Tread Carefully When Adding These Items in Gift Baskets

by Shirley George Frazier

You can place many types of items in gift baskets.

From stationery to baby items to linens, it seems that nothing is prohibited.

But hold on; there are a handful of items that you cannot legally include.

Here’s what the law states for most U.S.-based gift basket makers.

If you are selling gift baskets, do not add wines and alcohol unless you have secured a license to add it.

If you are giving away your gift basket to a friend (not selling it) and wish to add wine or alcohol, this is permissible because money is not exchanging hands.

If you are selling gift baskets, do not bake or make anything in your home kitchen for inclusion in the basket. Edible goods must be made in a commercial kitchen (restaurant, bakery, etc.) and be labeled with all ingredients.

If you are giving away your gift basket to a friend (not selling it) and wish to add baked goods, this is permissible because money is not exchanging hands.

There may be similar laws in your country if you are outside of the U.S. Be sure to consult your country’s official website to learn more.

In both cases of adding wines and baked goods, make sure the person receiving the gift basket enjoys/eats/drinks the items before including it. This is true about everything you select to ensure that the gift is perfectly tailored for the receiver. You want to see a big smile when presenting it!

These laws may seem imposing, but they truly are for our benefit. What if you make walnut brownies for a new friend, didn’t realize the friend is allergic to walnuts, and didn’t label the food so the friend knows walnuts are included? That could be physically harmful for the friend and legally harmful for you.

These caveats are discussed in Selecting Your Inventory, which is chapter 4 of the gift basket book. Make sure you know the laws involved with creating gift baskets in your state or country before you start.

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