Home Kitchen Inspections - What Am I Missing?

Business By kger Updated 20 Jun 2010 , 11:02am by kger

kger Posted 19 Jun 2010 , 5:45pm
post #1 of 14

I am in Va, and received the info packet from the state regarding establishing food processing businesses. I read through everything and couldn't really find anything about home businesses. Just that no one could sleep in the processing area (so studio apts are out) and animals were not allowed. The other cakers I know (not licensed) had told me how complicated it was to have a legit kitchen, with a separate refrigerator, and separate counter, et al.

So, I called the lady at the state office and told her I seemed to be missing info on home businesses. She assured me that my info packet was complete and there was nothing different or special that home businesses needed to do... just to keep your items separate from the home items, such as a separate shelf in the fridge, separate space in the cabinet. I can see the benefit of having a designated refrigerator since the big cakes take up some space, but as far as state inspections go, they don't care.

It sounds too feasible. Am I missing something? Has anyone modified their home kitchens to accommodate the business? I'm thinking I might need to install pocket doors because I do have a cat that accesses her littlerbox (in the basement)by walking through the kitchen. Would doors to close off the kitchen while baking be sufficient? Or would I just need to lock her up while I am caking? Or would she be 100% forbidden from the kitchen at all times?

Is there some other PITA obstacle I'm not seeing, other than the cat?

13 replies
Julie53 Posted 19 Jun 2010 , 6:08pm
post #2 of 14

Hi kger- I too have received the packet. From what I can tell they will inspect your kitchen & probably a first floor bathroom(hand washing sink), and they will check temps, storage etc. They also want either a 2 or 3 compartment sink in your kitchen. And like you said they will want seperate storage so that your food is not stored with your family's food. They also want copies of any recipes you use and your vendors. And to be a home bakery- you need to put labels on your goods etc. As far as the pets- I know that I read on here that you can have a pet in the house in VA. but you should keep them out of the kitchen.And I believe that the people on here said that the inspections wanted to sample the goods.Anyway just a few little bits of info. Hope it helps! thumbs_up.gif

costumeczar Posted 19 Jun 2010 , 9:49pm
post #3 of 14

Julie's right, and the people who told you it's super-complicated are wrong. Saying it's a big pain is their way to convince themselves that they should just not bother trying to get inspected.

You might have to move the litter box, that's the only problem that I can see with the setup you're describing. When I started they told me that you had to have no pets in the processing area at all, not just when you're working, but then the inspector told me that there are people who have pets in the kitchen when they're not working, so you might get some mixed messages on that. Depending on who you talk to, they may or may not know the answers to your questions, so always err ont he side of caution and you shouldbe fine. The inspectors who actually come out to your house are always very helpful, it's the people who answer the phone who don't always know the answers.

DanaG21 Posted 19 Jun 2010 , 10:16pm
post #4 of 14

I wish it was like this where I live! Good luck and go for it!

TracyLH Posted 19 Jun 2010 , 10:31pm
post #5 of 14

VA is really easy compared to most places. Along another line, check with your zoning office to make sure that you can have a home based business. They want to make sure you don't have a stream of cars. Some counties say no pick up at your home and that you need to deliver. Also check your insurance. Our insurance company said to make sure that customers do not pick up, but that I deliver so that there will not be any issues of someone slipping on the steps. etc and suing.

kger Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 12:15am
post #6 of 14

TY for the tips, guys. I'm stoked that this process will be somewhat easier than I had anticipated. I must now convince DH that we need a better extra fridge (just 'cuz).

...And actually, I have a question about that. Can I store cakes-in-progress in an extra refrigerator in the garage? I mean, the garage isn't pretty, but the fridge would be clean and santized. Or should the storage fridge be part of the kitchen area? I don't need a lot of fridge space, but l had a full sheet cake this week, so a nice wide fridge would rock my world. How do the home bakers organize their kitchens, appliances, refrigerators, etc?

leah_s Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 12:18am
post #7 of 14

Well, to start with, I don't refrigerate cakes. Why do you need to?

ameliasam Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:19am
post #8 of 14

I live in TN the williamson area and they told me I would have to have my kitchen close off from the rest of the house, I would need a 3 layer sink, another sink to wash my hand in and then a mop sink. I would have to put in two walls to close my kitchen since my house is all open. So the health department guy told me that I could do cake for family and friend. And I had to change my website so I wasn't advising. Since I don't have the money to change my house I will have to wait to get a home license or open my own bakery.

costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:29am
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Well, to start with, I don't refrigerate cakes. Why do you need to?




The Dept of Agriculture here wants everything refrigerated, for the most part. Even if it doesn't need it they think that it does.

The fridge in the garage might be an issue, but I'm not sure. You should probably ask the inspector about that. I have a fridge in my garage, but I make my husband keep his stupid beer and salad stuff in it, and I use the one in the kitchen for cakes icon_smile.gif

uniquecreations Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:41am
post #10 of 14

I am in Gretna Virginia and I just got my license and it was not hard at all!! I sent in my packet for what I needed and about 3 weeks later the inspector came out and looked at my kitchen well for me it may be different because I had a separate kitchen in my basment but he was there probably 10 minutes, so I think it is all in who your inspector is. Also I called the county to see if I had to have any other licenses and if I could have a home bakery which they said I could and that I didnt need anything from them other than of cours information for the equipment used for tax purposes. But other than it, it was a simple process, like I said I think it depends upon your inspector and your county.

cohen1 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:43am
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Well, to start with, I don't refrigerate cakes. Why do you need to?



The Dept of Agriculture here wants everything refrigerated, for the most part. Even if it doesn't need it they think that it does.

The fridge in the garage might be an issue, but I'm not sure. You should probably ask the inspector about that. I have a fridge in my garage, but I make my husband keep his stupid beer and salad stuff in it, and I use the one in the kitchen for cakes icon_smile.gif




Interesting, my inspector said having and using a fridge in the garage was ok. Also, I dont keep any of my cakes (unless it is something that requires refridgeration) in the fridge, inspector had no issues with it. Just another example of how things can very.

As far as the actual inspection, it was actually very easy. Document and know your process, keep a clean kitchen, and follow the specific guidelines/requirements.

costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:59am
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cohen1

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Well, to start with, I don't refrigerate cakes. Why do you need to?



The Dept of Agriculture here wants everything refrigerated, for the most part. Even if it doesn't need it they think that it does.

The fridge in the garage might be an issue, but I'm not sure. You should probably ask the inspector about that. I have a fridge in my garage, but I make my husband keep his stupid beer and salad stuff in it, and I use the one in the kitchen for cakes icon_smile.gif



Interesting, my inspector said having and using a fridge in the garage was ok. Also, I dont keep any of my cakes (unless it is something that requires refridgeration) in the fridge, inspector had no issues with it. Just another example of how things can very.

As far as the actual inspection, it was actually very easy. Document and know your process, keep a clean kitchen, and follow the specific guidelines/requirements.




I wasn't sure if it would be an issue or not, so it probably isn't if they didn't say anything to you about it. I still keep my cake stuff inside so that I can watch it!

MJoycake Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:27am
post #13 of 14

I'm also inspected/licensed in VA...just wanted to add my two cents. The inspector said nothing about storing things outside of the kitchen (ex. - fridge in garage).....BUT, when I got my zoning permit from the county, it specifies that I can not store anything outside of the house (we have a detached garage, so that applies to us here). Just something to think about. Good luck with it!

kger Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:02am
post #14 of 14

Mjoycake- that's good to know.
Leah - whipped frostings like dream whip and bettercreme and the imbc/smbc need refrigeration. And lately I've been using a stick of crisco, and 2 sticks of butter, so I feel like that should be refrigerated too.
Cohen- glad to hear it was easy!

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