Judge allows home bakers to sell directly to consumers

Judge allows home bakers to sell directly to consumers.(WLUK)

(WLUK) -- Sometimes people who have what they believe is quite the home-made cookie recipe have wanted to sell what they've made, but the law has said not so fast.

Thanks to a recent ruling by a Wisconsin judge, home bakers can now do that.

"I've always been really interested in cooking and baking," said Naomi Dvorachek of Hollandtown.

Dvorachek makes several varieties of organic granola, including one she calls 'very berry cherry granola.'

"I've just had my friends and family telling me for years, 'you need to make a business out of this.' And I'm like, 'Wisconsin needs to make it legal for me to be able to afford to do this business," Dvorachek told FOX 11.

That day is here, thanks to a lawsuit filed by three home-bakers. This week, a Wisconsin judge ruled that the licensing requirements for home-baked goods "...are unconstitutional as applied to the Plaintiffs and all other similarly situated individuals." That includes people like Dvorachek.

Click here to read the judge's order and supplemental decision.

"This decision is great, long overdue," Dvorachek said.

The judge had found the ban unfairly benefits business interests.

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Justice says the agency is currently reviewing the judge's decision with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Neither agency offered any further comment.

In its arguments in the case, the state had argued that the decision "...must be left to the Legislature." And noted that “…the Legislature has declined to enact this new exemption from the food licensing laws."

The state also said the case is about safety arguing "…licensing laws serve legitimate bases of protecting public health and safety, and also promoting confidence in the food system."

"The ban on selling home baked goods had nothing to do with safety," said Erica Smith, an attorney from the Institute for Justice who was the lead lawyer in the case for the home bakers.

"The only restriction is that home bakers can only sell goods that are non-hazardous, meaning they don't have to be refrigerated, and they can only sell directly to consumers. So, they can't sell to grocery stores or restaurants," Smith said.

"I'm not trying to get rich doing this. I'm just trying to make a little bit of extra money to support our family," Dvorachek said. She also says she plans to get right to work.

"On my Facebook page, I'm going launch my celebrating Wisconsin is open for bakery business and make a whole bunch of granola and finally put it for sale," Dvorachek said.

There's no word on whether the state will appeal the decision.

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