Hey Commonwealthers of Pennsylvania! You are one of the lucky ones who can legally set up a home-based bakery under the Food Safety Act passed in 2010.
The rules are as follows:
1. No animals/pets are permitted in the home at any time.
2. Children are not permitted in the kitchen area during food processing for the business.
3. The water supply serving the home must be from an approved supply. Private sources must be tested annually for coliform bacteria and Nitrate/Nitrite by the home owner.
4. Department approval may not be in conflict with any local zoning or ordinances. A written statement from the local municipality must be obtained stating such.
5. Registration and fee ($35.00) by the Department of Agriculture are required, no exemptions.
6. All ingredients must be separate from those for personal use (separate shelves,
separate cupboards, etc…) and must be properly labeled, stored and protected.
7. There must be restricted use of the home kitchen during any commercial processing.
8. Any required laboratory testing of food products is arranged for and paid for by the producer.
9. Products must be properly labeled as follows (with some labeling exemptions for baked goods): Continue reading How to Start a Cake Business in PA
Virginia is a state that has a cottage food law Cottage Law which allows its citizens to operate a home based bakery or food processing business. For details you can call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804/786-3501
In the last few years, we’ve witnessed huge changes in the awareness of home food production rules and regulations. People are getting smart about getting legal and taking the necessary steps to operate and grow their cake business in the open and in full compliance of the laws!
If you’re new to the dream of having a cake business at home, here are a few simple starting points:
Every community has regulatory requirements. Some are more restrictive than others when it comes to operating a cake business from home. While each state has websites to help you fill out permits, licenses and regulations these can be difficult to weed through. Information about your legal responsibility can be very confusing and you may receive conflicting information. Persistence is important when searching for the answers about home-based food production. Ultimately, you want to hear the requirements directly from your health inspector, as they typically have the final say in what you can and can not do. That said, citizens are working hard to pass and expand cottage food laws. Check out http://cottagefoods.org/laws/ a site dedicated to the latest changes to the home food business laws. Continue reading Regulatory Requirements of A Home Based Cake Bakery
Georgia’s new cottage food regulations were recently put into effect by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. These new regulations allow home bakers and food artisans creating non potentially hazardous foods to sell the foods directly from their home kitchens for sale to the end consumer. These new regulations are VERY different from what was in place before, so please read through to find out about the changes.
These foods include:
- Loaf Breads, Rolls, and Biscuits;
- Pastries and Cookies;
- Candies and Confections;
- Fruit Pies;
- Jams, Jellies, and Preserves;
- Dried Fruits;
- Dry Herbs, Seasonings and Mixtures;
- Cereals, Trail Mixes, and Granola;
- Coated or Uncoated Nuts;
- Vinegar and Flavored Vinegars; and
- Popcorn, Popcorn Balls, and Cotton Candy.
Please see the Cottage Food Regulations for licensing, facility, and labeling requirements.
The Cottage Foods Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document will also provide you with guidance on the types of foods that can be produced, examples of potentially hazardous foods that cannot be sold with a Cottage Food License, and additional information concerning cottage food operations.
The Arizona Cottage Food Law went into effect in July 2011. Under this law you can prepare non-hazardous foods in a private home for sale to the public if you meet all the necessary conditions.
- You are required to obtain a food handler card before baking and decorating cakes.
- You must follow all production guidelines for preparing your home baked goods. Production Guidelines
- No hazardous foods such as cheesecakes, meringues, or cream-filled cakes or cupcakes. Hazardous Foods
- You must properly label your baked goods Labeling Requirements
- You must be authorized to prepare food for commercial use. Program Registration
Need more information about the Home Baked and Confectionery Goods program? Contact the Arizona Office of Environmental Health
Each county has a different procedure and test. If your county does not require a food handler card, you are strongly encouraged to review the links at the bottom of the page to become familiar with safe food handling practices.
County Permits, Certifications, and Trainings
Food Safety Resources
If your county does not offer a food handler course, you can learn about food safety from the following websites:
Congratulations to the home bakers in Texas who, starting Sept 1, 2011 will be able to legally sell cakes from home. The 2011 Texas legislative session passed SB 81 — known as the Texas Baker’s Bill or Cottage Foods Bill. SB 81 allows Texans to make and sell low risk foods. This includes cakes and cupcakes. (It also includes jams, jellies, breads and pastries) directly from home. Here are the highlights:
- gross annual sales must be below $50,000 (this means sales before any deductions, expenses)
- No internet sales: You can (and should) have a website. you can not take payments online via a shopping cart, paypal etc.
- No farmer’s market sales
- You must label your product and include a statement that the food was made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by a health department. (it doesn’t have to be attached to the cake)
- Food handler’s training is not required, but it is encouraged.
- No license is required.
- No health inspection is required.
- Pets are permitted in the home
- Liability insurance is not required, but it is encouraged especially if you want to do wedding cakes. (many reception facilities require it)
The piece that seems most confusing to me is the transaction rules that I’ve seen circulating on the internet. Some say that the actual payment transaction must take place in the home. I am not seeing this in the law, though I’m not a lawyer. It is only explicitly stated that no internet sales are permitted. If for example, you deliver a cake to a wedding reception, could you accept payment at the delivery location? Given that the letter of the law is: sells the foods produced under Paragraph (A) only directly to consumers, you are still selling directly to the consumer and not through the internet. Keep in mind no matter where the transaction takes place, you should still offer consumers the means to pay with a credit card. One inexpensive option is the new service from square. This service requires you to have an iphone, ipad or Android phone. Once I have more information about the selling rules, I will post an update. Keep in mind the spirit of the law is that you are interacting face to face with your customers — that’s the best way to do business anyway! Post any questions here and I will do my best to answer them. I will also be seeking an opinion from an attorney so check back soon.
Why do cake decorators get paid upfront before the event — party, wedding, bridal shower, etc?
For weddings, it is important that a deposit of 30 – 50% be provided to hold the date. Moreover, because of the stress of the day, you don’t want to attempt to collect on the wedding day itself. The balance should be paid at least 7 days before the event. In all my years, I can recall only a few protests for this arrangement and even then we worked it out, with the final third of the balance paid on delivery.
Continue reading Making Money in the Cake Business
With your new business venture will come the costs of getting the venture off the ground. Besides equipment and ingredient/inventory costs, you will incur costs associated with getting the required license or permit and possible filing fees with the Secretary of State. These fees depend on the business type you choose to set up. Of course these fees will vary from state to state.
A consultation with a business attorney in your local area can vary widely so I would suggest that you call around and ask for referrals from other business owners. You may also wish to call your local bar association because many of them have a referral service. Some attorneys may charge a consultation fee of $50 to $500 but in most cases the fee will be applied to any services that you have them perform. The most common service that an attorney will provide is setting up the business form that you choose and taking care of all the paperwork associated with keeping you legal.
Your attorney can also provide counsel on the liabilities involved in operating your home food prep business and attempt to insulate you from personal liability. In addition, you may want them to prepare some form service contracts tailored to your cake business so that you have recourse in the event that you don’t get paid or a dispute arises over your services. The main thing that an attorney will provide is planning ahead for all of the potential issues that may occur and this is invaluable to a successful business venture.
Liability Insurance is probably the most important area of business ownership that is almost always overlooked at the outset. Most people running an in house business think that their great homeowner’s insurance policy will cover them if anything should happen. I implore you to take a look at your homeowner’s policy because this is almost never the case. Insurance companies are very savvy to what people may do in their homes and protect themselves, often times in several different clauses, from the liabilities that are associated with any home food business. Continue reading Liability Insurance for a Home Bakery Business
Once you have decided to open a cake or cookie bakery business in your home, you will need to contact your local health department or agency that regulates food and agriculture for your state. The health department or food and agriculture agency will either be responsible for inspection and licensing or will be able to point you in the right direction. With the food laws changing and the implementation of new cottage food laws in more states, the opportunities for home-based baking operations have never been better. However, keep in mind that in some states or areas, a home based food preparation business is not permitted.
Remember you, the responsible business owner, should take your state’s regulations; community’s zoning regulations and the liability aspects of owning a business very seriously. If not, you can face serious consequences. You can face fines, the possibility of being shut down and law suits over injuries or damages which you may be responsible. An attorney can assist you and give you a thorough explanation of what steps you need to take to start your business. A one hour consultation fee may save you thousands of dollars in the future.
I would love to hear your experiences in dealing with the legal side of opening a home cake business, cookie business, candy business, etc. and happy to address your questions. Be sure to use the contact form.
For more ideas and information a good place to start is my series of books:
The following is a list of web addresses for state agencies and other programs available in each state that may be able to help you locate the rules for your state: Continue reading What are the permits needed for a Home Bakery?