Helpful Info For Iowa Bakers

Business By momtobtb Updated 1 Apr 2009 , 2:34pm by purplebutterfly1234

momtobtb Posted 5 Mar 2009 , 4:04pm
post #1 of 14

Hi everyone!

It's been awhile since I've posted in this forum, or even been on CC for that matter. I've been pre-occupied for the past few months with my husband returning from deployment, my second miscarriage and just focusing on my family. I put anything cake related on the backburner.

I apologize to those who pm'ed me about the forms from the State to get licensed. It seems that after I had a computer crash, I lost my saved emails. Anyway, I'm attaching links for that.

Also, I also suggest looking into getting your business name registered with your County, registering your logo as a trademark with the State, and possibly reserving your company name as an LLC with the state as well.

Here are the prices to do all these services:

To get a home food establishment license; $37.50
Register tradename with county: $7
Register your logo as a trademark with State: $10
Register your business name as LLC in the future (only good for 120 days): $10

I know we are very lucky in Iowa that we don't need to be licensed, but I like the fact that I can tell my potential customers and advertise that I am a license home baker. Kind of gives them peace of mind. My inspection was very painless and took 10 minutes tops. It may have just been my inspector too. I'm in Polk County so your county may be different.

Just wanted to pass along my information to you. I've done all the steps above and I'm in the process of filing my LLC papers. It's very important to register everything you can to protect your business. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me! Good luck and Happy Caking!!!

To file trade name with Polk County:

To get home food establishment license: Contact Terri Duden for forms.

To register your logo with the State of Iowa:

To reserve your business name as an LLC:

13 replies
QueenOfSweets Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 12:29am
post #2 of 14

Hi Becky,
I just wanted to let you know that I used all of this information, which you provided over email, and it was very helpful! Before I talked with you, I researched that LegalZoom wanted to charge me $99 to file my DBA, when it only cost me $7 with Dallas County. I've also filed the paperwork to register my logo so that is done. I'm now in the process of doing the license part as well. What was your inspection process like? What did your inspector look at when he/she came? I'd love to hear more to know what I should be prepared for - that's vastly more helpful than just reading the info about the cottage food laws.

On a side note, I wanted to tell you I was very sorry to hear about your second miscarriage. My husband and I were completely devastated when we went through our second miscarriage in July of this past year. I'm sending a big **hug** your way.

Best of luck with the rest of your LLC process!!


momtobtb Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 5:08am
post #3 of 14

Hi Alysa! I'm glad everything is working out for you!

My inspection was so easy compared to others that you hear about on here. He came in, asked me a few questions, took the temp of my fridge and he printed out my license within 10 minutes on his little mobile printer. It's up for renewal in August and he said he will call me to set up an appointment to come by and renew it.

kansaswolf Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 7:27pm
post #4 of 14

Also, note that you NEED to be licensed if you are going to sell more than $1000 in products per year, and that's good up to something like $30,000 (don't have the number in front of me). Once you pass $30,000 (or whatever) in gross sales, you need a seperate kitchen...

Plus, if you want to sell your awesome cheesecake filling or whatever else needs to be refrigerated, you NEED a license to do that. (This has probably been covered elsewhere, but it's worth noting again... icon_biggrin.gif ) Happy caking to my fellow Iowa bakers! icon_biggrin.gif

sugarspice Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 10:36pm
post #5 of 14

Hellow Iowa Bakers icon_smile.gif Also, if you want to sell at another establishment (ie: a cafe) you need to be licensed. I have not done this yet, but am considering it. I am glad everything went so well. I am in Story county, so I don't know what their inspections are like. Did he look at where the food was stored, or the cleanliness of the oven, mixer? Very sorry about your miscarraige-I had 2 before my second child and it was very hard. Glad you are returning to the hobbies you enjoy-that helps!!

MicheleH Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 6:54pm
post #6 of 14

Thank you for the information. I was not aware that you needed a license if you sold over $1000. I thought you only needed one if you went over $20,000. I will have to look into this more closely!!!

kansaswolf Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 5:08pm
post #7 of 14
Originally Posted by MicheleH

Thank you for the information. I was not aware that you needed a license if you sold over $1000. I thought you only needed one if you went over $20,000. I will have to look into this more closely!!!

This is what MY health inspector told me... It's a little unclear in the online stuff I found, and I think it was recently changed, as well... After $20,000, you need a seperate kitchen, though...

I'd get the license ANYWAY, just so you COULD sell perishable fillings, and it's what, around $30 for a license? Pretty affordable, I think! icon_biggrin.gif

momtobtb Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 7:30pm
post #8 of 14

I think I also remember somewhere about the $1000 limit and needing a license. It's such a painless process and would definately do it. I was even asked by a couple of potential brides last weekend if I was licensed and I was glad to say yes. All my guy did was take the temp of my fridge and voila.

I found another set of those forms, on my work computer, that Terri sent me so if anyone needs them PM me.

QueenOfSweets Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 8:58pm
post #9 of 14

Well, reading about the $1,000 limit really got me in a panic because I didn't recall ever reading that - and I've already sold more than $1,000 this year and am not YET licensed. So, I did some research (my second love, next to cake decorating).

I read through the entire State of Iowa Food and Consumer Safety guidelines. I've attached Chapter 30 that defines terms and talks about licensing overall, as well as Chapter 34(137D) that deals specifically with home based food businesses.

To quote Chapter 30:
"Home food establishment means a business on the premises of a residence where potentially hazardous bakery goods are prepared for consumption elsewhere. Annual gross sales of these products cannot exceed $20,000. This term does not include a residence where food is prepared to be used or sold by churches, fraternal societies, or charitable civic or nonprofit organizations. Residences which prepare or distribute honey, shell eggs or nonhazardous baked goods are not required to be licensed as home food establishments. Home food establishments with annual gross sales of $1,000 or less in sales of potentially hazardous bakery products are exempt from licensing under Iowa Code section 137D.2, if the food is labeled and the label states that the food comes from a kitchen not under state inspection or licensure and that labeling complies with rule 481--34.3(137D)."

So that leads me to conclude a few things:

1) If I'm selling only nonhazardous baked goods I don't have to be licensed at all, whether I sell $1 or $1,000,000 per year.
2) If I sell less than $1,000 per year of hazardous bakery products I don't have to be licensed but I have to put a label on my food saying that it came from a kitchen that hasn't been inspected.
3) Once I get my home food establishment license, it covers me unless I sell more than $20,000 year (which I highly doubt I'll ever do since this is part-time) - then I fall under the category of a food processing plant.

Not a big deal to me, since I'm pursuing licensure, but I thought it might be helpful to clarify for those who aren't.

kansaswolf Posted 20 Mar 2009 , 3:09pm
post #10 of 14

Thanks for the clarification, Queen!

sugarspice Posted 21 Mar 2009 , 7:33pm
post #11 of 14

Now it is crystal clear-thanks! I was not aware of the ability to do less than $1000 in pot. hazardous with a label!

purplebutterfly1234 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 6:00pm
post #12 of 14

Hey Becky!

I did pass inspection and am licensed!!! I wasn't sure how you came out on pot. hazardous food items. I thought you said that your health inspector said that you COULD do pot. hazardous food items. My health inspector had stated that it was illegal to do so. Perhaps it's different in different locations in Iowa? I'll have to check out the link. icon_wink.gif

QueenOfSweets, have you spoken directly with a health inspector? It's all so confusing!!! icon_confused.gif

kansaswolf Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 2:04am
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by purplebutterfly1234

your health inspector said that you COULD do pot.

Sorry, but this made me giggle... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

purplebutterfly1234 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 2:34pm
post #14 of 14

Oh dear!!! icon_eek.gif LOL!

Totally out of context! icon_lol.gif Yup, that's illegal for sure!!! thumbs_up.gif

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