I am in the process of starting a cake business from home, being self-employed. So far I have completed a level 2 food safety & Hygiene course and am now planning on registering my business and therefore getting an inspection with a food hygiene score.
In planning for this, I have filled out a Food Safety Hazard analysis, which basically outlines the food safety management system in place to show how i am making sure everything is food safe. E.g. how i clean before, during and after any activity, storing cakes in a separate fridge which is always below 8c. I'm not even sure if this is something that's needed, but feel it's a great way to show what I'm doing to make sure everything is safe.
The one question i have is with washing hands - as I have seen a lot of information saying that you need a separate hand wash basin. In my home, I have one large sink and a dishwasher. I then have a bathroom but it is upstairs. Can I say that I'm washing my utensils etc in the dishwasher and therefore the one sink I have is the hand wash basin? Or, is an upstairs bathroom ok to b e the hand wash basin. I am wondering how crucial this is and if anyone has any other advice on this or have had to deal with it themselves?
Also - if people feel it's necessary to have fly nets on their windows!?
Thanks for any advice,
I don’t think that is going to “fly”
I haven't a clue about the sinks, but I know for sure I would never have open windows without screens, not in my home and certainly not in a bakery!
Uugggg I had a long reply that only the last line of which posted:(
That idea of using a bathroom upstairs I doubt will fly. Do you really think each time you need to rinse or wash your hands you’re going to run upstairs? Think of how many times a day when you are “caking” you need to wash those hands off! But.....that’s a good way for loosing weight!
As Sandra said screens are definitely needed on windows and doors for a food prep room/home
Okay thank you for the responses!
I just want to confirm I'm not trying to sort of "get away with it" I just wanted to genuinely know before I go ahead and purchase a whole new sink. I am going to add some photos - do you think these type of sinks would be ok? It's a large sink with a smaller separate one that I could then wash my hands in? Or would it have to be 2 large sinks.
Okay - definitely some screens then too! It's strange because when I was working at a cafe there were no screens necessarily. I also only have 2 very small windows which I rarely open unless it's extremely hot - but I assume saying "I don't open them" is hardly going to be convincing!!
I am slightly overwhelmed/anxious about the whole thing - and this is in my home which is shared with others so find it quite intimidating to need to have to put screens up, change sinks etc. But I guess if it's something that's said by law it just has to happen! Thank you all for your advice so far.
I cannot help with you sink question, just a hobby baker, so no experience. I wasn't trying to be snarky about the screens, we just have a ton of flying insects where I live in the southern USA. I freakin' HATE flies!
My inspector said sink had to be separate—the dbl didn’t work. Didn’t need to be very big and had to be placed somewhere away from the other.
Just know that each inspector will have his/her own idea of what is right/wrong. I’ve heard of places going through hell as one month one comes in & tells you do this —at great cost & time/work only to have the next inspector—-the next time tell them oh no this must be changed (what was just done) Story true? I was texting w/someone who said it happened to them
I can only tell you what I had to have in my bakery. A triple bowl sink for dishes . My hand sink is beside the triple bowl but I had to place a plexiglass divider between the two so there would be no cross contamination. A separate utility sink for mop water .The bathroom has it's own sink.
One more thing you might not be able to use your home dishwasher , double check.
All these necessary things are totally dependent on where you live. I’m in Canada, and even in my province, rules and regulations vary from city to city. I do know that in most cities in Ontario they do require a separate hand washing sink. Some inspectors allow the sink to be close by your dish washing sink others require so many meters away. In my city, and the next one nearest me, you must have a full separate kitchen from the family kitchen. So basically a stove, fridge and 2 sinks, one for dishes, one for hand washing in another area of your house. As for the dishwasher, that’s also totally up to the inspector. Some are ok with it, some not. And some insist you must have a dishwasher. Then of course you have to have cupboards for storage. Countertop for cake prep. Also, if you have customers that will be taste testing cakes in your house, inspectors here require a separate washroom for clients. Family washroom cannot be used. You’re also required here to have business and liability insurance. That’s a must. It’s extremely expensive. A big commitment. I had thought about obtaining a license until I found out about all the requirements. I have a professional cake friend in the next city over whose been in business for 40 years. All she had to do was provide a separate hand washing sink about 6 feet from her kitchen sink. Nothing else. She has used her own family kitchen right from the beginning. And many inspectors told my friend that they expected everything to be washed by hand. Then another inspector told her everything had to go through the dishwasher, including her cake pans. My friend has NEVER put her cake pans in the dishwasher, because the pans would eventually be ruined. It’s all rather silly really, because no matter if you use your own kitchen, or have a separate kitchen, it’s all about cleanliness and hygiene, and avoiding contamination. I’m very surprised most inspectors don’t insist that decorators wear surgical gloves and mask. Inspectors should actually insist on separate clothing and hairnets be worn at all times. Even if you have short hair. Every time I read about a home based cake business, I can’t help but think of the dozen of baked goods I’ve provided for church dinners, potlucks and meetings. And the church dinners and bb-q’s that volunteers have made and served at our church. No one, to my knowledge, has ever gotten sick, gone to the hospital, or died as a result. Just makes me chuckle. Sometimes it’s just stuff and nonsense.
....... I have a professional cake friend in the next city over whose been in business for 40 years. All she had to do was provide a separate hand washing sink about 6 feet from her kitchen sink. Nothing else. She has used her own family kitchen right from the beginning. And many inspectors told my friend that they expected everything to be washed by hand. Then another inspector told her everything had to go through the dishwasher, including her cake pans. My friend has NEVER put her cake pans in the dishwasher, because the pans would eventually be ruined......
soooo much of what June said is so very true:) I especially wanted to explain this part^^^ ... at least here in the states that is called “grandfathering in” because they were an existing business before the rules were made.
Yup kakeladi, if you were fortunate to be “grandfathered”, you are fortunate indeed. My pro friend started to cut back about 2 years ago. Mostly because she couldn’t compete with the myriad of unlicensed cake decorators around her. No way could she complete. These decorators didn’t have to pay for licensing, insurance, or yearly hygiene inspections. Nor business taxes. And many totally undercharged. My friend actually would call the health inspectors. I know she managed to get some decorators shut down. But no sooner had that happened, then others would pop right up. Funnily, but actually not funny. some of these decorators would go right back into business. They usually got just a warning and a fine. They went underground, no advertising . Strictly a fb page. We’ve never had enough local health inspectors. So when you have a gazillion other places like restaurants and such to inspect, going after a lowly unlicensed cake decorators, is way low on your priority list. I think my pro has thought about selling her business, but with all the requirements needed now, I’m not sure it would be feasible or profitable for her. It’s not like she has a brick and mortar shop to hand over. What you pay for, is a customer base. Hers has dried up. I know for a fact there are a ton of unlicensed cake decorators in my city. They get there business from word of mouth on fb cake decorating and community pages.
They changed the "cottage laws"here in WV in the last year. You can bake cookies,cakes,candy and more in your home and you do not have to be inspected by health dept. I was told by health dept.they will only check you if someone has a complaint. You are suppose to have a business license.Those of us who have licensed bakery business cannot compete with a homebaker's pricing .I wish them all the best but I see a huge liability issue .
mahtc2016 Of course being unlicensed and uninsured is never an issue until it becomes an issue. If you get sued because someone gets sick from what you baked...well, for sure a financial fall out could ensue.
I only do buttercream cakes and cupcakes. If a customer wants a fondant cake, cookies,pies, breads or if I'm already booked I will give them the phone numbers for the home bakerys. Several have been surprised that I would do that but there is enough business for everyone.
Mahtc2016 I certainly envy you with your cottage law. Nice to be able to bake some sweet treats from your home without a lot of “red tape”. I fully understand having the license. But the health regulations are what is the killer. And as I said, doesn’t mean anyone who has passed health inspections is anymore scrupulous about cleanliness or hygiene in baking than a hobby baker.
Wow! Thank you for all the responses. It's so interesting to see all the different perspectives. It's especially interesting to see how hard some people make it for us home bakers to do anything!!
As an update, I managed to contact my local council who put me in touch with a Food Safety Officer. I am based in North London in the UK - so I understand it can be different everywhere, especially in the US. They have told me that a double sink would be suitable! (at least I know have them saying this in an email) Then they basically said I would need food hygiene training level 2 (which I already completed) and then to have a "Food Safety Management System" which is essentially a booklet with safety points such as "staff should always was their hands" and you have to write out that you would wash your hands before preparing anything, tie hair up etc.
Then they specified I would need to keep records of fridge/freezer temps (again, something I already thought I would need so I purchased some thermometers the other day as well as a record handbook).
Other than the basic necessities such as your walls/doors all being suitable and in good condition - it looks like for my area specifically I wont have a huge problem (hopefully).
I do wonder though when looking through my Instagram and seeing the hundreds of people I follow baking from home and selling - how many are actually registered/have gone through these steps!
I am going to go ahead and get the double sink and do the steps they have told me and then hopefully all things work out ok!
Glad you found out what is necessary for your area! As has been shown & you now realize things are very complicated & different depending on location. Good luck with getting legalized & I am w/you in wondering how many others have. I must admit I never gave it a thought when I started into this sweet world some 40 yrs ago. And w/a dog in the house! Something I would never do today
Wow a Lynne....you’re answer got posted 6 times. And I just spent 5 minutes typing a response, only for CC to bump me out...grrrrrrrrrr
Best of luck on your new cakey adventure....
Tried to erase some of those but keep getting error message:(
Best of luck on your new venture, MeriakiBaking!