Ohio People- A Little Help Please.

Business By SpicyBubbles Updated 10 May 2010 , 5:20pm by CookieMakinMomma

SpicyBubbles Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 7:12pm
post #1 of 12

I am trying to get established the legal way here in Ohio as a home bakery. I was working with a guy at the local Small Business Development Center but he got another job elsewhere and I'm a little stranded (they don't have anyone that fills his hours, which are the later hours that I need.) I am renting a kitchen at a restaurant, as I have pets and know I can't get licensed. When I called the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, they said I am not a home bakery but a commercial bakery since I rent a commercial kitchen. I don't know that I want to be a commercial bakery as I thought I was heading down the home bakery/cottage industry road. I have left a message with the local Health Dept. to get that license, and I have an EIN number so I can open a bank account. I haven't started labeling my products yet (I'm working on that later today) and I have a website under construction. Calling the County Auditor is on my list as well to get a Vendor's License.

Should I call the Dept. of Agriculture back and explain that I'm trying for 'cottage bakery' status? I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed at this point and have no idea what to do next. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

11 replies
Loucinda Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 9:12pm
post #2 of 12

OK, see if I can help. In Ohio, you can LEGALLY bake from your home (even if you have pets) and sell your products that do not require refrigeration. (Cottage Industry Laws) You have to label everything and it has to have on the label that it is produced in a HOME BAKERY.

IF you are licensed, you CANNOT have pets in your home or carpet in your kitchen, and you can LEGALLY sell any products, even ones that require refrigeration. (Licensed home bakery) You have to label everything, but you DO NOT have to put that it is produced in a home bakery on the label anymore.

Now, if you rent a commercail space, you are now considered a commercial bakery, and those are a whole different set of rules......which is why I do not choose to go that direction.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Apr 2010 , 11:14pm
post #3 of 12

Loucinda summed it up perfectly thumbs_up.gif
If you want to bake at home with your pets you can, just can't sell anything that needs refrigeration. If you want to be licensed though then you'll have to get rid of your pets.

I want to add that when I was inspected I was told that as long as I was handing the cakes or cookies directly to the consumer (the person who was going to eat it) that I did not have to label.
I also did a festival last fall and was told the same thing by the inspector walking around checking food booths.

cheatize Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 12:10am
post #4 of 12

I did a farmer's market last summer and the health inspector said I have to have the labeling.

Tellis12 Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 12:41am
post #5 of 12

I agree with what the pp posters said. Renting a kitchen that is licensed commercially will make you a commercial bakery. I don't think you could go the "cottage" way. I don't understand why but I think that's the way it works.

Also, according to the Dept. of Ag. website you do have to label everything, which is a total pain. I bake out of my home and I have pets so I'm not licensed. It sucks but it probably won't change.

CookieMakinMomma Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 2:06am
post #6 of 12

Yep, everyone sounds right to me too. As a cottage industry your kitchen/home is not inspected and therefore they go by the honor system when it comes to food safety/pet hair/etc. One thing to note, as a cottage industry you cannot legally sell across state lines. That was the primary reason I chose to be a home bakery.

Also, you shouldn't need a vendor's license if you are only charging for food items. One more beauty about Ohio is there is no taxes on food items, and therefore no need for one more stinkin' license (except in certain cases). If you are charging for delivery or something then that's different.

labeling food is a pain to get it typed up initially but it's not difficult so much as time consuming. The easiest way for me is to save the ingredient panels on the empty flour bags, chocolate chips, etc. and then when I sit down to type it up it can be right there with me. (nothing more annoying than hauling half your cupboards into another room!) If your recipes are converted to weight then all the work is done for you! Just regurgitate the saved ingredient labels in the order of weight and you're done! I kept them all in a file on the computer and cut and pasted them when I had to print out a label. I also printed the ingredient list at the bottom of my recipes, which was a good thing when our computer crashed and silly me didn't have anything saved onto a separate drive. I was mad THAT day!

I hope this and the other replies have helped calm your fears. You are well on your way, you just have to rethink a few things. Nothing major, and it will most likely simplify everything once you figure out what direction you want to go. Chin up, you're almost there!

SpicyBubbles Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 5:41pm
post #7 of 12

Thanks for all the input! For some reason I had it stuck in my mind that, no matter which way I went, I couldn't bake at home due to the cats. I don't mind going commercial if it means I can sell online to people in other states; I have family and friends out of Ohio who are interested in ordering.
One perk to this whole 'renting a commercial kitchen': when I called the County health inspector, they said I could work under the health license of the restaurant and didn't need to get anything additional.
I thought I had read on a previous thread that to sell at certain farmer's markets and fairs you need a vendor's license. Not that I'm planning on selling at those places right this moment but I figured it would be handy to have a Vendor's license. I'll hold off on that.
There are times when I'm doing this that I wish I wasn't going alone; I mean, I have the support of family and friends but they aren't there when I'm trying to figure all this stuff out or feeling overwhelmed, and most of them haven't started their own businesses so they don't quite know what I'm going through. Thanks to you lot, I don't feel quite so alone.

cheatize Posted 22 Apr 2010 , 10:27pm
post #8 of 12

I sold at a farmer's market last summer and I didn't need a vendor's license. Everything had to be covered, it had to be sold in packaging, and it had to be labeled. I was covered under the cottage laws. The coordinator worked closely with the health department to make sure things were legal.

CookieMakinMomma Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 1:31pm
post #9 of 12

Honey, you sure as heck aren't alone! If you ever have a question you can always post on CC or even PM me! I'm about 95% of the way to opening up my biz and going full throttle, so there's a good chance that I've either already done what you're asking or I've looked into it. (except the commercial kitchen thing, but there have to be hundreds of people on here who have.) Ask away!

onlymadaresane Posted 9 May 2010 , 4:19pm
post #10 of 12

Can I just say that I'm super stoked?! We're relocating to Ohio and the BIGGEST highlight (other than family closer) is that'll be able to bake out of my home!!!!!!

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 10 May 2010 , 2:08pm
post #11 of 12

I have scanned the the ingredient lists of the items I use and adding the egg, etc. I put this on a separate sheet of paper and place it in the bottom of the cake box. I then put a label on the out side that states that this is a home baked good and no refrigeration is needed. I also put an allergy warning. Then end it with see full ingredient list on paper inside the box.

Is this too much. Do I need to list all the ingredients of the oil and butter for example or just state oil and butter?

CookieMakinMomma Posted 10 May 2010 , 5:20pm
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama_Mias_Cakes

I have scanned the the ingredient lists of the items I use and adding the egg, etc. I put this on a separate sheet of paper and place it in the bottom of the cake box. I then put a label on the out side that states that this is a home baked good and no refrigeration is needed. I also put an allergy warning. Then end it with see full ingredient list on paper inside the box.

Is this too much. Do I need to list all the ingredients of the oil and butter for example or just state oil and butter?




Good idea on scanning the ingredient labels! What I was told is that you have to list a complete breakdown of ingredients (with sub-ingredients), listed by common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight. However, for certain common ingredients you don't need to. For example, your vanilla and other flavorings can be listed simply as "natural flavor(s)" or "artificial flavor(s)."

If you haven't already, check out the Labeling Requirements page on the Ohio Department of Agriculture website. It is a little difficult to read but fairly easy once you figure it out.
http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FoodSafety/foodsafety.aspx#tog

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