I received my package from the va dept of agriculture today. Seems fairly straight forward and I am kind of a clean freak so I am not thinking I should have any problems. I am however wondering how much space I should be dedicating in my pantry to my "business" goods. I am dedicating half the draws in my kitchen to seperate utensils. It is recommended to have seperate space for these things but not required. Also recommended to have a seperate fridge but not required. We have a seperate fridge downstairs that I use for cakes.
Ok so im a little nervous and going on and on Has anyone here gone through the procedure in Virginia? I also have to send in the paperwork on becoming and LLC which is no big deal. I inc a non profit once before and the process is pretty straight forward. For those that bake legally from home do you hold insurance even if you are an LLC?
Thanks all, sorry for length of post
They're not too strict on the amount of space that you have for separate cake equipment, as long as you have it separated. I keep all of mine in one cabinet. I don't think they even checked about that the last time I had my inspection, to tell the truth. They're more concerned that you don't have dogs running around the kitchen than about whether your utensils are separated.
I do have insurance, you should have insurance regardless of what type of business entity you are.
If you do a search for inspections in Virginia on this forum you should come up with a few threads, the question seems to get asked a lot.
thank you so much for the info. I tried a search but nothing came up specific to virginia. Are you in virginia?
I'm in Richmond...Do a search for "business virginia" and just look in the cake business forum. There were a few matches that came up on the first page when I looked at all the forums, but most of the answers you want are going to be in the business section.
How invasive is the inspection. Reading the packet it makes it seem like they take a sample of every ingredient to test for bacteria and swab every surface. Just curious. Did you have to provide copies of all your recipes...it says that in the packet too but then when I called they said you would have your "passed inspection" paper before the inspector left. How is that possible if they do all these samples? Did you get an independent water test done? I dont mind doing all of that but what they write and what they say on the phone are very different.
They don't test every ingredient unless they have a reason to. The inspector told me that they tested one person's food because she had a couple of big dogs running around in her house, but they've never asked for samples of mine.
Just make sure that your kitchen is clean and it shouldn't be a problem. Have the bleach solution and chlorine testing strips on hand (you mgiht have to get them online, I have a hard time finding them here.) The Clorox hard surface sanitizer is the right concentration for what they want you to use, so you can get some of that or make your own.
I think that I sent in all of my recipes before the inspection, but I did that a loooong time ago, so I might have the order mixed up. I just keep the new recipes that I add throughout the year and send them in once I get four or five.
I don't know about the water test, I'm on county water so they don't ask about that. I think that only applies if you're on a well.
They do write up the report and give it to you before they leave. They come in and look around, make sure everything's where it should be, ask you some questions about this and that, then they go out and write everythign up and print it out for you. The inspectors are really helpful, so don't be scared!
I am also new to selling cakes out of my home in virginia. Can you tell me where you made your first contact on LLC and getting the inspections done. I have not done this step yet. I am currently selling to family and friends but do have a website and would be considered a "business" so I need to get cracking on the paperwork and details. Can you point me in the right directions. The SSB website was not at all self explanatory. Where are you in VA? I am in Fredericksburg.
The Department of Agriculture handles inspections, and you can consult an attorney or do the LLC online at legalzoom.com
AI have started a website for family and neighbors to see my cakes but not it has gotten a lot of attention and has turned into a "business." I need to get my kitchen licenced before I get myself in trouble. BUT I have four cats and a dog and it is virtually impossible to keep hair out of the kitchen, no matter how much I clean! I can try to keep them out of the kitchen but I have an open floor plan and the kitchen is open to the rest of the house. Will it be impossible to get licenced? Or is it possible, just difficult. If so, who do I contact to get inspected? I have received the packet from the department of agriculture. I live in chesterfield county. Thanks in advance for your help!
I have started a website for family and neighbors to see my cakes but not it has gotten a lot of attention and has turned into a "business." I need to get my kitchen licenced before I get myself in trouble. BUT I have four cats and a dog and it is virtually impossible to keep hair out of the kitchen, no matter how much I clean! I can try to keep them out of the kitchen but I have an open floor plan and the kitchen is open to the rest of the house. Will it be impossible to get licenced? Or is it possible, just difficult. If so, who do I contact to get inspected? I have received the packet from the department of agriculture. I live in chesterfield county. Thanks in advance for your help!
If it's impossible to get the hair out of your kitchen I wouldn't sell food. Your biggest concern isn't going to be passing inspection (which probably won't happen), it's going to be having a customer get a dog hair or a cat hair in their cake.
You should definitely get liability insurance even if you are a home baking business. You can still get sued. You have to protect yourself
I have been making cakes for a few years for friends and family, and I have never had a problem with hair in cakes. I scour my kitchen before and after each cake. Especially while making fondant. Also, just to clarify, you are saying that you don't think that i would pass inspection? Thank you! Your knowledge is greatly appreciated!
It all depends on what the laws are in your state. I live in ohio and here they're specific about what people's homes can look like. Here people are not allowed to have pets and bake out of their homes. the kitchen also has to be separated in some way from the rest of the home.