Will My State's New Cottage Laws Put Me Out Of Business?

Business By Amberwaves Updated 14 Jun 2012 , 8:02pm by MrsBowtiy

SoFloGuy Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 12:59pm
post #31 of 79
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Originally Posted by scp1127

SoFlo, where do you get your information?

There is no reason to be so nasty about people who legally work under CLF. This in no way means that they produce nasty sloppy cakes delivered in paper bags. The problem is that they are talented.

Where do you come up with such crap posts? This is getting old and Iwill call you out on them.

I don't agree with the whole concept of CFL, but I certainly know for a fact that these bakers are my legal peers and they have every right to take advantage that CFL has to offer.




I never meant to imply that this was the whole industry if that's how you took it. It was just my hypothetical idea of a worst case scenario. It's funny that I got under your skin so easily, not even trying to, that you have to follow me from post to post and nitpick about things.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 1:35pm
post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amberwaves

I think I may have caught a break. I went at lunch and talked with my lease holders at the corporate office. When I explained the situation she said she will have to talk with her manager to make a decision, but they may be able to change my lease to a month-to-month basis. At least that way if things are going really bad I won't have months and months of lease I am committed to paying.



Depending on the state of the local economy and vacancy rates you may have a good amount of leverage here to not only switch to month-to-month but also to negotiate a lower monthly payment.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 1:37pm
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFloGuy

that you have to follow me from post to post and nitpick about things.



To be fair, she's not the only one who has noticed a pattern to your posts, I just didn't think it was appropriate to bring up in a public thread.

scp1127 Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 9:10am
post #34 of 79

Jason, I've seen it for you too.

I think the point is that even if our posts turn out to be a situation no applicable to a thread, or we are just wrong, we have at least looked up the information and sincerely tried to give the correct answer.

Posts that are just thought up out of thin air are not helpful and cloud the debate if there are several ways to look at the situation.

People come on this site to get real answers. Many times they get a broad range of opinions that all can be applied to certain situations. But all suggestions are valid or either later changed.

My hope is that all of the research done in good faith does not get mixed up in opinions that don't make sense or are easily proven to be completely wrong.

Again for the 50th time, these threads are google searches and I believe we have a moral obligation to give the best answers that we can so that bad information is not passed on as truth.

On the other hand, this is a public forum, so you will have this...

kelleym Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 2:58pm
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Jason, I've seen it for you too.

I think the point is that even if our posts turn out to be a situation no applicable to a thread, or we are just wrong, we have at least looked up the information and sincerely tried to give the correct answer.

Posts that are just thought up out of thin air are not helpful and cloud the debate if there are several ways to look at the situation.

People come on this site to get real answers. Many times they get a broad range of opinions that all can be applied to certain situations. But all suggestions are valid or either later changed.

My hope is that all of the research done in good faith does not get mixed up in opinions that don't make sense or are easily proven to be completely wrong.

Again for the 50th time, these threads are google searches and I believe we have a moral obligation to give the best answers that we can so that bad information is not passed on as truth.

On the other hand, this is a public forum, so you will have this...



It's ok if the facts are wrong, as long as the person meant well? Because someone finding a thread like this on a Google search can instantly ascertain the difference between pot stirring, and Law Degrees by Google?

Not.

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jason_kraft Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 3:11pm
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

It's ok if the facts are wrong, as long as the person meant well? Because someone finding a thread like this on a Google search can instantly ascertain the difference between pot stirring, and Law Degrees by Google?



Yes, since incorrect information is usually corrected by other posters' research. The ability to do research on legal issues is not restricted only to those with law degrees.

SoFloGuy Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 4:58pm
post #37 of 79

I agree about not trusting Google to act like an expert here. You can even go to a legit site and get conflicting info or info that is up to interpretation. I've called Medicare to get information about an appeal my mother needed to file and was given incorrect information from them.

I've checked USPS to mail something the book rate which is now called media mail and have found on the USPS website 3 different interpretations of the rule. I have gone there in person and have been told that media mail is sent via the parcel post rate and it's the same rate, and that info is incorrect.

gatorcake Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 5:53pm
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Now off my soapbox, but CFL wreaks havoc on the economic system of the small businesses that are in the same industry.




It may create additional competition but it does not "wreak havoc" on the economic system. Your success is evident why it does not. If you live in an area with a CFL you are already in competition with locals who are operating unlicensed--they are out there. That a CFL would allow them to come out into the open does not mean they are going to wreak havoc on your business or the system. But those establishments are not really your competition are they?

In addition, if there is no CFL in your area and suddenly one was passed your clients are not going to flock to cottage bakers. Why? precisely because of what makes you successful. As you note your prices are already some of the highest, thus there are cheaper alternatives and your clients forgo them. If there is a CFL in your state, your success again proves CFLs don't wreak havoc on the economy.

Finally retail operations in CFL states continue to do well despite the added competition--again disproving this rather melodramatic claim. All proof that they do not wreak havoc.

As to CFLs in general, given that you benefit from zoning ordinances that enable you to operate a commercial enterprise out of your home, your disdain of CFLs in curious. As you note your ability to do so gives you a competitive advantage over a commercial storefront. You benefit from not having to own a commercial property or rent it. Do these zoning ordinances which you clearly benefit from "wreak havoc"? This gives you a competitive advantage yet you seem to have no problem with beneficial zoning ordinances. A CFL does enable a baker an advantage in terms of overhead yet as you note they have limits on what can be provided. This is where a licensed commercial operation has its advantage.

CFLs enable businesses operating under the radar to come into the open. They are already servicing clients. They have limits which enable liscensed enterprises to serve the market in ways that home bakers cannot. And it is simply false to think everyone is out there looking for a deal. People will pay for quality as many successful establishments (including yours) demonstrates.

scp1127 Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 8:05am
post #39 of 79

I agree that I am not in competition with CFL/illegals.

I am a student of economics and the CFL give advantages to those who choose to operate under it and gives an unfair advantage, just as any economic model with two sets of rules that impact costs and income.

Numbers are finite, not emotional or opinionated. If an action affects numbers, it will impact those involved.

I have gotten to know so many people here on CC who have saved and sacrificed for floor drains, in-ground grease traps, inspections on electrical and plumbing work, proper surfaces, etc.

I, myself, have spent over $25,000 and I'm a general contractor, able to pull permits and hire subs. My estimates were $50,000. We were going to hire out the work, but the costs were too high, so I oversaw the work. What if I didn't have the knowledge and experience to make this work easily? At least the illegals had to stay somewhat out of the spotlight.

Now CFL passes and the first thing that happens is not only saturation of the market, with no accountability because there is no skin in the game, the abundance of "businesses" selling at below cost, at a cost that could never support taxes, or at sub-minimum wage is staggering. Some of these people with no business skills are very talented, further wreaking havoc on the people who were in business before CFL.

The suggestion to start working under CFL doesn't work because of the investment that has already been made.

But my biggest gripe about CFL is the blatant disregard for all food safety. Not only do practicioners not have to conform to building codes, they don't have to have food safety courses and they are not inspected. I know every state is different, but these situations do exist. Now the person who put in the three basin sink did it for nothing.

And why is my grease trap a $2500.00 necessity for environmental protection and my neighbor can put all of the grease in the ground she wants? Why penalize one with codes but not the next? I thought we were a country that prided ourselves on a relatively safe food industry. This is not a third world country where anything goes.

How about that home baker who professes that she's afraid of strangers in her house and must meet at Starbucks, when in reality, the whole house and the kitchen are a filthy mess?

In this country, we take it for granted that food service businesses are up to code and inspected. The average person will not check a license or research different types of licenses. The consumer believes that those working from home abide by the same laws that a butcher, restaurant, food truck, or hot dog stand abides.

So sorry, in an economic model, CFL is unfair. It also adds to the growing pile, another group of businesses that can evade state, federal, and sales taxes, as it is a fact that many small home businesses do this.

CFL not only hurts those with full licenses, the saturation and unrealistic pricing hurt the CFL practitioners who are now falling all over each other.

kelleym Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 4:04pm
post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I agree that I am not in competition with CFL/illegals.

I am a student of economics and the CFL give advantages to those who choose to operate under it and gives an unfair advantage, just as any economic model with two sets of rules that impact costs and income.



Bakeries and cottage food producers are not the same economic model.

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Numbers are finite, not emotional or opinionated. If an action affects numbers, it will impact those involved.

I have gotten to know so many people here on CC who have saved and sacrificed for floor drains, in-ground grease traps, inspections on electrical and plumbing work, proper surfaces, etc.



Yes, many people have to sacrifice a great deal to open a commercial operation. Some people, no matter how much they sacrifice, would ever be able to open a commercial operation. Many don't want to. I don't want to. But I do want to be able to make a few cakes and get paid for them.

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I, myself, have spent over $25,000 and I'm a general contractor, able to pull permits and hire subs. My estimates were $50,000. We were going to hire out the work, but the costs were too high, so I oversaw the work. What if I didn't have the knowledge and experience to make this work easily?



That's really, truly, wonderful for you that you had $25,000 to spend on your in-home bakery. You are now reaping the benefits of your investment.

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At least the illegals had to stay somewhat out of the spotlight.



What? Non-sequitur.

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Now CFL passes and the first thing that happens is not only saturation of the market, with no accountability because there is no skin in the game, the abundance of "businesses" selling at below cost, at a cost that could never support taxes, or at sub-minimum wage is staggering. Some of these people with no business skills are very talented, further wreaking havoc on the people who were in business before CFL.



Perhaps those operators are just hobbyists, who exist in every state in the country. The ones who try to operate a business with prices too low will burn out in no time. Again, the "$10 craigslist cakes" can be found on every regional craigslist in the US, not just cottage food law states.

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The suggestion to start working under CFL doesn't work because of the investment that has already been made.



Cottage food laws generally have significant restrictions, which you do not have to deal with as a legal commercial in-home bakery.

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But my biggest gripe about CFL is the blatant disregard for all food safety. Not only do practicioners not have to conform to building codes, they don't have to have food safety courses and they are not inspected. I know every state is different, but these situations do exist. Now the person who put in the three basin sink did it for nothing.



I would ask again for you to please find statistics about the number of foodborne illness outbreaks from cottage food products. The Texas Department of State Health Services couldn't do it. The Harris County Health Department couldn't do it. The Plano Health Department couldn't do it. That's because the type of low-risk products sold from cottage food producers aren't able to sustain the growth of dangerous organisms that make people sick.

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And why is my grease trap a $2500.00 necessity for environmental protection and my neighbor can put all of the grease in the ground she wants? Why penalize one with codes but not the next? I thought we were a country that prided ourselves on a relatively safe food industry. This is not a third world country where anything goes.



Because, as I said before, scale matters. Maybe I should say it again. Scale matters. I make approximately one cake per week for sale. There is a difference between Sally Homebaker making a few cakes here and there, and a commercial operation selling dozens of cakes per day.

No, this is not a third world country. It's America, land of the free and home of the brave. Where we ALL win when opportunity is opened up to the broadest number of people possible.

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How about that home baker who professes that she's afraid of strangers in her house and must meet at Starbucks, when in reality, the whole house and the kitchen are a filthy mess?



In Texas, the transaction must take place at the cottage food operator's home, to allow the customer the opportunity to self-inspect the conditions.

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In this country, we take it for granted that food service businesses are up to code and inspected. The average person will not check a license or research different types of licenses. The consumer believes that those working from home abide by the same laws that a butcher, restaurant, food truck, or hot dog stand abides.



Many cottage food laws, including Texas', require the food to be labeled that it was made in a home kitchen and not inspected. Some people seem to think this is supposed to be a deterrent. I put it on my labels happily and proudly. Damn straight no bureaucrat with a clipboard was in my kitchen at some point a year or two ago to give me their stamp of approval (for a fee, of course). My kitchen is inspected every day, by me.

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So sorry, in an economic model, CFL is unfair. It also adds to the growing pile, another group of businesses that can evade state, federal, and sales taxes, as it is a fact that many small home businesses do this.



This is an unfounded accusation that is extremely offensive. Why don't you let the IRS worry about small home business tax evaders and focus on your own extremely successful business?

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CFL not only hurts those with full licenses, the saturation and unrealistic pricing hurt the CFL practitioners who are now falling all over each other.



How does a cottage food law hurt cottage food operators? Talk about circular logic. Without the law, there would be no cottage food operators.

Also, the only commercial bakery who I have seen give his opinion here of how Arizona's cottage food law has affected his business, said his business was up overall. I discount the rumblings from legal home businesses who grumble about other legal home businesses.

I'm sorry, I just can't sit back and let you argue that America is a place where there should be an extremely high barrier of entry into the market of selling cakes. So I should have had to spend $25,000-$50,000 (by your estimate) to sell a cake week? What?

The real crime is that we ever got to the point where it was illegal to bake a cake and sell it to your neighbor.

AZCouture Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 4:17pm
post #41 of 79

In my little town, someone started a Craigslist type Facebook group to sell their stuff on. It's now a mess of bakers and people who think it's cute to make and sell cakes, and have zero experience or skill to do so. The worst part is this group has a LOT of members, like a good majority of my town. So just below the used lawnmower and above the bag of used baby clothes that people are haggling over and bargaining for, are people seeking out pretty cakes. And just like the haggling for the stuff I mentioned before, so it happens for the cakes. They say they want cheap, and boy are they getting it. There are a couple of people who jump right up and say "Me! Me! I'll do it!". Then they come to a cake group a few of us belong to and start asking how much they should charge and how to make the cakes. Then they come back later and say the customer wasn't happy. Ya think?

They are training the public to expect mediocrity for a low price. No wonder they have a heart attack at beautiful and more appropriately priced.

MARKET OVERSATURATION.

Rant over. icon_sad.gif

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 4:20pm
post #42 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

So sorry, in an economic model, CFL is unfair.



The main reason the CFL is unfair to pre-CFL small bakeries is because of the onerous health dept requirements in place for low-volume, low-risk food processors. If a CFL had been in place before you started your business you would probably have a different opinion.

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CFL not only hurts those with full licenses, the saturation and unrealistic pricing hurt the CFL practitioners who are now falling all over each other.



Definitely agree here, but again this was caused by artificial barriers to entry in place before the CFL. Removing those barriers causes a supply spike, which will drive down prices and profits until a new equilibrium is reached.

kelleym Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 4:31pm
post #43 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

In my little town, someone started a Craigslist type Facebook group to sell their stuff on. It's now a mess of bakers and people who think it's cute to make and sell cakes, and have zero experience or skill to do so. The worst part is this group has a LOT of members, like a good majority of my town. So just below the used lawnmower and above the bag of used baby clothes that people are haggling over and bargaining for, are people seeking out pretty cakes. And just like the haggling for the stuff I mentioned before, so it happens for the cakes. They say they want cheap, and boy are they getting it. There are a couple of people who jump right up and say "Me! Me! I'll do it!". Then they come to a cake group a few of us belong to and start asking how much they should charge and how to make the cakes. Then they come back later and say the customer wasn't happy. Ya think?

They are training the public to expect mediocrity for a low price. No wonder they have a heart attack at beautiful and more appropriately priced.

MARKET OVERSATURATION.

Rant over. icon_sad.gif




That's called a free market, Jamie. The best will survive and the worst will fail.

In any case, public health* (and I use this term loosely) laws aren't supposed to exist to protect "the market".

*The more you know about public health regulations, the more you realize that they have almost nothing to do with public health, and everything to do with protecting large businesses. I urge all of you to get involved with your city's local and sustainable foods groups, it is an eye-opening experience.

AZCouture Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 4:42pm
post #44 of 79

Oh I know, it's just frustrating to see it happen, and especially when they are openly asking questions that you really gotta know before you start doing this! How much to charge on this order I committed to? How do I make this? I link to your article all the time, and it just falls on deaf ears. Really, we are being very helpful in this group because we're being asked, but it's being ignored.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 5:20pm
post #45 of 79
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Originally Posted by kelleym

The more you know about public health regulations, the more you realize that they have almost nothing to do with public health, and everything to do with protecting large businesses.



I'm curious why you think this way. The public health regs in California are a pain but I can see why they are required for business with large volumes: to tell the public that a specific food processor knows how to handle food safely and has the proper processes in place. If anything I think they are too lenient and don't inspect often enough, based on what I've seen from other tenants at our commercial kitchen.

If this was really all a conspiracy to protect large businesses, one would think that these large businesses would use their deep pockets and legislative influence to block CFLs in every state, but that hasn't been the case.

kelleym Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 5:33pm
post #46 of 79
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Originally Posted by jason_kraft

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Originally Posted by kelleym

The more you know about public health regulations, the more you realize that they have almost nothing to do with public health, and everything to do with protecting large businesses.


I'm curious why you think this way. The public health regs in California are a pain but I can see why they are required for business with large volumes: to tell the public that a specific food processor knows how to handle food safely and has the proper processes in place. If anything I think they are too lenient and don't inspect often enough, based on what I've seen from other tenants at our commercial kitchen..



All that really means is that inspections are largely worthless, and only tell you about the conditions in the facility at any one given point in time. More inspectors and more inspections means more money, higher fees, higher operating costs, higher barrier of entry into the market. And for what? Studies have shown that when the operator is personally responsible for the repercussions if something were to go wrong, then inspections have almost no impact.

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If this was really all a conspiracy to protect large businesses, one would think that these large businesses would use their deep pockets and legislative influence to block CFLs in every state, but that hasn't been the case.



Do you personally know what's gone on behind the scenes in every state? Just because we're winning small battles, doesn't mean there's not a war going on. As I said before, get involved with a local and sustainable food group, or join a group like Food Democracy Now, and your eyes will be opened to what's really going on.

Ramute64 Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 5:35pm
post #47 of 79

I wouldn't worry about it. I run house cleaning business and there is a lot individual people offering the cleaning service (would be much more then cake bakers), but at the end comes to quality and what service customer gets. Because we are insured and bonded , pay office rent,use eco friendly cleaning products, our prices are double,then individual .But our quality is great, we are dependable, etc. There is always a lot competition in any business (and the rules for individual and business are different) , but that what makes you grow and get new skills how to get more customers. And if somebody does better job then I do, it means I need to improve to get the customers. At the end it's all about the product you offer.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 5:50pm
post #48 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

All that really means is that inspections are largely worthless, and only tell you about the conditions in the facility at any one given point in time. More inspectors and more inspections means more money, higher fees, higher operating costs, higher barrier of entry into the market.



I don't think inspections are worthless, but I agree that they become more effective when there is more funding for food safety and enforcement.

Most of the barrier to entry comes from getting the commercial kitchen set up in the first place, not inspection fees. Increasing inspection fees would not be an undue burden for high volume businesses. For low volume businesses a more cursory inspection (and thus lower fees) would be sufficient to ensure the correct food safety knowledge and underlying processes are there as opposed to making sure everything is being implemented correctly 100% of the time.

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And for what? Studies have shown that when the operator is personally responsible for the repercussions if something were to go wrong, then inspections have almost no impact.



Can you clarify what you mean by this point? In most high volume commercial bakeries the operator (i.e. the person processing the food) is not the owner and is thus not ultimately personally responsible. One would think that inspections would have more impact when the owner and the operator are the same person (in a home bakery).

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Do you personally know what's gone on behind the scenes in every state? Just because we're winning small battles, doesn't mean there's not a war going on.



I don't have first-hand knowledge of what's going on in every state, but considering the proponents of CFLs have very little funding compared to the established food industry there doesn't seem to be as much opposition as you would expect, just the normal legislative slog resulting from other bills taking precedence.

Can you elaborate on what makes you think there is a "war" going on?

vgcea Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 5:54pm
post #49 of 79

I would just like to add from a customer's perspective that cake decorators should give the customer some credit. We are not a bunch of morons walking about, unable to make reasonable, mentally intact decisions. If having my cake made by a commercial, HD-inspected, licensed, and insured bakery is important to me. I'll go to one and buy my cake there. If I prefer it 'home-made' and we have a CFL, I'll find a home baker and buy it there. If I want cheap cake, your fancy SMBC, Kahlua and Guittard infused 4 tier masterpiece isn't going to cut it; I'll buy from the cheap caker down the street because that is what I can afford. If I want a masterpiece I know where to find you.

Cheap cakers making $10 cakes are not your competition. Poorly skilled cakers are not your competition. If I can't afford a $200 cake, having or not having the craigslist caker isn't going to do anything to bring me to your door. I am NOT your target market. If you find you business falling to pieces because your state has a new CFL, then it's time to refine your business plan.

Businesses need to understand that the market is dynamic and we need to be on our toes and not get comfy. Things like CFLs will come, and shake things up but it's part of doing business. Proper planning and modifications of your way of doing business will go a long way toward preserving your success.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 6:03pm
post #50 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

Cheap cakers making $10 cakes are not your competition. Poorly skilled cakers are not your competition.



The big issue is when people who are highly skilled at cake decorating start home bakeries without any business knowledge and end up severely underpricing their products. Then you have someone who is offering cakes just as good as yours for a fraction of the price, and you either have to try to educate them or wait until they burn out. This is less of a problem when barriers to entry are higher.

vgcea Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 6:15pm
post #51 of 79
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Originally Posted by jason_kraft

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Originally Posted by vgcea

Cheap cakers making $10 cakes are not your competition. Poorly skilled cakers are not your competition.


The big issue is when people who are highly skilled at cake decorating start home bakeries without any business knowledge and end up severely underpricing their products. Then you have someone who is offering cakes just as good as yours for a fraction of the price, and you either have to try to educate them or wait until they burn out. This is less of a problem when barriers to entry are higher.




I see how that can be a problem but we need to trust market dynamics, that tactic is not sustainable and they will at some point either have to increase their prices to stay viable or like you said "burn out." I say folks should focus on their businesses and how to be better, and leave the 'policing' and educating to market forces. They seem to be quite effective in removing elements who are functioning contrary to the principles of economics.

kelleym Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 7:56pm
post #52 of 79
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Originally Posted by jason_kraft

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Originally Posted by kelleym

All that really means is that inspections are largely worthless, and only tell you about the conditions in the facility at any one given point in time. More inspectors and more inspections means more money, higher fees, higher operating costs, higher barrier of entry into the market.
I don't think inspections are worthless, but I agree that they become more effective when there is more funding for food safety and enforcement.



More funding = more taxes, more government.

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Most of the barrier to entry comes from getting the commercial kitchen set up in the first place, not inspection fees. Increasing inspection fees would not be an undue burden for high volume businesses. For low volume businesses a more cursory inspection (and thus lower fees) would be sufficient to ensure the correct food safety knowledge and underlying processes are there as opposed to making sure everything is being implemented correctly 100% of the time.

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And for what? Studies have shown that when the operator is personally responsible for the repercussions if something were to go wrong, then inspections have almost no impact.


Can you clarify what you mean by this point? In most high volume commercial bakeries the operator (i.e. the person processing the food) is not the owner and is thus not ultimately personally responsible. One would think that inspections would have more impact when the owner and the operator are the same person (in a home bakery).



Here's the study.
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/10143/1/631010014.pdf
"Surprisingly, our results show that when safety failure costs can be
allocated to suppliers, minimum levels of inspection error are required to motivate
a supplier to deliver uncontaminated lots. This result does not hold when costs cannot
be allocated to suppliers."

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Do you personally know what's gone on behind the scenes in every state? Just because we're winning small battles, doesn't mean there's not a war going on.



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I don't have first-hand knowledge of what's going on in every state, but considering the proponents of CFLs have very little funding compared to the established food industry there doesn't seem to be as much opposition as you would expect, just the normal legislative slog resulting from other bills taking precedence.



The Texas law was passed as an amendment on a Senate bill against all odds after both our bills were killed by shadowy forces working behind the curtain. It was not by any means "normal legislative slog" (at least not in 2011). I attribute at least half of my gray hairs to the Texas Baker's Bill. icon_biggrin.gif

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Can you elaborate on what makes you think there is a "war" going on?



Join Food Democracy Now. Watch "Food, Inc." or "King Corn" or "FRESH the Movie" or "FARMAgeddon". Read a book by Joel Salatin. Google "FDA armed raid" to find out how the FDA is raiding dairy farmers' homes and farms to stop the sale of "dangerous" raw milk. (By the way, according to Texas DSHS, there has been 1 (one) sickness from raw milk in Texas in the last 20 years.) Read the book "Mad Sheep" by Linda Faillace about how the USDA destroyed her healthy sheep flock in the name of preventing "mad cow" disease. Google "Monsanto GMO" to find out about Round-Up Ready genetically modified seeds, and how Monsanto is wielding all its legislative muscle against having to label genetically modified products - they don't want you to know what you're eating. Oh, and how about the National Animal ID System (NAIS), where factory farms like Tyson can use one chip to "id" an entire warehouse of birds, but small farmers would have to tag every single bird? Did you hear about the farm-to-table picnic in Nevada where the Health Department showed up and poured bleach on all the food? You actually do have to seek out the information, because the mainstream media won't be feeding it to you (haha, punny!) on the 6:00 news. You might not call it a war. I do.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 8:49pm
post #53 of 79
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Originally Posted by kelleym

More funding = more taxes, more government.



This statement is correct, but it is not an argument one way or another.

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http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/10143/1/631010014.pdf
"Surprisingly, our results show that when safety failure costs can be
allocated to suppliers, minimum levels of inspection error are required to motivate
a supplier to deliver uncontaminated lots. This result does not hold when costs cannot
be allocated to suppliers."



Interesting paper (one of the co-authors, Prof. Starbird, taught one of my operations mgmt MBA classes), but I'm not sure it really applies here. When they mention costs being allocated to suppliers, they are referring to traceability, which should be the same for a commercial bakery or a home bakery, assuming the latter complies with CFL labeling regs.

In the conclusion of the paper it says:
"When the inspection failure cost is low and safety failure
cost is high, then increasing accuracy is unlikely to provide a meaningful incentive. Increased accuracy will save little in inspection failure cost and will reduce the incentive provided by the safety failure cost. If inspection failure cost is high relative to the safety failure cost, however, then increased accuracy is likely to provide a significant incentive to suppliers."

The safety failure cost (in the case of contaminated food sold to customers) for a home baker is relatively low due to low volume and small batches. The inspection failure cost is also pretty low, since small batches means less waste. The cost of both failures is higher in a commercial bakery, so neither case fits with the conclusion of this paper and it can't be used to predict the impact of increased accuracy in this case.

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Join Food Democracy Now. ...



I am familiar with most of what you mentioned, and I agree that in some cases the FDA does overreach (like the raw milk example), but these tend to be relatively isolated cases when you look at aggregate food safety enforcement actions across the country.

Monsanto is another interesting example, I actually studied them quite a bit for the final project in my IP law class. I can see both sides of the issue: GMO crops are pretty much mandatory if we want to provide enough food for an exploding world population with higher standards of living, but IP law needs some serious changes when dealing with products like this, and GMO in general gets a bad rep (partly due to IP issues).

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The Texas law was passed as an amendment on a Senate bill against all odds after both our bills were killed by shadowy forces working behind the curtain.



Now I'm even more curious...did several Senators suddenly switch their vote after anonymous campaign contributions? Was there a PAC involved? Or was it just because of an unwillingness to spend money on it? Here in California there was some opposition simply due to the overhead cost involved in changing the rules.

BakingIrene Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 9:05pm
post #54 of 79

Foodborne illness arises primarily out of inadequate/ignorant/careless storage and handling.

Many local jurisdictions publish their food inspection reports that detail which violations were found, and how many return visits it took to get each establishment to clean up and train up to par. Inspections are about prevention, not cure. Inspections do not routinely find Hep A or HIV but they do routinely find rat mouse and cockroach donations, as well as food not stored at the correct temperature, and food sold long after its marked use-by date. Go online and read your local city inspection reports if you don't believe me--IF you have a strong enough stomach. There aren't many outbreaks simply because the combination of food handling certification and inspections PREVENT illness.

In addition, the idea of selling cottage food at a flea market that has not been inspected for cleanliness of tables and bathrooms really turns my stomach. I have had food poisoning twice in my life. The first time was right after my local grocer switched from chilled cartons of raw seafood to bowls on ice. The second time was because of the unrefrigerated condiments at a hot-dog stand. That has been more than enough for me, thank you very much...

The OP stated in very great detail her own town's history of ignorance of food laws and safe practises. She has seen the local ads that violate her state CFL regs even before the gate opens. She is suddenly competing against people who will charge as little as possible to get the "business" and she has good reason to be concerned. And she can see that people in her town will eat "dirt" cheap in preference to clean food.

I think that cottage food sellers should be required to provide a printed label/sheet with EVERY food sale detailing proper storage conditions as well as providing a written record of their name address and telephone number. They should be required to provide a written identification of the common allergens (peanut, wheat, milk, egg) if they are present.

Cottage food producers should be REQUIRED to use the equivalent of a three sink system--a dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle, and proper covered storage of their utensils and cooking vessels.

The result of such simple measures would be to again PREVENT unsanitary conditions.

kelleym Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 9:20pm
post #55 of 79
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Originally Posted by BakingIrene

The OP stated in very great detail her own town's history of ignorance of food laws and safe practises. She has seen the local ads that violate her state CFL regs even before the gate opens. She is suddenly competing against people who will charge as little as possible to get the "business" and she has good reason to be concerned. And she can see that people in her town will eat "dirt" cheap in preference to clean food.



She talked about the local "cake lady" who made people sick with.. chowder. Not really a relevant example.

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I think that cottage food sellers should be required to provide a printed label/sheet with EVERY food sale detailing proper storage conditions as well as providing a written record of their name address and telephone number. They should be required to provide a written identification of the common allergens (peanut, wheat, milk, egg) if they are present.

Cottage food producers should be REQUIRED to use the equivalent of a three sink system--a dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle, and proper covered storage of their utensils and cooking vessels.

The result of such simple measures would be to again PREVENT unsanitary conditions.



Could you provide statistics of illnesses originating in cottage foods, and how your suggestions would prevent these illnesses? Otherwise, it just sounds like you're thinking of things that sound good on paper but wouldn't actually have a real world effect, except to be a nuisance to the cottage food operator.

If residential dishwashers didn't sanitize dishes adequately, we'd be in big trouble.

BakingIrene Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 9:41pm
post #56 of 79
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She talked about the local "cake lady" who made people sick with.. chowder. Not really a relevant example.




And banana cream pie...that was caught just before anybody ate it.

And baking wedding cakes while babysitting/changing diapers.

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If residential dishwashers didn't sanitize dishes adequately, we'd be in big trouble.



Yah if they use them...some people still wash dishes at home by hand.

And as I already said, go online and read some city health inspection reports. CFL comes with a total and utter lack of inspection. And do you think that the requirement of a food handling certificate (one day of training) is too much to ask of people who want to sell food?

kelleym Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 9:55pm
post #57 of 79
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Originally Posted by BakingIrene

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She talked about the local "cake lady" who made people sick with.. chowder. Not really a relevant example.



And banana cream pie...that was caught just before anybody ate it.



Which is also not allowed in most cottage food laws.

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And baking wedding cakes while babysitting/changing diapers.



Yeah, this was really needlessly inflammatory. Just about every human being on earth has to defecate (hopefully) daily. We wash our hands, and continue with life.

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If residential dishwashers didn't sanitize dishes adequately, we'd be in big trouble.



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Yah if they use them...some people still wash dishes at home by hand.



You mean they wash their dishes by hand... and live to tell the tale? icon_wink.gif

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And as I already said, go online and read some city health inspection reports. CFL comes with a total and utter lack of inspection. And do you think that the requirement of a food handling certificate (one day of training) is too much to ask of people who want to sell food?



Some cottage food laws come with inspections. Some don't. The laws cover a pretty broad spectrum of regulation vs. non-regulation. What I am missing is the statistics that show that there is a higher incidence of illness in the non-regulated cottage food states. You're clearly very passionate. I see that you live in Ontario. I don't know what the laws on home baking for profit are like there, but I definitely hope that you get involved and make your voice heard!

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jun 2012 , 10:32pm
post #58 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

What I am missing is the statistics that show that there is a higher incidence of illness in the non-regulated cottage food states.



Are there statistics that show a lower or equal incidence of food-borne illness per capita in non-regulated cottage food states?

Mikomomof4 Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 3:41am
post #59 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

I would just like to add from a customer's perspective that cake decorators should give the customer some credit. We are not a bunch of morons walking about, unable to make reasonable, mentally intact decisions. If having my cake made by a commercial, HD-inspected, licensed, and insured bakery is important to me. I'll go to one and buy my cake there. If I prefer it 'home-made' and we have a CFL, I'll find a home baker and buy it there. If I want cheap cake, your fancy SMBC, Kahlua and Guittard infused 4 tier masterpiece isn't going to cut it; I'll buy from the cheap caker down the street because that is what I can afford. If I want a masterpiece I know where to find you.

Cheap cakers making $10 cakes are not your competition. Poorly skilled cakers are not your competition. If I can't afford a $200 cake, having or not having the craigslist caker isn't going to do anything to bring me to your door. I am NOT your target market. If you find you business falling to pieces because your state has a new CFL, then it's time to refine your business plan.

Businesses need to understand that the market is dynamic and we need to be on our toes and not get comfy. Things like CFLs will come, and shake things up but it's part of doing business. Proper planning and modifications of your way of doing business will go a long way toward preserving your success.




I totally agree. I purchased my first custom cake almost 2 years ago from a home baker (someone i knew). now i make my childrens cakes myself.

i don't understand how it affects your business unless your loyal customers are inticed by the newcomers low prices. no amount of protest, arguments, complaints and even laws (lets be serious) are going to get folks to come to your business.

you say "this is affecting my business". that is not totally true.

These folks are not gonna come to you and were never potential "business" for you
1. people who don't care to pay for your license fees, kitchen fees.
2. folks who refuse to pay $500 for a cake (weddings may be another thing).
3. someone who cannot afford to spend $300 on an eight in round birthday cake ( i know the work that goes into when i make my cakes that are no where near the caliber of work that is displayed on cake central. i understand your arguments that you are worth the money. yes you are)
4. license baker kitchen great, but does the inspection/license tell you about the bakers work ethic. does it tell you that they scrub their hands, keep em out of their hair? does it mean that they are cleaner than home bakers. i've seen comments on here basically labeling home bakers as dirty. license/inspected great but are they standing over your shoulder watching your every move? again licensed/inspected great but everyone does not care.

these folks are not "potential business" for you.

i think kitchen clean up after decorating should be included in price. it is a lot of work. getting rid of cfl is not gonna bring a rush of business to you.

your gonna get the folks who
1. have a budget to buy from you.
2. will only trust a licensed baker/kitchen
3. loyal customers that love your cakes and understand that they are worth it.

i know that you all work hard and your cakes are amazing.

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jun 2012 , 5:40am
post #60 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikomomof4

i don't understand how it affects your business unless your loyal customers are inticed by the newcomers low prices.



That's exactly how existing businesses can be affected if skilled cake decorators start home bakeries with prices far below market value.

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your gonna get the folks who
1. have a budget to buy from you.
2. will only trust a licensed baker/kitchen
3. loyal customers that love your cakes and understand that they are worth it.



The only true competitive advantage a licensed bakery has over a CFL bakery is point 2. Loyalties can shift if new home bakeries start generating positive buzz...there's nothing wrong with that, unless these new bakeries are selling similar quality products at half the price while paying themselves less than minimum wage.

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