Group cooks up lawsuit over N.J. home baked goods ban

Public domain image.

Public domain image.

A group of bakers is challenging a one-of-a-kind New Jersey rule that bans the sale of homemade baked goods.

The New Jersey Home Bakers Association on Wednesday sued the state’s health department over rules that require people to have a license before they can sell their home-baked treats.

The nearly decade-long push to overturn the regulation has gained supporters who argue that people should be allowed to make money by selling their baked goods without a storefront.

A legislative proposal that provides regulations for the home baked goods industry has been blocked because of public health concerns. The bill, first introduced in 2009 but never moved out of legislative committee, has been reintroduced each year.

According to the bill, baked goods may not be sold or offered for sale except at the home baker’s home, a consumer’s home, a farmer’s market, a farm stand, or a county, municipal, or nonprofit fair, festival, or event.

Each product would require a label indicating the name and location of the baker, a description of the baked good and any major food allergens, and a statement that advises, “This food is made in a home kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the Department of Health.”

On its website, the New Jersey Home Bakers Association states that the industry would not hurt demand for traditional bakeries because “businesses will be limited by the revenue cap ($50,000) and by the nature of our business model.”

A spokeswoman for the health department didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

A Wisconsin court nixed that state’s ban in June, leaving New Jersey as the only state with a ban.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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