MellyT Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 8:38am
post #1 of 21

Hello everyone,

I've been lurking around for quite some time and now I'm completely stuck!

I live in British Columbia

Ive recently made cupcakes for a friend's wedding and now another bride has asked to make identical ones for her wedding next year. I don't have any relation to her and plan to charge "market" price for the goods.

I'll either rent a commercial kitchen or borrow a church's licensed kitchen in return for some volunteer work.

What else should I note? I can get a business name/license. Is there such thing as insurance for just a particular event? I don't think I'll be doing these projects on a regular basis. Does any one know how much insurance is in the lower mainland?

I have so many questions but seems like there isn't much info out there!!! I hope someone could share with me their wisdom! Thanks icon_smile.gif

20 replies
MellyT Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 9:28am
post #2 of 21

I should clarify...

Do I have to apply for a business licence to make it legal even though i'm working from a commercial kitchen? Does anyone here NOT buy liability insurance?

I've asked about vending at a night market and they only require me to produce products from a commercial kitchen in order to sell. Whereas in my current case all i'm doing is selling product to a person who is hosting a private function.

I know there are a lot of posts about this but seems like none of them directly solves this question icon_biggrin.gif

I'm quite confused icon_surprised.gif

Apti Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 2:52pm
post #3 of 21

Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately we can't offer much help. In the USA the laws are very different from BC.

Here is a document dated April 2012 that relates specifically to "Guidelines for Sale of Foods at Temporary Food markets"

http://www.bccdc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/8084EEC3-3010-4908-876E-37BF359A939D/0/GuidelinesSaleofFoodsatTemporaryFoodMarkets2012FINAL.pdf

Contact the agencies listed on the first page. (BTW, I found this in about 30 seconds by looking at Google and searching for "cake sales in British Columbia".)

Congratulations on your first "order"!

FromScratchSF Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 4:02pm
post #4 of 21

Some specific answers for commercial kitchens:

- A business license only registers you as someone with a business in your city/county. There is no test or anything like that - it's generally a simple form you fill out and pay a small fee that every single business has to do. In CA (where I am) I had to also publish the name of my business for 3 weeks in a newspaper. I think the license is under $80 a year, the newspaper was $45.

- Every commercial kitchen is different, I pay pretty hefty for the one I use because the demand is so high. They required me to commit to a minimum amount of hours every month.

- At the minimum, they will require you to have your food handler's permit. Register online, read some stuff, take a really bone-head test and pay $15.

- No commercial kitchen will let you use their equipment without liability insurance. Think about it - if you go in there and rip your arm off using a Hobart incorrect, (or even a freak accident) who pays for it? There's no worker's comp - there is only you on private property using equipment for business. The correct answer is your liability insurance. That same insurance should also cover you if you make food that makes someone sick and they sue you. Farmer's markets and other such specific on-site sales events may also require you to get additional Event Insurance. It's a rider to your existing policy that is specific to that event. My insurance is more expensive then most because of the area I live in, I pay $1000 or so a year. Yours should be much less because you probably don't have to have the high limits like I have to ($5 million).

- Depending on your city/county/state, you may need additional permits/licenses. For me as a business owner in CA working in a commercial kitchen, I am required to have a caterer's permit, which is issued by my local health department. In order to get it I had to have my manager's ServSafe certification ($200), submit a bunch of paperwork about the food I make and how I transport it, drawings of my kitchen space and the equipment in it, get an additional form signed off on by the kitchen manager, and pay a fee ($300). I also had to pay an additional registration fee with the City ($300).

- Depending on your state, they may require you to also register your business with them and get a seller's permit. I am exempt from this is CA because we do not collect sales tax on take-away food sales, only on food consumed on site at a restaurant. Since I don't have that I do not collect sales tax. But YOU might have to - so check with your state/district.

Hope this helps alittle!

kelleym Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 4:26pm
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

- No commercial kitchen will let you use their equipment without liability insurance.



I'm not sure that's true across the board. I used two commercial kitchens several years ago without carrying or being asked to carry liability insurance.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 5:59pm
post #6 of 21

I've also never seen a commercial kitchen that did not require its tenants to carry liability insurance. If for some reason the kitchen did not require it, it's really something you should require of yourself.

kelleym Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 6:06pm
post #7 of 21

Since the OP is talking about one single order, I am not sure that obtaining liability insurance would be practical.

MellyT, really only your local Health Department (or whatever local authority covers restaurants/catering) can answer these questions. The legalities vary widely by state, and even more so by country.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 6:12pm
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Since the OP is talking about one single order, I am not sure that obtaining liability insurance would be practical.



Depends on what the minimum premiums and coverage periods are. A local insurance agent that specializes in commercial policies should be able to answer this. If you don't know any commercial insurance agents, your regular insurance agent should be able to give you a referral.

MellyT Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 7:04pm
post #9 of 21

thank so very much for all your input

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti


Here is a document dated April 2012 that relates specifically to "Guidelines for Sale of Foods at Temporary Food markets"

http://www.bccdc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/8084EEC3-3010-4908-876E-37BF359A939D/0/GuidelinesSaleofFoodsatTemporaryFoodMarkets2012FINAL.pdf




I seriously was looking for more than 3 hours and did not come across this document! thumbs_up.gif

I'm super happy there are so many people here that have knowledge about this (regardless of location) Time to research it further icon_lol.gif

Apti Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 9:34pm
post #10 of 21

Glad I found it then!

Happy Baking!

MellyT Posted 6 Sep 2012 , 11:40pm
post #11 of 21

An update from the insurance personnel,

seems like they don't have any particular insurance that can cover me one time without me having to pay an arm and a leg.

The church is letting me use their licensed kitchen for a fee and doesn't require me to have insurance. Now I was reading the contract template a kind individual has posted up on CC and there are lines there say things such as:

- _______ will not be responsible for injury, illness, death from consumption of product
- _______ will not be responsible after delivery , etc etc

Does anyone know how that goes into play? It seems it would cover the concern I have, and since i'll be working out of a licensed kitchen, if something bad were to happen (cross fingers that it won't), i wouldn't be accused right away because i'm not doing it out of my house. The bride would have also signed and initial the part saying i'm out of that particular liability.

after seeing insurance advice, now i must seek legal too? Who knew baking would get so complicated?

Any insights? icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

jason_kraft Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 12:19am
post #12 of 21

It's not very likely, but if there is a problem with your product (or any other food product at the event that could potentially be blamed on you) that contract clause will not protect you if the problem is found to be your fault, and even if it isn't your fault you would still need to pay out of pocket for your legal defense.

It's really up to you and your risk tolerance. The chances of a problem are very low, but if (for example) there is an illness or allergic reaction that requires treatment at a hospital you could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars. If you are sued and require legal representation that generally costs in the $200-400/hour range.

MellyT Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 12:27am
post #13 of 21

^
Thank you Jason for such a quick response. This clears it up for me.

Its great to know there are many resourceful members here icon_biggrin.gif

kelleym Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 1:36am
post #14 of 21

If you stick with cake, frostings, and fillings which do not require refrigeration, the chance of someone getting sick is incredibly low. That is why so many states can pass cottage food laws with minimal regulation for these types of food.

MellyT Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 3:41am
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

If you stick with cake, frostings, and fillings which do not require refrigeration, the chance of someone getting sick is incredibly low. That is why so many states can pass cottage food laws with minimal regulation for these types of food.




Thanks Kelleym
Swaying away from the original question tho. I use Italian buttercream which can pretty be at room temp. What kinds of cake doesn't require refrigeration? If only I lived in the US icon_sad.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 4:13am
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MellyT

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

If you stick with cake, frostings, and fillings which do not require refrigeration, the chance of someone getting sick is incredibly low. That is why so many states can pass cottage food laws with minimal regulation for these types of food.



Thanks Kelleym
Swaying away from the original question tho. I use Italian buttercream which can pretty be at room temp. What kinds of cake doesn't require refrigeration? If only I lived in the US icon_sad.gif




IMBC doesn't need refrigeration. Not sure if that is your question is though? Examples of perishables that are generally considered potentially hazardous by most HDs are whipped cream, cheesecakes and custards.

MellyT Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 4:24am
post #17 of 21

IMBC doesn't need refrigeration. Not sure if that is your question is though? Examples of perishables that are generally considered potentially hazardous by most HDs are whipped cream, cheesecakes and custards.[/quote]

oh pardon me.
I meant to say.. what type of cake bases don't need refrigeration?
I typically use cakes that do require eggs and sometimes milk icon_smile.gif

good thing none of my products use what you mentioned above icon_biggrin.gif

kelleym Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 4:54am
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF


IMBC doesn't need refrigeration. Not sure if that is your question is though? Examples of perishables that are generally considered potentially hazardous by most HDs are whipped cream, cheesecakes and custards.



All recipes are different of course, but you might be interested to know that last year I sent 8 recipe samples off to a food lab for pH and aW testing (the standard that determines whether or not a food item is non-potentially hazardous), and the recipe I sent for IMBC came back potentially hazardous, ie: it requires time and temperature control, and cannot be used by cottage food operators in our state.

MellyT, here is a list of the recipes which tested non-potentially hazardous. SMBC was one of them, so you might want to try this recipe if you don't want to use an American style buttercream.
http://texascottagefoodlaw.com/Resources/Recipes.aspx

Generally all American-style buttercreams (butter and/or shortening, and powdered sugar + liquid and flavorings) will be ok. You can find the one on the Wilton site by googling "Wilton class buttercream" and there are a million variations of that recipe, including a popular one here on CC called Buttercream Dream.

Cakes, cookies, bread, brownies, and other baked items are generally non-potentially hazardous due to their low water content and high acidity.

Fruit fillings would be ok, as well as any of the fillings you can purchase commercially that come in a sleeve such as these. http://www.countrykitchensa.com/whatshot/pastry.aspx

You should not use a homemade filling such as mousse, pastry cream, or whipped cream.

There are many, many different options available to you. It is no big deal to make a non-potentially hazardous wedding cake icon_smile.gif

ETA: So many edits because the server is possibly trying to drive me insane with its timeouts and double, triple posts. It's taken me 25 minutes to add 2 words to this post.

ziggytarheel Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 10:35am
post #19 of 21

MellyT, here is a list of the recipes which tested non-potentially hazardous.

Thanks so much for posting that link! I was amazed to see the traditional cream cheese frosting on the list on non-potentially hazardous recipes. I have probably read more threads about the hazards of such a recipe than any other on this website. I started a few myself trying to find a way to safely travel with a cake iced in this.

kelleym Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 12:51pm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggytarheel

MellyT, here is a list of the recipes which tested non-potentially hazardous.

Thanks so much for posting that link! I was amazed to see the traditional cream cheese frosting on the list on non-potentially hazardous recipes. I have probably read more threads about the hazards of such a recipe than any other on this website. I started a few myself trying to find a way to safely travel with a cake iced in this.



Yes, I have found that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the science of what makes an item potentially hazardous or not. A lot of people will say "Well, it has _____ (milk, eggs, cream cheese, etc) in it, so you have to keep it in the refrigerator; when in reality, it is not a single ingredient that is the determining factor, but rather the overall pH and aW. Most people tend to approach these things with an overabundance of caution, which is admirable! But years ago on Baking Nine One One, Sarah got a food scientist to start giving her opinions on which recipes needed to be refrigerated. One of the recipes was very similar to my cream cheese frosting, and the scientist said, "that's probably ok to leave out", which got me thinking. This year when the Texas cottage food law passed, a friend of mine located a lab in Texas which would test samples, so we had a great time making recipes for testing. The ones that came back NPH are the ones you see on the web site. The ones that came back potentially hazardous (requiring refrigeration and therefore not eligible for sale under the cottage food law) were IMBC and German Chocolate cake filling (the recipe with coconut, pecans, egg yolks, sugar, and condensed milk).

ziggytarheel Posted 7 Sep 2012 , 3:16pm
post #21 of 21

Thanks, again for this great information. I've always understood that a little milk with a lot of powdered sugar was okay, but people have been scaring me about cream cheese! Of course, for years before that, I would leave my carrot cake with this very icing out on the counter for a couple of days and never thought a thing about it. icon_smile.gif I think I will still be extra cautious when serving this to people with weakened immune systems, but I feel better about what I would normally do. (I don't sell anything I make.)

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%