Minn. Business Owner Files Lawsuit Challenging State's Home Baking Restrictions

Updated: 07/03/2015 2:07 PM
Created: 11/19/2013 11:43 AM
By: Jennie Olson

A Minnesota woman who owns a home-based bakery business is challenging a state law that says she can’t sell her items in bulk.

Under state law, Jane Astramecki is allowed to sell her bakery items at a farmers market or community event, up to $5,000 annually. But outside of those venues it is restricted, meaning “Jane Dough Bakery” can’t turn into a full-fledged business.

Astramecki is joining with the Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Health to challenge the state’s location restrictions and sales cap.

The discussion is one that many states have had regarding “Cottage Food Laws.” A “Cottage Food Production Operation” means a person uses his or her own kitchen facility to produce food items that are not potentially hazardous, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, dry mixes, spices and some sauces.

The laws vary by state. Minnesota has a modified law that allows the sale of items if they’re sold in small amounts at farmers markets and community events. Also in Minnesota, there are no licenses or fees.

Astramecki held a press conference Tuesday along with representatives from the Institute for Justice to announce the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is filed in conjunction with the National Food Freedom Initiative, a campaign that also challenges Oregon’s ban on the advertisement of raw milk and the law in Miami Shores, Fla., that bans front-yard vegetable gardens.

To see an interactive map of states that have “Cottage Food Laws,” click here.

To read the Minnesota statute, click here.

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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