Licensed Vs Non Licensed Bakers -Insurance- I Need To Vent!

Decorating By kerri729 Updated 23 Jan 2010 , 7:37pm by 7yyrt

kerri729 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 3:52pm
post #1 of 44

So I have been doing cakes for about 15 years, and have never done them for profit, only as gifts to friends and family or donations for church and school functions. I did my own wedding cake in a local venue back in 2006, and now am doing my very first wedding cake for some one else (a dear friend) in a larger town.

The reception hall has given me a document stating the I will claim liability if anyone gets ill from my cake icon_surprised.gif , which I completely understand. My problem is my dh is throwing a fit- he hates the cake projects I do, because I get a little stressed, and he always asks me "what if someone gets sick, we could lose our house!" icon_eek.gif ............

I know it's a liability, but we could get sued either way, legal or not. I have a full time job and would not enjoy decorating if I had to do it for a living. I am mainly just venting, because he told me after this one, no more cakes icon_cry.gif .......

anyone have horror stories on people getting sick from cake and getting sued over it? icon_confused.gif

43 replies
jodibug0975 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 3:54pm
post #2 of 44

I can totally understand why your husband has an issue with this.

Why not contact your homeowners insurance company and ask for a special policy for this.... it would probably cost you $20-30 and alleviate a lot of stress.

Surely the bride would understand and pay it for you if you can't afford to.

(When my niece got married at the National Guard Armory, they made us get a one night special policy from our insurance co and it was about $40 for a million dollars worth of coverage. I wouldn't think you would need that much coverage for a cake, but just call your agent and ask what they would advise.)

indydebi Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 4:08pm
post #3 of 44

It's not so much HAS anyone been sued for it, but is there a RISK of you being sued for ANYTHING?

Yes. Yes there is.

A good lawyer would question whether they got sick from your cake, the 27 beers, or the oysters rockefeller? But if the bartender is licensed and the caterer is certified and HD approved, guess who they THINK would be the person less likely to follow food safety rules and more likely to be liable? All of this is just a shot in the dark and it would make a great Matlock episode, but it's put out there just to get you to think.

I've never had a claim on my auto insurance policy. But if someone asked me, "Do I REALLY need car insurance? How many accidents have you been in that you REALLY need insurance?" I think all of us would agree it's a silly question. I've never had a homeowners claim. But I'd never live in a house or apartment without homeowners or tenants insurance.

It's not "has it EVER happened?" It's "is there a RISK of it happening?"

newmansmom2004 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 4:13pm
post #4 of 44

Good luck with this one. I've never gotten sick (nor do I know anyone who's ever gotten sick) from a wedding cake but you know it probably has happened somewhere at some point in time. I think I'd go with Jodibug and contact your insurance company and ask them what your liability is if someone does get sick, and do they have a special policy for this type of thing.

You didn't mention if the cake is free to the bride and groom or not - this might make a difference depending on your insurance company. If they view this as a "business" transaction they may require you to purchase business insurance. If it's just a free cake for a friend, they may not require anything.

Let us know how it turns out and good luck!

indydebi Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 4:21pm
post #5 of 44

newmansmom is right .... a business coverage policy is different than buying one-day wedding insurance to cover the liquor liability for guests at an event someone is throwing. (jodibug, that sounds like what you are talking about ..... slap me down if I assumed wrong. icon_redface.gif )

Insurance is contract law and varies by state. Some homeowners policies may cover you for one or two cakes. Some may specifically exclude ANY business transactions.

Whether it's a paid cake or not, it may not make any difference to the venue. I let someone (a CC'er as a matter of fact!) use my comm'l kitchen to make a groom's cake, because even tho' it was the groom's aunt who was making the cake for free, the hotel refused to allow it to come into the hotel unless it was prepared in a comm'l and licensed kitchen. The aunt made sure our arrangement would be ok with the hotel; it was; and the problem was resolved.

leah_s Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 4:36pm
post #6 of 44

The issue with lawsuits is always about defending yourself. It takes a *lot* of money to "prove" your cake wasn't what made someone sick, and it really was the 27 beer or the Oysters Rockefeller. Plus if you're not licensed (and if you need to be) then you have no defense and probably won't get the insurance in the first place. You can't insure an illegal activity.

Bottom line is, your husband is 100% totally, completely right. This time, at least.

Unless you are willing to gamble your home, car, bank account and your family's future, you should not engage in an illegal activity. And that includes caking for the public.

kerri729 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 4:45pm
post #7 of 44

Yes, it is a free cake, my gift to the bride, however, I see the point that all of you are making- I have never thought of myself as illegal, I guess if I were charging for these things, I would have thought it illegal. Like I said, I have a full time job that I love, I do this as a hobby, and it appears from now on, I will only be doing my children's birthday cakes.

dianelin Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 5:17pm
post #8 of 44

The licensed vs. non/licensed must be different for each state. I checked with our state, and unless the food needs to be kept hot or kept cold, you're not required to be licensed. Therefore, breads, cookies, donuts, cakes, etc., don't require a state license even if you're charging for them.

I can guarantee that all the Amish women here who sell their goodies don't have licenses OR insurance!

jodibug0975 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 5:33pm
post #9 of 44

For my niece's wedding, we had to have a liability policy regardless of whether or not there was liquor. Even if it were a dry wedding it would have been to cover anyone who tripped and fell or something like that.

I don't know if a policy for a cake would be available or not.... but it would only take a min to call your agency and ask. If so, it may be a price you are willing to pay or it may not.

But if it is affordable then it might make your husband feel a lot better, and could definitely be worth the $$$ for his peace of mind.

eta: Just found the armory contract in my email.... it was called "public liability insurance" but I was wrong on the amt. It said $100K per person or $300K for the event. I do still think it was around $40.

Rosie2 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:02pm
post #10 of 44

Well, even when you have people over for dinner at your house if they get sick yupe, they can sue you.

I'm mexican and love to cook my kind of food, but I'm always concern that if I have people over for dinner they may get sick and sue me...mexican food is rich, spicy, heavy.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:22pm
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie2

Well, even when you have people over for dinner at your house if they get sick yupe, they can sue you.

I'm mexican and love to cook my kind of food, but I'm always concern that if I have people over for dinner they may get sick and sue me...mexican food is rich, spicy, heavy.




Thanks alot I am hungry just thinking about it!!!

I'd come over for dinner I absolutely love mexican food!!! and If I'd get sick I'd be 'cause I ate too much!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:26pm
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie2

Well, even when you have people over for dinner at your house if they get sick yupe, they can sue you.


True. But odds are good that your homeowners liability coverage would take care of this.

It 'may' not cover a business food transaction.

Apples and applesauce.

Rosie2 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:44pm
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeandpartygirl

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie2

Well, even when you have people over for dinner at your house if they get sick yupe, they can sue you.

I'm mexican and love to cook my kind of food, but I'm always concern that if I have people over for dinner they may get sick and sue me...mexican food is rich, spicy, heavy.



Thanks alot I am hungry just thinking about it!!!

I'd come over for dinner I absolutely love mexican food!!! and If I'd get sick I'd be 'cause I ate too much!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif


LOL, icon_biggrin.gif when my kids were growing up they always brought their friends to eat...well, I would inmediatelly hide the beans, rice salsa etc and brougth out the fries, ketchup, chicken pattie LOL
Years later one of those kids told me---I always looked forward to eat your food and I wondered why you always served fries, chicken patties,---LOL LOL icon_biggrin.gif I was afraid they'd get sick with my food!! ha,ha LOL icon_biggrin.gif

enchantedcreations Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:48pm
post #14 of 44

All very good advise.... but this is America and Americans are sue happy. We can all be sued at the drop of a hat for anything and everything. It doesn't matter what it's about and it doesn't necessarily mean the case will prevail... In a civil case, the burden of proof is on the person being sued and you're out a lot of money proving why you are not liable. Better safe than sorry and get that extra rider on your policy.

Rosie2 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:53pm
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie2

Well, even when you have people over for dinner at your house if they get sick yupe, they can sue you.

True. But odds are good that your homeowners liability coverage would take care of this.

It 'may' not cover a business food transaction.

Apples and applesauce.


Thank you Debi, I should re-read my homeowners insurance icon_smile.gif

CakesbyCindi Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 6:59pm
post #16 of 44

I made my son and DIL's cake back in August. We also provided purchased cheesecakes in 5 flavors devided amoungst the tables. The venue required that we sign a waiver, all it did was exclude them from any liability period. The cake/cheesecakes were a gift, no money was exchanged. We did however have to pay a $2.00 per person fee for bringing the cake/desserts in as they also provide that service and wanted to cover their loss of revenue. I live in MN, am a hobby baker, my county/city does not require a license, but you cannot advertise, the county the venue was in did, therefore the waiver. No one got sick, thank goodness. Drunk, well that's another story all together... I mostly bake for friends and family. They cover the cost of my ingredients +/-

My question to this is, I also made the favors, molded white chocolate mint candy bars with the saying "thank you for sharing our day" and peppermint monogramed mints for the tables. For those who have cookies or candies made or make them themselves for a favor, isn't there also a liability there? At no time did the venue question these or where they were coming from. They were not included in the waiver information. Just the size of the cake/cheesecakes, flavors/fillings, etc.

I know I am not as business savy as those of you who are owners of your on businesses. But would like to comment on this.

vtcake Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:00pm
post #17 of 44

I asked this question to my agent, and her reply was that unless I was a business (I'm not) and unless I do a lot of cakes for others (I don't), then my homeowners' insurance would cover me just fine.

CakeMommyTX Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:01pm
post #18 of 44

Man it is a sad day when someone has to get insurance just to give a gift!

Do you think the little girls down the street got a liscense,insurance and LLC and when they set up their lemonade stand?
I sure hope so , I would hate to see them lose their Barbie Dream house....

langranny Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:04pm
post #19 of 44

It is truly sad that we have become such a litigious society that you are afraid to give a wonderful gift to the bride for fear you might be sued. I guess that is why people die beside the road because others are afraid to stop and help.

But then I can remember when we could ride in the back of the pickup, drink out of the garden hose and leave our houses and cars unlocked.

What will become of us?

kerri729 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:13pm
post #20 of 44

Langranny,
I could not agree more! We used to ride in the back of my dad's pickup from our farm to my grandpa's all the time, I STILL drink out of the garden hose at my house, but we lock and have a security system on our house now, as we were broken into about a month ago. I and about 5 other people stopped to help a lady out of the ditch on Saturday, as she had taken the corner too fast and slid into a snow bank, never even thought about being sued as I pulled her out with my truck- she was just grateful not to have to spend $$$ for a tow truck..........I wish the world were as is was when we were young. I am not afraid to give this cake as a gift, my husband is a bit freaked out, but he does react every time I do a large cake for a crowd- this time he really threw the fit over the liability form I have to sign. I will not fret as much- thank you all for your responses!

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:18pm
post #21 of 44

kerri729, I was in a similar situation a few years back. I do cakes and such for friends and family at no charge. On one occasion I was asked to bring a cake to an event. Now, if it is not at someone's private home, I always call the venue to make sure I can make it past the door with my cake. Good thing I did. They wanted me to bring a copy of my business certificate (probably a certificate of insurance, although I'm not 100% positive about that as this occurred years ago). So obviously I couldn't bring my cake for that occasion. icon_sad.gif

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your predicament. You can vent here anytime ~ and get some great ideas for handling current and future projects! I hope it works out for you. Good luck! icon_smile.gif

Rosie2 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 7:52pm
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX


Do you think the little girls down the street got a liscense,insurance and LLC and when they set up their lemonade stand?
I sure hope so , I would hate to see them lose their Barbie Dream house....


LOL, LOL icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif CakeMommy you're hilarious!!!!

I've heard some time ago that a lady sued Mcdonalds because she burned her lips with a hot cup of coffee that she ordered herself....hmmm, she ordered the hot coffee didnt' she? and didn't know it was hot??
Yikes! what is this world coming to!!!

kjjs Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 8:32pm
post #23 of 44

I too am just a hobby baker for my children's birthdays and friends children's birthdays. I also get paranoid about making someone sick. I wear gloves and a mask most of the time! Kind of overkill, I know. I will have to check out my homeowners policy for this kind of coverage or get a rider for this purpose. I live in texas and there are enormous, expensive hoops to jump through to be liscensed. I'm always scared of getting in trouble! Thanks for sharing! And good luck to the op with you current prediciment. It will all work out!

yumcake06 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 9:19pm
post #24 of 44

The most important thing to educate yourself to bake so that you protect the public your main concern should not be if you get sued it should be what if someone gets ill. What if someone gets seriously ill???

I would feel very bad!

Educate yourself so you bake properly do not temperature abuse eggs very important! Do no cross contaminate wash and sanitize utensils before baking, & learn which baking items are ok leaving out on the counter. This will keep food born illnesses at bay

Last but not least the most important thing is baking from scratch or if using mixes make an ingredient list and give to the person in charge of the venue, if anyone has allergies they will ask if a list of ingredients is available once they know at least you are covered on the allergy standpoint. Add on a disclaimer that the equipment you use is also used in nut,soy, peanut products.


Hope this helps

yumcake06 Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 9:22pm
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

The issue with lawsuits is always about defending yourself. It takes a *lot* of money to "prove" your cake wasn't what made someone sick, and it really was the 27 beer or the Oysters Rockefeller. Plus if you're not licensed (and if you need to be) then you have no defense and probably won't get the insurance in the first place. You can't insure an illegal activity.

Bottom line is, your husband is 100% totally, completely right. This time, at least.

Unless you are willing to gamble your home, car, bank account and your family's future, you should not engage in an illegal activity. And that includes caking for the public.




yes you are right but if a person gets sick from the oyster it can also be easy investagated if they did not purchased from a certified vendor or if they tempterature abused the oysters

LaBellaFlor Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 9:30pm
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

Man it is a sad day when someone has to get insurance just to give a gift!

Do you think the little girls down the street got a liscense,insurance and LLC and when they set up their lemonade stand?
I sure hope so , I would hate to see them lose their Barbie Dream house....




ROTFLMAO! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 10:04pm
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie2

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX


Do you think the little girls down the street got a liscense,insurance and LLC and when they set up their lemonade stand?
I sure hope so , I would hate to see them lose their Barbie Dream house....

LOL, LOL icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif CakeMommy you're hilarious!!!!

I've heard some time ago that a lady sued Mcdonalds because she burned her lips with a hot cup of coffee that she ordered herself....hmmm, she ordered the hot coffee didnt' she? and didn't know it was hot??
Yikes! what is this world coming to!!!




Oh yeah, I remember this. It actually spilled in her lap, she sued, AND she WON!!! And a good chunk of money I might add. Oh yeah, it is also the reason we now have warning labels on coffee cups saying,"Warning, coffee maybe HOT". Really? dunce.gif

millermom Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 10:08pm
post #28 of 44

I just want to know how Indydebi has gotten by without needing her car or homeowner's insurance icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

You must be the luckiest person in the world icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 11:47pm
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by millermom

I just want to know how Indydebi has gotten by without needing her car or homeowner's insurance icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

You must be the luckiest person in the world icon_biggrin.gif



See, my family keeps teasing me about being a "bad" driver. (A speed limit sign is JUST a suggestion! icon_lol.gif ).

*I* say that if you drive like me and haven't had an accident, then you must be a DANG good driver! thumbs_up.gif

It's those silly slow people who won't get the heck outta my way who are the problem drivers! icon_eek.gificon_lol.gif

CakeMommyTX Posted 30 Dec 2009 , 11:57pm
post #30 of 44

Tell them you're not speeding you're qualifying thumbs_up.gif

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