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Tennessee licensed home bakers

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm really interested in getting licensed as a home baker. I've come across different counteracting information. Any pointers or help would be greatly appreciated:)

post #2 of 13

call Ronald Murphy he is in Nashville he will send you the info you need 615-837-5193
 

post #3 of 13

You cannot make decorated cakes to order from home in TN according to to Dr. Faith Critzer, Extension Food Safety Specialist.

 

I emailed the Dept of Agriculture, who oversees the Domestic Kitchen operations when the Domestic Kitchen law changed to not having to have a licensed kitchen.  They forwarded my question to the person listed above. She told me that decorated cakes, made-to-order, is covered by the Dept. of Health and falls under "Catering", requiring a licensed commercial kitchen. I converted my garage at my house to a commercial kitchen and can work from my home that way, but I had to have a licensed kitchen and I am inspected by the Health Dept.

post #4 of 13

I'm glad you asked!  I'm in Knoxville and have been researching the same thing... lots of conflicting information out there.  Other people have told me they've rented space in a commercial kitchen to be able to bake items for sale.  Ikern, so because it's considered "catering", cakes don't fall under cottage law in TN?  That seems to be a fuzzy distinction to me... but so are a lot of government regulations. icon_confused.gif

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

I found this information on The Department of Argriculture website today. If I'm reading it correctly, it looks like you can run a home based business out of your kitchen.

 

 

Regulations for Domestic Kitchen Facilitites.pdf 30k .pdf file
post #6 of 13

You can bake from your home kitchen for sale without a licensed domestic kitchen, however, there must be an 8"x 11" sign where you are selling, stating that the product comes from an unlicensed kitchen.  I believe that you still have to follow the strict packaging guidelines that the Dept of Agriculture requires.

 

This does NOT apply to decorated cakes, made-to-order. If you were making dessert cakes to sell wholesale or retail, that would be okay. Custom, made-to-order cakes have to be produced in a licensed commercial kitchen that is separated from your house.  It can be attached and separated by walls and doors, but cannot be open to the main house with no door.

 

When I first started researching this, the cottage law required you to have your domestic kitchen (home kitchen) licensed to sell anything.  They sent me a package that had all of the requirements for getting my home kitchen licensed, that included the requirements for packaging. They also included information about taking a food safety class which is no longer required. On the part about the food safety class it specifically said, "Please note:  If you are in a catering business or are interested in starting a catering business (e.g., made-to-order birthday cakes, wedding cakes, etc. ) this course is not a requirement for your business.  For that type of business, you need to contact your local Health Dept." 

 

When they changed the cottage law to not need the home kitchen to be licensed, I contacted them again and asked if the portion about the decorated cakes had changed and they wrote back:

 

"Hi Leisl,

 

The law still does not pertain to baked-to-order custom cakes.  These still reside under the Department of Health for regulatory oversight.

 

Thanks,

Faith"

 

Sorry this is so long.  Hope this helps.

post #7 of 13

I forgot to mention that all of the information that I received from the Dept of Agriculture came from the man listed above by bigdad. Ronald Murphy, Sr. (email:  ronald.murphy@tn.gov)

post #8 of 13

it is only confusing when one tries to apply nashville rules for cookeville and knoxville rules for crossville and chattanooga rules for oak ridge, etc.

 

they are not interchangeable

 

for example--no i cannot build a separate kitchen on my property and be legal in memphis because of the city zoning--but it's not up to the health department to inform me of zoning issues--it's not their purview--so confusion can arise--you have to have a green light from everybody

 

it's so confusing because each locality --almost each address--is different being governed by various and sundry local rules and regulations

 

littlemrslarge--that decorated cake is considered 'catering' is valid to me because a slice of cake or even a whole cake purchased at a farmer's market would be consumed by one or a handful of peeps--while celebration cakes are consumed by many more--the hazard potential is much greater--it's just the math

 

ikern--i know of fellow tennesseans that do decorated cake from their home kitchens legally because their particular local authorities allow it

 

it's all according to your exact address~~ the 'rules' are not interchangeable across the board

the only way to see the rainbow is to look through the rain

 

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post #9 of 13

oh and i just wandered around a bit

 

lookie what i found here http://www.localtable.net/blogs/news/?tag=jams

 

 

Quote:

“Farmers market managers also may elect to require vendors to manufacture foods for sale in an inspected and permitted facility,” Critzer continued. “Your facility and practices would need to meet all the requirements outlined in Chapter 0080-4-11 regulations for establishments utilizing domestic kitchen facilities for bakery and other non-potentially hazardous foods intended for sale.”

 

 

so not only the

 

  • health department
  • agriculture department
  • fire marshall
  • code enforcement
  • zoning
  • whosoever else

 

but the local farmer's market manager gets in on the action too which is a good thing--i'm not against it

 

the less i know about all this the happier i am at this point ;)

 

to much minutiae--hellllp i'm drowning icon_biggrin.gif

the only way to see the rainbow is to look through the rain

 

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post #10 of 13

Yes, I should have noted that it does depend on your local. My zoning did have to be approved and it had nothing to do with the health dept or dept of agriculture. It depended on my volume mostly. I am limited by zoning on the number of employees I can have, the number of customers that can be at my site at any one time, etc.

 

Also keep in mind that there used to be a limit on the dollar amount of gross sales that is allowed by the dept of agriculture. At one time it was $5000/yr. That may have changed now, I'm not sure. I abandoned the CFL route when the Dept of Ag. told me that decorated cakes to order was not allowed.

post #11 of 13

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that one of the biggest obstacles we ran into with having a baking business attached to our house was with our insurance.

 

When I was inquiring with our existing agent for our homeowner's and car policies about whether or not they sold business insurance, they said, "No, and in fact, if I'm not sure your homeowner's insurer will continue to cover you if you are running a bakery out of your house."  I was shocked.

 

After checking, we found out that our homeowner's insurer would drop us if we opened the bakery from our property. It didn't matter if it was attached or detached from the house.  I ended up having to switch all of our insurance to another company. Well, I didn't have to switch my cars, but it was cheaper to move everything to one company than keeping it with separate companies. I now have my homeowner's, car, & business insurance through State Farm.

 

In addition, after opening the bakery, we are unable to refinance our current mortgage. We converted our existing garage to a commercial kitchen and added a detached garage to the property, so we wanted to refinance since our property value should have gone up a good bit.  We have checked with several brokers who all said the same thing....no conventional mortgage company will refinance your house with the business attached to it. I don't understand it at all. Fortunately our current mortgage is only at 5%, so it's not like we're paying a high rate.

 

Just more to think about.....

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkern777 View Post

Yes, I should have noted that it does depend on your local. My zoning did have to be approved and it had nothing to do with the health dept or dept of agriculture. It depended on my volume mostly. I am limited by zoning on the number of employees I can have, the number of customers that can be at my site at any one time, etc.

 

Also keep in mind that there used to be a limit on the dollar amount of gross sales that is allowed by the dept of agriculture. At one time it was $5000/yr. That may have changed now, I'm not sure. I abandoned the CFL route when the Dept of Ag. told me that decorated cakes to order was not allowed.

 

well i think so many of us are geared toward what is allowed at the state level because of the push for state cottage food approval but there is so much more to it than what is allowed by the state.

 

zoning is what blocks me here but they will grant a zoning waiver hearing  for a coupla thousand dollars and in the same breath they advise that they have never granted sucha waiver but that i am free to apply for one for at a $,$$$ hearing ;)

 

i just cringe when i see people advising oh your state does thus and such so this is fine and you will be good to go--not even close--but i mean i hope it all comes to pass for them--but no not that easy ever

 

lotta lot lot to it

the only way to see the rainbow is to look through the rain

 

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post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!  It looks like I have a lot of phone calls to make.

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