Bake Sale Guidelines

Bake sales can provide fund raising opportunities for non-profit groups (schools, sports teams, etc.). However, as in any situation where food is being prepared and offered for sale to the public, caution must be exercised to provide safe food. When consumers buy food, they have the right to expect that it will be safe and wholesome.

While no license is required for bake sales, the sponsoring organizations are responsible for the safety of the food products they offer for sale. Although the traditional bake sale foods such as bread, cakes, pies, cookies and candies rarely cause illness, it is important to remember that under the right circumstances any food can cause foodborne illness. The following guidelines will improve your chances for a successful bake sale:

Maintain List of Preparers
Name, address, and phone number of each person who prepared an item for the event along with what they prepared. A sign indicating that these items are “Home Baked” should be posted.

All food must be individually wrapped in plastic, foil, or waxed paper.

Acceptable bake sale items: (shelf-stable, non-potentially hazardous foods only)

  • Breads – quick breads and yeast
  • Cakes (except cheesecake or cream filled)
  • Cookies
  • Bars
  • Muffins
  • Candies
  • Dried fruits, herbs and spices
  • Cupcakes (except cream-filled)
  • Non-potentially hazardous fruit-based pies not requiring refrigeration

Not acceptable for bake sales:

  • Cheesecake
  • Pastries
  • Cream, meringue, custard, or pumpkin pies
  • Cream-filled cakes, cupcakes, muffins, or doughnuts
  • Frosting and fillings made with cream cheese
  • Home-canned foods

Please note: Potentially hazardous foods (foods that require hot or cold holding) are not allowed at a bake sale.

Food Allergens
Individuals who are allergic or very sensitive to food can touch or smell food and have an allergic reaction. Some allergic reactions can be severe and require hospitalization. The eleven most common food allergens are:  milk, citrus, eggs, soy, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, melon, strawberries, shellfish, and fish.

Please consider the following:

  • Label items containing allergens, i.e. “contains nuts”
  • Position foods containing known allergens away from other items or use a separate table
  • Designate a person to handle the sales of only allergen-free foods.


  • Vehicles used for transport should be clean and maintained in good sanitary condition.
  • Food should be tightly wrapped to protect from dust, dirt and insects.
  • Food should not be transported with pets.

The final word:
1) All foods must be protected from unnecessary handling, airborne contamination and pests. Baked goods should be placed in food storage bags or containers, wrapped with new food grade plastic, wax paper or foil or dispensed from a covered food storage container.

2) Individuals shall thoroughly wash their hands before conducting the sale and after any act that could contaminate their hands, such as coughing, eating, or using the restroom.

3) No bare hand contact is allowed on any ready to eat foods. Plastic gloves, tissues, bags or utensils (tongs/spoons) must be used.

4) A sign or placard stating “Home Baked” must be posted.

5) Donors must identify/label any product that contains any major allergen. Major allergens include peanuts (peanut butter), eggs, wheat, soybeans, milk and milk products (e.g. butter, buttermilk, cheese) and tree nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews).

6) The event organizer should retain a list of who donated what food items or wrapped baked items should be labeled with the baker’s name in order to identify the source of the product.

7) Good standards of housekeeping and hygiene are expected of persons operating the bake sale. All foods should be displayed on clean counters and the bake sale area maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

Contact Student Leadership & Involvement at 814-332-4356 or with any questions.

Adapted from: