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LICENSING

Wisconsin has a vibrant local foods economy and you will find customers eager for your products. Be sure to follow the rules that govern preparation and sale of foods to help ensure public health and protect your brand! 

 

There are some opportunities to sell certain farm and home-prepared food products in Wisconsin without a license. While a license is required to prepare food that is potentially hazardous, food that will be sold or given to another business for further sale (wholesale), and food sold outside of Wisconsin, a license is not required for some homemade foods sold within the state.

Do I need a license to sell at the market?

Whether or not a vendor needs a license is determined by the type of product a vendor is offering for sale at the market.

 

Vendors do not need to have a license to sell fresh produce and flowers they have grown, raw unaltered honey or maple syrup they have harvested,  canned fruits and vegetables (naturally acidic or acidified by pickling or fermenting) they have made in their home kitchen, ​ or original art that they have made from scratch. 

Vendors offering processed foods or "ready to eat foods" - anything cooked, baked, processed, a product that is "potentially hazardous" (needs refrigeration or otherwise temperature sensitive and perishable) are required to have a license.

In most cases, if you are asking yourself if you need a license – you do need a license.

Let us look at some of the most common products sold at the market. Please note that this list is not all inclusive and if you have any further questions- reach out to the market manager for more information.

No License Required

 

Produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always in season when it comes to selling the bounty of your harvest. No license is required to sell raw, intact fruits and vegetables. Growers should follow Good Agricultural Practices in planting, growing, and harvesting fresh produce and may need to meet requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. Growers may rinse freshly harvested produce in clean water, remove roots, and package in bulk for delivery. A license is required if fruits and vegetables are cut, sliced, peeled, frozen, or otherwise processed before sale.

 

Canned Fruit/ Jams and Jellies. Home-canned fruits and jams and jellies made in Wisconsin may be sold at farmers’ markets or community events in the state. Items must be low-pH (4.6 or below), canned in a home kitchen, and sales are limited to $5,000 per person per year. Canned goods must be properly labeled, including an ingredient statement, and a notice posted at the point of sale letting consumers know the product is homemade and not subject to state inspection. Note: sales of home-canned fruits and acidified vegetables are limited to farmers’ markets and community or social events. 

 

Honey. No license required for honey sold as beekeeper’s own and no added color, flavors, or ingredients, including air incorporated by whipping. 

 

Maple Syrup. Producers of maple syrup may bottle and sell their product at retail without a license as long as no other food processing activities are occurring. Product must be accurately labeled. 

 

Pickled Vegetables (Canned). Home-canned pickled vegetables made in Wisconsin may be sold at farmers’ markets in the state without a license. These items must be low-pH (under 4.6), the items must be made in a home kitchen and sales are limited to $5,000 per person per year. Canned goods must be properly labeled, including an ingredient statement, and a notice posted at the point of sale letting consumers know the product is homemade and not subject to state inspection. 

 

A Wisconsin law in 2011, sometimes called the ‘pickle bill’, allows limited sales of home-canned acid or acidified foods without a license. Products must be produced in a home kitchen, sales are limited to $5,000 per year, and must be direct to consumers; farmers’ markets are one of the approved sales locations. Labeling of the product must include: “This product was made in a private home not subject to state licensing or inspection.” 

License Required

A license is issued annually to an individual at a specific location and may cover a number of different activities. While some food businesses may choose to build a dedicated processing facility on their property, most businesses start out renting a kitchen space. Small businesses may hold a license in a church kitchen, at a local community center, or at a dedicated shared-use facility (entrepreneurial center). Certain foods may require a specific license type with specific facility requirements. In general, a retail license is issued for food that is prepared and sold directly to the consumer; a food processing plant license allows the preparation of foods for sale through both wholesale and retail channels. 

Menomonie Farmers Market partners with Dunn Co Public Health Department to ensure all vendors are in full compliance with the current regulations in regards to prepared foods offered for sale at the market.   Please contact Amy Arbetan, REHS  Environmental Health Specialist   (via phone: 715-232-2388 - select the option for Environmental Health; or email: Dunn_EH@co.dunn.wi.us) to talk through the sales of non-potentially hazardous foods prepared in a home kitchen. 

Note: Foods prepared under Cottage Foods Laws in other states may not be sold in Wisconsin.

 

Bakery items must be prepared in a commercial kitchen under license. A retail license would be required for sale of potentially hazardous baked goods at locations such as farm markets or county fairs. 

Beef, pork, lamb, poultry and other meat items must be processed in a licensed meat establishment and require a retail license for sales at a farmers’ market. 

Dairy products such as fluid milk, cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt must be processed at a licensed facility and a mobile retail license is required for sales at farmers’ markets. 

Eggs from the farm find eager customers at farmers’ markets. Small-scale egg producers may package eggs for sale on a sales route or at farmers’ markets. A retail license is required. 

Fish and seafood sold at a farmers’ market must be processed at a licensed retail food establishment or food processing plant. A retail license is required. 

Juice products sold at a farmers’ market must generally be processed at a licensed retail food establishment or food processing plant. 

Pet foods must meet standards similar to human foods and are manufactured under license. 

Processed fruits and vegetables, including frozen, cut, peeled, or sliced fruits and vegetables must be produced under license for sale at farmers’ markets. A retail license would be required for sale of items such as frozen or cut vegetables that must be kept cold. 

Sauces and condiments such as applesauce may be exempted from licensing if home canned, but other shelf-stable sauces, dressings, and condiments would be prepared under a license. 

A license will be required either to sell and/or to process many products that may be sold at a farmers’ market. Licensing is generally required if ‘exempt’ sales are over the allowed amount or for out-of-state sales – only raw, intact fruits and vegetables may generally be sold across state lines without a license. Potentially hazardous items such as eggs, fresh meats, and baked goods that require refrigeration, will generally require a mobile retail license/transient license. Other licenses apply to the production or manufacture of certain types of foods or beverages. Local ordinances may require further licensing. 

NOTE: Vendors from outside of Wisconsin must comply with Wisconsin regulations to sell in the state. Call the Licensing Specialists to see if your idea ‘fits’ with what is allowed. Licensing Specialists at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will direct vendors to the licensing requirements for their individual business. Contact DATCP Licensing Specialists at 608-224-4923 or datcpdfslicensing@wi.gov 

NOTE: In spite of what many websites say, Wisconsin does not have a cottage food law! Please refer to official documents for accurate, up-to-date information. 

It is responsibility of vendors to display a license (if any) in their booth. It is recommended that vendors group products sold under a license together and away from products that are not sold under a license.

A copy of a license(s) must be submitted with an application to be approved to participate at the market.

FRESH PRODUCE

No license is required

Processed produce

(dehydrated, peeled, cut,  fried, etc)

Commercial Kitchen, Food Processing Plant license is required

Pure maple syrup and pure honey

No License is required

Infused maple syrup and honey

Food Processing Plant license is required

Canned acidified vegetables/ chutneys/salsa / preserves

No License is required

Fruit Butter/Preserves/ Jams & Jelly / Applesauce / Marmalade

No License is required

Raw Meat, Raw Fish & Meat/Fish Products (Sausage, Processed Meat/Fish)

Retail Food license, Mobile Retail Food License

Fresh Eggs and poultry

Mobile Retail Food License

Dairy & cheese

Mobile Retail Food License/Dairy Plant License

Canned meat and eggs

Commercial kitchen, Food processing plant license is required

Bread and baked goods (shelf stable)

Commercial Kitchen, Retail Food License

or Commercial Kitchen, Food Processing Plant License

Potentially Hazardous Baked Goods

Commercial Kitchen, Food Processing Plant License

Ready to eat foods

Food Stand License OR Commercial Kitchen, Food Processing Plant License

ART & CRAFT ITEMS

Seller's Permit is Required

PET FOOD/ PET TREATS

Commercial Feed License

MISSING A PRODUCT?

Let us know!

All products offered for sale at the Menomonie Farmer's Market must be grown/produced by the vendor. Absolutely no resales/wholesale products.  All products must be listed on the application and the Market Manager has the discretion to decide if the products fit into the local market theme. All vendors when applying must submit a copy of their current licenses to be approved to sell products that require a license.  The Menomonie Farmer's Market does not allow multi-level marketing vendors and does not allow home bakers, liquor or tobacco vendors to participate. The Market Manager reserves the right to include products grown outside of the Menomonie area if inclusion of the product will enhance the market.

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