms, means baked food products that do not require refrigeration and have a low water content. Many state-specific, cottage food laws also cover high acid canned items, like jams or pickles, and a host of other items.

For homesteaders like ourselves, the cottage food laws provide a way to diversify income, create baked goods made with organic ingredients, like pumpkin or zucchini, we grow ourselves, and simply expand what we are doing already, just now selling items to our community for profit. We produce a few more loaves of bread or jars of jam and bring those to a farmers’ market along with our fresh produce.

According to research of registered cottage food producers across the country by the Institute for Justice, these home-based food entrepreneurs skew female and value the flexibility and financial support offered by their businesses. They enjoy the opportunity their cottage food business gives them to be creative, while being their own boss. Given the current economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such needs are further exemplified.

Cookie Crusaders Fight for Food Justice in Wisconsin

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