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New York State Home Processors ~ Help!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Is anyone else on here covered by the NYS Home Processor Exemption?

I have been a legal home processor for 3 years now. 

Started out the inspector would come out and check out your kitchen, go over the rules etc.

I was contacted today by someone who is applying for the exemption and was informed " they no longer come to your home to inspect" . She was told it is all done by e-mail now and all she has to do is fill out the form FSI - 898c and send it in to Albany. ( That's a little disturbing ) .

I called the Dept. of Ag to verify this info and she was correct.

So I go to the NYS Dept of Ag page and notice they have a new  " note " posted . 

 

Note: Direct internet sales (commercial on-line transactions) are prohibited under this exemption. Use of the internet for communication or promotional purposes is permissible. This exemption does not allow for home processors to make specialty items, such as birthday cakes, per order. Furthermore, it does not allow for direct sales of product from the home.

 

I have not been contacted by Albany in regards to this or informed of the change, has anyone else run into a problem?

My interpretation is custom cakes no longer fall under the Home processor exemption. ?!?

Just wondering if anyone else has any info on this new " rule". Are we " grandfathered in" or are we operating illegally now ? 

Thanks NYS icon_mad.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
post #2 of 13

Melanie, sorry, but custom cakes have never been allowed under the Home Processor exemption. The page was updated at the beginning of this month to clarify existing rules. If you have questions, I suggest you call Cory Skier at the Albany office. (518) 457-5459

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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the contact. I will be calling Monday .

The gentleman that is / was the inspector in my area told me that I could do cakes, the stipulations were that I could not sell retail, I would have to sell through our farm market or another retail establishment that would have to be inspected and certified by the health department.

I was told that the farm market would also have to be the point of sale and I am not allowed to deliver cakes. We had a long discussion about someone wanting a large tiered cake and transporting it themselves. 

He never told me that custom cakes were not permitted and knew that was what I was producing.

There is so much confusion with this home processor exemption ,  he must not have had a full understanding  either.

I must say I'm pretty ticked off now, learning this after so long, and having just renewed my liability insurance for the year icon_sad.gif

post #4 of 13

:( Sorry Melanie, but it sounds to me like you've been selling cakes illegally the whole time without knowing it. MimiFix is correct. It took me two years to get licensed and Mimi was actually wonderful in answering many of my questions. I made many, many, many phone calls to the Dept of Ag and the Health Dept and there was no way to bake custom cakes at home. No loop holes. NY has very strict laws and it's really not easy to sell custom cakes legally without having a full bakery. I understand why so many home bakers are selling under the radar. Even after I found a commercial kitchen to use, it still took over 6 months because the dept of ag kept sending me to the health dept and the health dept send me to the dept of ag! It was nuts.

 

It's great that you care. Everyone should. That exemption makes no sense to me now that they would allow anyone to sell any type of baked good out of an un-inspected kitchen. Though I have to say, in my search for a commercial kitchen, I was appalled by some of the kitchens I looked at... and they all passed inspection... yuck.

 

Please keep us posted. I would love to hear what they tell you. Good luck!!!
 

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you ! 

I am pretty frustrated right now. It is important to me to operate legally. I followed all the steps I was told to, the home processor exemption was by far the most confusing part of the process. 

As recently as yesterday, when I called to confirm the info my friend was given about inspectors no longer visiting home kitchens,icon_eek.gif I stated clearly I was interested in producing custom cakes.

The woman I spoke to said " ok, that would fall under the home processor exemption  I'll e-mail you the form you need to fill out and submit to Albany."

Never any mention of that type of cake not being allowed. I think there is confusion on all levels with this.

I had a LONG discussion with the guy that was the inspector in our area. He even laid out my options for selling my cakes, we joked about a client trying to transport a wedding cake themselves. I was told I coudl take orders, but the transaction would have to take place at the market.

I suggested putting a display case in my fathers business, he said that was an option but he would have to be inspected by the health department.

At that time the concern was , no pets, no custards , gloves, hair restraint, no commercial equipment in my kitchen , no advertising , no deliveries, no direct sales, and labeling. 

I appreciate everyones help in understanding this.

I am insured for another year and as of today only family will get custom decorated cakes.

I will offer pre-made and decorated cakes at the market.

I am understanding that I can do cakes, just not special order. Is that correct? 

If I was to pre-make a few designs and offer those for sale that ok be ok?

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

With the exemption am I able to offer cupcakes?

I'm considering maybe just offering those and no cakes at all. 

..as for the commercial kitchen I looked at here...WOW! That experience is why we rarely eat at restaurants anymore. I am amazed at how dirty some were.

I don't think I would even consider trying that route again. 

 

Cakes are not my main source of income so I can live with or without.

I just really enjoy making them.

VERY frustrated and disappointed.

icon_sad.gif

post #7 of 13

sorry you are going through this--i do know how it feels

 

that's why i always say it's according to each individual area and even down to the individual inspector--it varies like crazy huh

 

if it comes to you not needing your insurance you can probably get a refund on it if you wanna cancel it

 

i do wish you the very very best

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one baker's never ever do is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #8 of 13

After reading this thread I'm wondering if it's legal to have a commercial kitchen in one's home in NY, or have a second kitchen (no commercial equipment) that is only for cakes.  For example, if you have a basement or other section of the house that can be divided off from the rest of the house where you can house the kitchen/your business.

 

Someone on CC has mentioned having a commercial licensed kitchen in their home (that is separate from their  family kitchen), but they are not in NY.  Would that be allowed?

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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you K8.

It was just renewed Friday, I'm hoping I can cancel Monday for a refund.

Very frustrating trying to do things the right way. 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbitiousBeginner View Post

After reading this thread I'm wondering if it's legal to have a commercial kitchen in one's home in NY, or have a second kitchen (no commercial equipment) that is only for cakes.  For example, if you have a basement or other section of the house that can be divided off from the rest of the house where you can house the kitchen/your business.

 

Someone on CC has mentioned having a commercial licensed kitchen in their home (that is separate from their  family kitchen), but they are not in NY.  Would that be allowed?

I looked into this option also, I was told you could apply for a home baker license through the Department of Health if you have a commercial kitchen in your home.

Again, I was told this by the same folks who told me I could make custom cakes as a home processor so I"m not 100% sure.

post #11 of 13

ambitious,

 

each locality interprets things differently

 

  • state
  • county
  • city
  • unincorporated
  • hoa
  • apartment complex
  • neighborhood
  • subdivision
  • etc.

 

and each department of the government has different guidelines

 

  • code enforcement
  • health
  • agriculture
  • fire marshall
  • zoning
  • etc

 

and each inspector/decision maker within each division has their own interpretation of all that

 

that's why me/us just blathering on line is almost useless--

 

i mean go figure our op has been 'legal' according to her inspector for a few years and is now learning different

 

it's not a straight line and you have to start where you are and work hard to get alll the answers

 

just because there are state laws for blablabla -- that's one teeny tiny piece of the puzzle

 

i had an online friend gonna move here to my town based on what she learned from a certain division of the gov't

 

i said oh no check with this one & that one because the one you spoke to does not speak for them all

 

typically decorated cake = catering ~~~ -but not everywhere ;)

one baker's never ever do is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's never ever do is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #12 of 13

I spoke with the dept of health about having a separate commercial kitchen in a residential home and was told it is legal under the following conditions: It MUST have a commercial refrigerator, a 3 compartment sink with a grease trap, a hand washing sink, a separate entrance from your home, it's own bathroom and I think a commercial oven, but I can't remember clearly on that one. Now, this also may be different by county, but this is what I was told as it's something I am thinking about for the future.
 

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I just spoke with someone in Albany at the Dept. of Ag.

Home Processors can produce cupcakes, and decorated cakes but the cake cannot be" personalized". So, you cannot produce an Elmo cake for Little Johnny , per order, from your kitchen. 

You can do pre decorated cakes to sell through a farm market etc.

So, rather than made to order cakes, I will be making decorated mini cakes , and holiday cakes to display and sell at the market along with cupcakes.

Just a basic decoration 4" - 6" fun cakes.

Cupcakes will be the primary good but I also plan on bringing along 4-6 decorated mini cakes to start testing the market.

 

The reason for the restriction on made to order cakes is that they cross the line into a retail sale and the Health Dept. wants to get involved. The health dept. does not allow any home baking without a separate commercial kitchen.

As much as I don't like it..I can understand it now.thumbs_up.gif

 

I hope this helps clarify the restriction.

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