Petition of OBJECTION to AB417, relating to: Face-to-face sales of home baked goods by unlicensed, home bakers

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Wisconsin Bakers
Wisconsin Bakers 32 Comments
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Since 1905, the Wisconsin Bakers Association has strived to emphasize quality, fresh bakery products, produced through safe handling practices, proper methods of production standards, in clean sanitary conditions that are not achieved in most home environments! If the bakery facility is large or small, baking industry standards have been set forth to protect against food borne illness.

Generations of bakeries, many still in operation today, have worked together to make certain the baking industry provides the best products, made in well-maintained, clean food production facilities able to pass inspection on a routine random basis at any given time through these standards which have been developed with the USDA Food Codes as well as the rules & regulations set forth by DATCP and local agencies, as well as taxing authorities like the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Every single Retail, Wholesale, Bakery Outlet, Convenience store, Restaurant or Institution is required to to carry licensing for proper handling of any & all baked goods as set forth by DATCP & the USDA and other agencies. Professional baking is a science that requires training in all areas from proper ingredient storage temperatures & handling, production procedures, cooling methods, prevention of cross contamination of finished goods, packing, proper finishing procedures, packaging, labeling and storing of finished product prior to sale.

Today’s Bakery operations are constantly being required to update labeling information, nutritional & ingredient declarations and others all at great expense to every professional baker’s bottom line.

The industry standards of operating are high to protect the public, the consumers who enjoy grain based foods every day.

However in SECTION 1. 97.29(1) of the proposed AB417 Bill now being considered, those seeking to move this bill forward suggest that untrained HOME BAKERS, with no professional training or experience are to determine on a regular basis of home baking practice, if the product they are producing has an acceptable level of water migration activity to avoid the development of pathogenic organisms to not cause a food borne related illness.

In SECTION 2. 97.29(1) (J) The Bill explains calculation of water VAPOR pressure of the food product by the VAPOR pressure of pure water at the same temperature. It is impossible to perform this test without the assistance of a laboratory facility or other methodical proven testing procedure according to multiple industry professionals. To date, there is no such provision for this testing within this bill and there is no legitimate testing kit available to purchase on the open market!.

Only working in a controlled environment with professional licensed bakery operators, constantly producing similar products can this be continually achieved. Home kitchens do not provide for that kind of consistency or prevention of potential cross contamination.

DATCP currently provides a set of rules & regulations, working with county & local agencies for small licensed kitchens or home operated bakeries that meet certain requirements. Those requirements meet food code safety standards as set forth by the agencies for proper ingredient storage away from personal/family foods of the operator, separate utilities, separate entrances, refrigeration and plumbing requirements, all designated to assure the prevention of food borne illness through cross contamination within the regular home environment! (i.e., kids, pets, cats on the counter, husbands, that gerbil you couldn’t find!)

There is simply no baked food product nor any food product that can be deemed non-hazardous when not properly processed, baked at the right temperature to destroy organisms within wet ingredients of chemically leavened goods, properly cooled, packaged and stored before consumption without proper training and background experience!

Bakery operators are REQUIRED by law in Wisconsin to carry Workers Compensation Insurance, pay into the UC Fund, contribute sales tax to Dept. of Revenue, as well as carry business liability insurance!

Under AB417, there are no provisions or requirements for these home bakers to have these in place, but these requirements already are the burden of every small business in Wisconsin.

SECTION 7. Requires the person to register with the Department, yet no department is specified! Is it DATCP, DOR or some other state agency!

How can the State of Wisconsin, without issuing a retail or other type licensing reporting system, guarantee that no Home Baker will exceed the proposed limits of annual gross receipts totaling $7,500.00? There is no reporting method established in the bill to prevent fraud. If the Home Baker exceeds the limit, what are the consequences of the action? Are they required to then pay a licensing fee or penalty? Nothing is outlined in the event of such occurrence.

SECTION 10. 97.29 (6) (A) What Standard is to used to determine the knowledge & capability of a person subject to review recipes & processes for HOME BAKERS? Where will they be located - Great Aunt’s house, local Tavern, a friend down the street? No licensed RETAIL BAKERY OPERATOR effected by this Bill will contribute or support this process if asked.

SECTION 11-97.29 (6) ( B) The Bill suggests the Department, presumably DATCP, shall attempt to maximize other information as well as technical support. With all due respect to our great professionals at DATCP, they are already stretched beyond their current capabilities to achieve everything they need to do to inspect under the latest food code laws & regulation changes! These dedicated professionals will not have the time to dedicate to home bakers and the potential of food borne illness outbreaks will be the result.

THEREFORE,

We, the undersigned Licensed Professional Bakers and Bakery Operators across the Great State of Wisconsin, do hereby OBJECT to the passage of this poorly drafted piece of Legislation - AB417 in regards to the sale of home baked goods by private unlicensed unregulated individuals residing in the state.

We dedicate our lively hood to providing good paying jobs for our local & state economy, we train and retrain to maintain inspected, clean, up-to-date food manufacturing facilities under the rules and regulations that have been set forth by Wisconsin agencies as well as federal policies.

Support of this faulty Legislation undermines the continuation for the small town bakery owner to make a living, support their community and contribute to the future of Wisconsin’s economy. WHY, because too many small bakery owners are over burdened by regulations, we don’t need more competition, we need cooperation from our government!

We support the entrepreneurial spirit here in Wisconsin. This is how many of us got started and continue to grow our businesses. There must be a level playing field not through faulty legislation that puts the public at risk and destroys the small town professional baker as well. All new businesses have risks, start up costs, liability costs, and regulation costs. We took the risks, we found a way to make it work and as we say in Wisconsin - HARD WORK pays off!

We, the undersigned Bakers of Wisconsin, members & non-members of the Wisconsin Bakers Association, Suppliers, and others signed on this petition, stand firmly against this Bill AB417, as a threat to our lively hood, our businesses, our communities and the future of Professional Baking as a skilled trade in the great state of Wisconsin, as well as a potential threat to the great public for the potential of food borne illnesses by unregulated producers.

Sincerely,

David J. Schmidt, CMB

And the undersigned petitioners of the following licensed Bakery operations:

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