I live in Virginia. I have been making cakes for family only for a few years now and I want to be able to sell them also. I am not interested in opening a "shop" or selling 100 cakes a week. I just would like the option to take an order for a cake every now and then. I have made a website and have posted ads so far.
I am not licensed and have written the VA dept of health for info and haven't heard back yet so I am wondering...
In the state of VA what exactly do I need to do to be able to sell cakes on a casual basis legally?
I have NO WHERE NEAR the money that is required to build onto my house or rent a building so none of that would be an option right now...
Thanks for any information that anyone can give me!
I recently applied with the VA Dept. of Health for working out of my home kitchen. In VA this is legal! When I was starting this process the most difficult part was finding where to get the application. I believe I called the VA Health Dept for my area (Newport News) and they gave me the contact person for the Cooperative Extension.
Once you recieve the packet you have to give them copies of all of your recipes you intend to use. You cannot use any recipies that have not been "certified ok" by them. If you add on recipes you need to submit those at a later date for "certification". They also require a sketch of what your kitchen looks like and a list of the products you will sell (basic - cookies, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, etc.).
Once you mail that in a field officer will contact you to let you know they received the packet and they will review your recipes. They will then contact you again to set up a time to inspect your kitchen. They also said they may ask you to make something (even though I have seen other threads on here where people said they did not have to make anything and the visit lasted maybe 10 minutes.) Once they inspect they will approve your kitchen and then you may use it for general public use.
Once your kitchen is approved you can legally use it, however you need to also consider getting insurance and becoming an LLC for legal reasons.
Hope this helps and good luck!!!
Wonderful information! Thank you so much
So as along as my kitchen is clean (which is always is), it will be ok? I hear all of these complicated things that need to be done in other states so I wonder if just having a normal kitchen will be ok? Is there anything you would advise me to do before someone comes to inspect? What exactly do they look at?
A clean kitchen is part of it, but I think it has to be ultra clean! Other requirements are that you have to keep your personal items separate from your home bakery items (pans, flour, sugar, etc.). That includes keeping them in separate refrigerators/drawers/storage bins. They will also test your refrigerator/freezer for the appropriate temperature. They will probably ask or want to see how you wash your utensils/pans for sterility (there are several ways which are included in the packet). They will want to know how you plan to store your finished products until delivery/pickup and how they will be transported. These are just some of the other requirements I can think they asked me about.
I saw your website (on CL) and it looks good! I would just be careful about sales before you have a "legal" kitchen since this could come back to bite you if you are selling to the general public.
In Virginia it's the Department of Agriculture that regulates home bakeries, so you should call them and ask for the information. For some reason threads on home business in VA seem pretty common on here, these are some that have been covered before:
I was inspected by the VA Dept of Health a few months ago - the previous posters gave you all the right advice!
I was wondering for those of us who have gone through with this - was a business license also necessary?
It apparently depends, but I don't see why you wouldn't want to have a business license. It takes one trip to the county business offices, and you'll be able to say that you're licensed by the state. which a lot of people do care about.
Sound like I have everything covered except for a separate fridge. I only have one. Will this be a problem if I can show them that I have a separate space for my cake things? If I had to store a large cake in there I would have to do some rearranging of shelves and things but that is what I have always done.
I don't know if this will be something that will keep me from passing inspection...
I don't have a separate fridge and it's never been an issue.
For me. The inspector just asked me, where would I place the second fridge when I get it, I said, the basement, and he inspected the basement with a flash light. He just wanted to know the future home for it.
I got my second fridge 2 months after that, and I don't see how could I function without that second fridge.
Oh, I would LOVE a second fridge if we have the money for it. We actually have a basement that I "could" put it in but we have a small leak in the floor that has to be fixed so I can't store anything down there at the moment.
I would love to just have a whole other 2nd house to keep nothing but my cake stuff in but that just isn't going to happen
Check with your city zoning offices first to see if they will give a business license for this, not all cities in Virginia allow home-based food businesses!!! I live in Suffolk and it is not permitted.