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As I See It

Homemade cookies should be legal



Wisconsin may be the cheese state, but we love our cookies too. Especially homemade cookies. But it turns out it is illegal for people to sell their homemade cookies. While those who make their own jams and jellies, or syrup or honey are able to legally sell their homemade treats in Wisconsin, it remains illegal for home bakers to sell their cookies, or muffins, or breads. At least it is illegal without first getting a license allowing them to operate what the law says is a “retail food establishment.” Failing to get licensed could lead to fines up to $1000, and six months in jail. But getting licensed is expensive, as opening a commercially licensed kitchen could cost up to $80,000. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. A group of bakers on the other side of the state wants to be able to sell their delicious treats to the public without having to make such an investment. They are now suing the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, arguing the ban on selling homemade cookies is unconstitutional. It is unclear how much legal ground they are standing on, but the Legislature could avoid a court fight by simply making it legal for home bakers to sell their treats to the public. It shouldn’t be a jailable offense just for selling fresh chocolate chip cookies.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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