The objective of food inspection is to keep food wholesome and safe. Ensuring a safe food supply protects public health, minimizes your liability, and instills customer satisfaction. The responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is to ensure that all consumers who “pay” for a food product receive a safe and wholesome food product.
You are required to obtain a retail food license or food processing plant license to make and sell food items to the public. If you plan to sell your products primarily to consumers directly, you will need a retail food license. Internet sales are considered retail sales. If you plan to sell primarily through wholesale distribution, you will need a food processing plant license issued by our Department. Wholesale means that once you are licensed, you may sell your products anywhere and to anyone; this includes large retail food stores and the internet. There are certain types of foods -- specifically canned items and processed fish -- that can only be made in a facility licensed as a food processing plant.
Specific requirements for these licenses may be found in the following regulations at the following website links: Wholesale Food ProcessingRetail Food SalesThe Wisconsin Food Code
(retail sales)Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide
is an excellent resource for all facets of starting a food processing business.The "Got Moo-la" booklet
(97-page pdf) is a tool to help small businesses develop and grow their value-added business using money, information, and technical assistance from outside their organization.
Some of the key requirements for obtaining a retail or wholesale food processing license: