AOver the past few months I have been decorating all sorts of cakes out of home and making a fairly good profit off of them..I have also started a fb page that gets a good amount of attention. Here's the thing.. I am not licensed and have no idea how to go about this! I don't need a separate kitchen to make these do I? I will gladly get licensed and have an inspection and all of that good stuff I just don't know where to start. Please help I don't want to get in trouble and want to be official!
It depends on the state you are in and whether or not there is a Cottage Food Law enacted. Then, it depends on the town you are in to give you approval from both the zoning board in and the Board of Health. Call your town's Board of Health to start the process, they will meet with you and give you the specific rules for your state.
AIn the US health depts are usually at the county level.
Where are you located?
AI'm located in Joplin, Missouri in Jasper county.
AMO does have a cottage food law, but the rules can vary by county. Contact the county board of health for more info at 417-358-3111. You'll also want to make sure you have business liability insurance to protect yourself, your current insurance provider should be able to refer you (State Farm and The Hartford are two popular providers). You should contact Joplin city hall as well to see what the rules are for business licenses and zoning for home-based businesses.
If you haven't already done so, you should put together a business plan to work out pricing, marketing strategies, etc. and either hire an accountant or set up a program like QuickBooks to track your income and expenses for tax purposes.
AWow I appreciate all of the information Jason!
AAlso Jason..what exactly is the cottage food law?
AIt's a law that allows people to sell food made at home (with some restrictions) without having to follow some or all of the rules set up by the state/county health dept. Usually a home-based business operating under a cottage food law will be able to make only certain types of non-potentially-hazardous food (e.g. food that does not require refrigeration), be allowed to make only so much per year, and label their food with a warning stating that the product was made in a non-inspected kitchen.
In MO each county is required to have their own version of a cottage food law so the specific restrictions vary from county to county. There is a bill working its way through the MO legislature that would establish standard rules across the state if passed: http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB617&year=2013&code=R
AOkay Jason.. So I called my counties health dept and the lady firmly said no you cannot bake and sell anything out of your home in Missouri without a separate kitchen. I mentioned the Cottage Food Law and she said no there isn't one and it's against the law......
AWhat do I do?? I have about 20 cakes I have said yes to in the next month or two!! And I want to do this more than anything!! :(
AYour best bet would be to follow up with the state dept of health, it's possible that the person you spoke with at county did not have all the necessary information.
In the meantime I would find another baker to take over your orders until you are licensed.
AThank you I will call them!
After a google search.....
I found this: " The Cottage Food Industry Act became a law on January 1, 2012, and is going to allow a person who produces non-potentially hazardous foods in their own home kitchen to sell those foods at a farmer’s market. Previously, sellers at farmer’s markets were only allowed to sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Each food will have to be labeled as follows: “This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspections that may also process common food allergens.” A list of ingredients,along with the producer’s name, address and the date it was produced, also has to be on the label. The producer fills out a registration form before selling and the only time the health department is involved is if a buyer gets sick and/or makes a complaint."
If this is Jasper County, Missouri
I also found this, saying the same thing:
You may be limited to selling at Farmer's Markets, some states limit baked goods sells in this way.
Also, it's in your best interest to ALWAYS write down what you are told, from what office and the NAME of the person who told you. For years people have told stories about having one person say "Yea, sure." and then having another say "Heck no, are you nuts?" Get a notebook and write down the time and day you called, the full name of the person you talked to, their title etc. If you are going to have a business, get in the habit of putting everything in writing. :)
AThank you for all of your research and good idea! So is that saying I can't sell it directly out of my home?
Original message sent by Hannahscakes
Thank you for all of your research and good idea! So is that saying I can't sell it directly out of my home?
The bottom link above (the top one is for a different state) says that each county can set their own rules as to how they interpret the MO cottage food law. If you can get more info on the state law and what counties are and aren't allowed to do, you can take that back to the county and see what they say. You may have to escalate within the county to find someone who is capable of independent thought. I find that visiting the govt offices in person can be effective if you can't get anywhere over the phone.
AYeah the state number didn't return my call today and the county was rude and just said no. I feel like I am getting no where fast with this.
Well, you may not be getting anywhere because it isn't allowed. Aren't you close to Springfield? It looks like there is a commercial kitchen/incubator there you may be able to rent space in. Or you can find a local restaurant that may allow you to rent space during their downtime.
ANo I am an hour and a half from Springfield. The reason I do this from home is because I have a 5 month old that is exclusively breast fed and I can't leave him.
ABelieve me in not trying to break the law..that's why I'm doing my research.
AI'm in IL where we're also only allowed to sell foods not baked in a commercial kitchen at farmers markets. Not much use to me when there are only farmers markets for 3 months of the year. It's hard having to say no to people who see and eat my cakes at the parties I take them to.
If you can't seem to find the right people to answer your questions, go to a restaurant in your town and ask for the name and phone number of the person who inspects their kitchen. (Tell them why so they don't think you're reporting them.) The people inspecting restaurants also deal in the Cottage Food Law. In my town, it's the Board of Health that oversees everything. Good luck!
Here is another link:
from what I can get, no, you can not do this out of your home kitchen, but all the answers on this page refer back to your local area. In the question about home business they only mention jams and pickles, not baked goods.
So, how about building a second kitchen? Is that a possibility on your part?
My state of Pa allows a second kitchen inside the home, that is separate to be used.
You may be able to contact the state Department of Agriculture, that is who governs home baking here in Pa.
But, you also may not be able to do this in your county, and that is why you are getting nowhere with your local office. It looks like Missouri governs county by county.