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Calling VA "legal" home-based bakers - Page 3

post #31 of 87
I was just inspected early Aug in Virginia Beach and it was SOO much easier than I had stressed myself out to be! He was at my house maybe 30 minutes--reviewed my paperwork with me, opened the oven, looked in every cabinet with a flashlight, checked the bathroom, checked for running cold and hot water, asked how I sanitized, made sure ingredients were kept separate in the fridge (mine are in a rubbermade basket), and that all equipment/ingredients were kept separate in my cabinet/pantry. Of course, I tried to make sure everything was spotless, but he never saw that the bottom of my trash can was scrubbed or that my blinds had been washed! Good luck and let us know how it goes--you'll do great and will be so excited when its all done thumbs_up.gif
post #32 of 87
Good luck with your inspection

Just make sure

1. Your supplies are seperate & labeled away from your home stuff. For certain drawers in my kitchen I took a peice of scotch tape and wrote over it with my business name.

2. Make sure you have the chlorine strips that can be purchased at a restaurant supply store.

3. I also marked my sink at the three gallon mark so I know how much sanitizer I need to add. (They like organization and thinking ahead)

4. Nothing on floor in pantry

5. Probe thermometer that can hold temperature. i.e. when making merengue buttercream

hmmmmmm...trying to think

6. Non latex gloves...just in case

7. Keep your hair back if it is long, better yet up. I'm sure they would mention it should be tied back if you are working.

post #33 of 87
WooooHooooooo Ok so happy here, I passed, I passed, I passed *does the happy dance*. Ok so now I just have to go get the business license. My inspector was WAY nice. He actually made a comment to me that he'd never seen a packet come to him as complete as mine was and that he was impressed. He went over the info with me and did a quick (and I do mean QUick) check of the kitchen. He said he was impressed with how I had everything, and impressed with the organization. At one point I actually felt he was talking because he had to stretch out the time

Thanks for all of your support and suggestions, it really does mean a great deal to me!
post #34 of 87
I was glad to see this! We will be moving in December to Manassas (probably or Fairfax) and have just received my packet today. We are planning on looking for a house with a walkout basement with a separate entrance for my kitchen. But is it possible to do this out of your regular kitchen and did you need professional equipment. Also, do you have to type out every recipe and what if it includes alcohol how do you store it? The reason I'm asking is that I have a couple of recipes with cheesecake filling and amaretto alcohol in it. thanks,
post #35 of 87
In VA you can do it out of your household kitchen as long as your supplies are kept separate. I have separate shelves in my pantry for pans and utensils and a separate cabinet for ingredients. In my fridge I have a plastic basket to keep the milk, eggs, butter, etc, kept separate from household items. Not sure about storing cheesecakes, but I keep my completed cakes in cake boxes on my dining room table adjacent to my kitchen, and the inspector said that was fine. You do have to type out recipes, along with directions and ingredient labels. The paperwork took the longest, but the inspection was pretty easy. Good luck!!!
post #36 of 87
Thank you Jessica! icon_smile.gif Your info helped a lot because the paperwork I received yesterday was a bit confusing regarding whether or not you needed a separate kitchen & entrance. I have started typing the recipes and directions, guess you have to do it for every cake so that will keep me busy for awhile. Have a great day & thank you again!
post #37 of 87
The packet they send you for Virginia is very lacking in it's direction. I have learned from experience that before you can get your business license you have to pass your inspection. I would think it would be the other way around but it's not. Once you have your packet you will need to type out every single recipe. For me it was a lot of work because I have 21 different types of cakes I offer. You need to type out recipes for each and every filling even if you use your icing as a filling it's got to have it's own recipe and then repeat for your icings. You will need to provide a detailed list of where you buy all of your supplies. You also have to weigh out everything and I do mean everything. You need to provide your measurements for every single recipe. Provide ounces and then grams. This information has to be on your labels. Yes you have to do labels and the inspector and I discussed it it's not required however he HIGHLY suggested that a note be put on the label for allergins such milk, egg, wheat and if you use cake release soy.

Your also going to have to sit down and think about how you work in the kitchen. You have to provide a detailed work flow from raw product to the finished and then how it is stored and given to the customer. It is a long process paperwork wise I personally thought I might never finish up. I just recently went through my inspection so it's freshly in my mind if you have any questions feel free to send me a message.

post #38 of 87
About the labels, I talked to a man that works in the weights and measures dept. and he told me because I do "contract sales", meaning a customer comes to me and I do a cake especially for them, I don't need to worry about listing the weight on the label. If however, I sold my cakes at like a farmers market or a local store, I would have to do it.

Also, I was wondering what your process is for sanitizing in a two basin sink? Just want to make sure all my ducks are in a row! I submitted my packet and am waiting for the inspector to call. I think I am stressing myself out more than I need to for this inspection. From the way you all talk, it doesn't sound that bad! Did they watch you bake anything, or just checked around and made sure everything looked ok?
post #39 of 87
Also, does anyone know if in VA we have to collect sales tax? I have read on here in other states they have to collect sales tax on cake orders and then remit to the state either every quarter or month.
post #40 of 87
Jen - According to the inspector from the dept of agriculture the weight is a requirement on the label. they are the people who pass or fail you and if they want it on there then so be it is my attitude - it really isn't a hard thing to do.

Yes in the state of Virginia, food is taxed. There for if you go for you business license and you are a legit business you must charge sales tax. i told the girl i didn't want to and was told I had to. Virginia taxes food at 2.5%
post #41 of 87

I have taken the initiative to start a cake club in the Central Virginia Area. It is still in its initial stages. I wanted to come to CC to see if there may be any interested parties.

The cake club will be called Confectionary Artist of Central Virginia.

Purpose: Confectionary Artist of Central Virginia is a nonprofit organization which brings together people interested in the art of cake decorating and related fields for the exchange of information and ideas. The club will actively promote the hobby through the sponsoring of cake shows and demonstrations.

I am already in communication with Kim Morrision of PA. She has agreed to come to Virginia and teach a class on Stringwork.
These types of classes will be offered exclusively to club members in good standing. Dues will be $30 per year. Each meeting will have a cost of $2 for members and $4 for non members.
Should you have any questions, you may pm me or email me at

Couture Cake Creations
Couture Cake Creations
post #42 of 87
We've tried to do a couple of different cake clubs and they never seem to get off the ground because of scheduling conflicts, but keep us posted.

I've never had any inspector say anything about labelling, and I've been in business in Richmond for 10 years. I think the PP who said that you only need to label for resale is right. If you have to label everything with the weights of your ingredients on it then you'll also be giving away your recipes, which you label "trade secret" when you turn them in. In my experience, when it comes to what information they tell you that you'll need, it depends on which inspector you get. I only do wedding cakes, though, so I don't label anything.
post #43 of 87
As for the cake club, count me in! I'll email you separately, Melissa. Thanks!
post #44 of 87
Here's an update on the labelling thing---I spoke to someone in the Agriculture Dept and she said that if your'e the person who baked the cake and you're delivering and setting it up, then there's an exemption for the labelling and you don't have to do it. She said that it's good idea to write down any allergens that are in the cakes and give it to someone at the reception site to cover yourself, but it isn't required AS LONG AS you're the one doing the deliveries. I had my annual inspection yesterday, and the inspector said that the time that problems arise with this is if people have other people delivering things for them, and the people delivering can't answer questions about the ingredients. So as long as you're the only person who's handling the merchandise, you don't HAVE to label, but it doesn't hurt to list allergens just to alert people if they choose to check. That's more a liability thing to cover yourself as well.

If, however, you're selling packaged goods to wholesalers or at farmer's markets or anywhere like that, you have to do food labels. That will cover any questions about ingredients that you wouldn't be there to answer.

I wanted to add that I have the specific names of people at the Department of Agr. who can answer questions, but I don't want to just post them here. If you want to pm me I can give you the inspector's email...He said to feel free to tell people to email him if they had questions. (Poor guy, I don't think he knew what he was in for! icon_twisted.gif )

Another thing that he told me is that in a few months Virginia is going to go to the voluntary inspection system, where you don't need to get an inspection, but if you choose not to you have to clearly state to your customers and put on your products that it comes from a non-inspected kitchen. Personally, I think that's a really bad idea because who knows what conditions people will be cooking in if they're not inspected (the inspector wasn't too happy about it either.) He told me the story of a woman who had to have four samples taken until there was no dog hair found in her baked goods icon_eek.gif, so without inspections she'd still be selling that fur! I figure that it's good for advertising for those of us who have been inspected, that we can say that we've been approved and inspected. It's such an easy process I don't see why you wouldn't have the inspection done...Anyway, we'll be getting letters about that in the next month or so, so keep an eye out for them.
post #45 of 87
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