Originally Posted by SandyES00
So I'm back to square one. Called the office and the person didn't really know what I was talking about regarding the time and temperature restriction etc., so I explained it to her. She asked around the office and said that there was apparently a list of what was permissible and that she would forward it to me. Got the e-mail and it was literally just a copy of the legislation. Wrote back to ask for the list of items allowed to be produced, and she wrote back saying there was no list, but that things like cheesecakes, pies, puddings etc. and, her words, " basically any pie or cake" wasn't allowed; which I know is wrong according the legislation. Even more confused than before. Any advice? Anyone out there in VA with more info?
I'm in Richmond. Email me at acaketoremember @ yahoo.com and I'll send you the inspector's name to call. I'm not going to post it because the poor guy would get buried.
Ignore everything that's been posted here about non-perishable or not and call the Dept of Agriculture. There are plenty of things that I know are non-perishable, but when I sent my recipes in they called me about some of them anyway and I had to argue with them about it. I've never had anyone question the pH of anything, they just say yes or no and I'm not sure why. You should ask them directly and not take advice from here, because they seem to have a strange set of standards here.
Definitely no cream cheese, ganache or meringue buttercreams, regardless of how shelf-stable people say those things are, unless you really want to try to argue with the Agr. Dept about it. I'd guess no fruit curds, custards or whipped creams either.
Where are you located? Licensing laws apparently vary from county to county, but you'll still have to file to collect sales tax regardless, so you should check into that. When I filed for sales tax I had to have a business license number to do it, but you can check at your county clerk's office for that info. You'll also need to see if you should file for estimated tax for the IRS, but if you're not making that much it probably won't be necessary. Don't ignore the sales tax, though, because if they catch you for not collecting that they will get you and get you good with fines etc. You need to collect at the 5% rate, not the food rate, because they consider decorated cakes to be food that's already prepared, so you have to collect at the higher rate. They might tell you something different, but that won't be right. This was a really complicated issue when they started changing the food tax rates, and they still give you different answers, but you're supposed to collect the higher rate.
Just so you know, the inspectors DO NOT LIKE the cottage law. They don't get to inspect people's kitchens, but they still have to respond to all of the complaints that come in, so they feel like they're being made to respond without the power to inform people first. They're very helpful, so they'll be glad to give you information about food safety, etc.