Earlier this year, New Jersey became the last remaining state in the U.S. to ban the sale of homemade baked goods without a license. The Garden State earned that distinction in May when a judge struck down a similar ban in Wisconsin, a ruling that was clarified in October to let all Wisconsinites know they could start selling baked goods immediately. Now, Institute for Justice, the same legal team behind the successful Wisconsin lawsuit, is announcing a similar lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Health during a rally and press conference being held at the Union County Courthouse this morning – with both New Jersey bakers and Institute for Justice hoping for repeat victory.
Home bakers in New Jersey say their brownies and muffins are perfectly safe and they should be able to sell them, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday seeking to strike down the country’s only ban on the sale of homemade baked goods.
The New Jersey Home Bakers Association sued the state’s health department over rules that require people to have a license before they can sell their home-baked treats.
“Right now, people need every chance they can get to make an honest living,” said plaintiff Martha Rabello, a 38-year-old mother of two who said she likes to make bite-sized cookies that pair with coffee. “We want to be on the right side of the law.”
New Jersey should follow Michigan, California and Texas in lifting its ban on home bakeries.
By ERICA JEDYNAK and HEATHER RUSSINKO
New Jersey politicians like to talk about finding a recipe for job creation and economic growth. If they’re serious, one place to start is to take the lid off a bill that’s been simmering in the legislature for years: a repeal of the ban on selling home-baked treats.
Right now, state law forbids the selling of homemade baked goods, on pain of a fine up to $1,000. Bakers can work legally only in industrial kitchens, which cost upward of $15,000. That’s a price tag that few culinary hopefuls, from grade-schoolers to grandmas, can afford.
Republican Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, who introduced the measure, said that the businesses are working on such a small level and would be restricted in what they could sell — nothing that needs to be refrigerated, for instance — that he doesn’t see them as competition.
“New Jersey is expensive enough. To give people an opportunity to supplement their income or pay their taxes, why not do it?” Bateman said. “I’m sure it’s being done. Why not legalize it?”
“In today’s difficult economy, it’s important that we look for opportunities to help people supplement their incomes,” McHose says in a news release. “This is a simple, common-sense solution as it will allow individuals to earn extra money through the sale of their home-baked goods at places such as craft shows, fairs, farm markets and roadside stands without incurring significant overhead costs.”
Had the bill been in place when Jen Rao opened Around the World in 80 Cakes in Washington in 2010, life would’ve been a lot easier.
Rao started making wedding cakes out of her home kitchen in Virginia years before but found the rules were different when she moved to New Jersey.”