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Florida Cottage Food Act Update - Page 3

post #31 of 220
You have my support Barbara. Regardless of whether it is legal or not, I'm going to continue to bake and sell cakes from my home. So are thousands of other decorators in this state. The state might as well put laws into effect that are going to require us to get the training to do this legally. They should make it legal so the state can receive the taxes from the sales.

I would love to own a commerical bakery one day. That is a dream of mine. But right now, I don't make enough cakes to justify quitting my full time job and opening a business. I make maybe 3 cakes per month. Right now I do charge less for my cakes because the sale is "illegal." If I were allowed to have a home based business, I would charge market value. I'm not a fool. Of course I want to make as much money for my product as possible. I'm a good Capitalist that way icon_smile.gif

I also agree that food borne illnesses are not as rampant as people make it sound. If it were, people would never go to a friend's house for dinner. I currently work for a government agency that has allowed me into a lot of commercial and residential kitchens. I have seen some restaurants that are so dirty (majority of fast food Chinese restaurants), that I cannot see how they are posibly selling food legally. I have been into homes in the projects that were so clean, I could see my reflection in the floors.

The point is that if you care about your name and your product, you will put your all into your busness regardless of where you produce the product.
post #32 of 220
Nellical, you are not the bad guy. I do understand your frustration and that part about the employees just make me very upset. I run into the same problem in my nail salon and now, I choose to work alone.
Anyhow, in my opinion, if you are going to be in business, any kind of business, you must follow the rules, laws. As a consumer, I do want to know the product I'm buying (eating in this case) was produced in a safe facility. Regardless if it is a retail bakery or Mary Jane house around the corner. If the laws and requirements are there for public safety, it should not change or get more lenient because somebody doing from their home may not do the same volume as a retail bakery. That would level the plane field. If the Nellical and other retail places get fined for not complying with the requirements (because is for the safety of the public) the home kitchens should have to follow the same rules.

I don't have a problem with a Cottage Law if its done fair. I think a lot of people here is not really aware of what that entitles or how it works. We don't have one, so I can just go by other States.
It would not work for me, although the concept of working in my pj's really appeals to me. icon_biggrin.gif
I'm not a farmer nor I live in a rural area.
I got dogs and you better believe me, I'm not getting rid of them
The level of business I want to do I could not do out of my regular kitchen without interfering with my household life
I sure dont want strangers in my house for tastings
My target clientele don't go to peoples houses for cakes.

With that said, I don't think a Cottage Law that keeps the safety requirements the same for ALL bakers are not going to put any retail bakery out of business. If you choose to have a place with big overhead, you will have to work much harder just to break even than someone with a much smaller place.
I will tell you makes me real mad, last nigh, after I read the posts here, I went on Craigslist to see about this people advertising there. Personally, I would not put a add there. Anyhow, it was as eye opener icon_eek.gif
I don't know how I can describe it to you guys without writing a novel...lets just say that aside from a lady selling $5 cakes to pay for her electric bill ( she will be owning more in electric with her $5 cakes) I came across two individuals here in Florida that are doing illegal and they know it and in their adds they mentioned " why should you fill the pockets of custom bakeries when you can come to me and save money"! That got me HOT! icon_mad.gif people like that hurts legal business and they will continue to do it illegally even after any Cottage Law is passed.

I'm going to stop here...it is turning into a novel, icon_smile.gif Just as a last word...times are hard and we all are looking for ways to make our lives a bit better and help provide for our family. As times and economy changes, we must adapt in order to survive. Unfortunate, some of us won't and this is due to different factors in business not just one. Sometimes, this topics get really heated and I tend to put myself in other peoples shoes. I believe in being fair in business and in life.

You all have a great day! I will be baking my Christmas cookies for my family today.....in my pj"s. icon_biggrin.gif

"You might forget the party, but you will not forget my cakes!"
www.divineIndulgencesDesignerCakes.com
www.Facebook.com/divineIndulgencesDesignerCakes

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"You might forget the party, but you will not forget my cakes!"
www.divineIndulgencesDesignerCakes.com
www.Facebook.com/divineIndulgencesDesignerCakes

Reply
post #33 of 220
One more thing about licensing. Having a license doesn't make someone a professional or make someone better than an unlicensed person. Take a look at the drivers in this state. They have driver's licenses, and the majority of them have no idea what is going on when they are behind the wheel of a car. I give out traffic citations left and right for stuff that should be common sense. Florida just celebrated it's 10th anniversary for being 2nd in traffic fatalities in the country. That's 10 years of bad driving that is killing people. But hey, they were all LICENSED drivers.
post #34 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPACakeGirl

One more thing about licensing. Having a license doesn't make someone a professional or make someone better than an unlicensed person. Take a look at the drivers in this state. They have driver's licenses, and the majority of them have no idea what is going on when they are behind the wheel of a car.


Actually, according to the study below, unlicensed drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, and are more likely than licensed drivers to be at fault and more seriously injured when involved in a crash.

Source:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16087463
post #35 of 220
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To borrow a quote from Tom Hanks in a League of Their Own "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great".


Gatorcake, youre quoting my favorite movie! Seriously, I love that movie, it makes me cry. But Tom was talking about professional womens baseball. Not cakes.

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Seriously no one is a victim. No one has suffered a serious injury or has been deceived or cheated. That the laws may be too stringent does not mean you are victim of over regulation. And frankly why should it be "easy" to open a cake baking business?


Because my government exists to serve me. My government should be making it easy for me to start a small business that is not a public health threat.

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Are liscences a guarantee of quality work? Of course not, but then again I would rather eat in establishments that have been inspected (even after having watched Kitchen Nightmares) than to eat in restuarants in an environment where there was little concern over food safety.


Youre welcome to eat where you like. Most cottage food laws require clear labeling of the home produced food. Consumers always have a choice. But just because you would rather eat in a restaurant than in a home doesnt mean that home produced foods are unsafe. 80% of food borne illness originates in commercial facilities. Thats a mighty powerful statistic.

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Save the victomology rhetoric. There are legitimate positions for and against the change in law in Florida but no one is a victim simply because they a desire to bake out of their home. There is a cottage law where I am, I cannot afford to make the changes I need to my kitchen to make it legal, to bake out of home, I am not a victim. It is what it is. That people want to change the law in Florida is understandable but they are not victims.


Whoa! Victimology rhetoric? To me, a 55 year old woman who exhausts her retirement savings to be able to open a legal cake business is a victim of over-regulation. This is, of course, my opinion and only my opinion.

I am a passionate advocate of cottage food laws, and everyone here knows that. I will not rest (maybe literally) until Texas has one. Michigans new law is an indication that the tide is turning. Im off to the Capitol now, happy baking everyone!
post #36 of 220
Well, thank you Kelly for your empathy but I certainly do not feel victimized by any stretch of the imagination. And to say it was tragic that we chose to invest our retirement savings is also not how we feel. We are bummed that ittook so much money and part of that is that we did not have all of the information we should have had to do things in a way that would have cost us less. We did encounter contractors who have licenses but were also very inept. We were told we were a pain in the butt because we got upset when the plumbing contractor had the oven hooked up to a pipe to nowhere! The gas company man was PO'd when he came in to give us the final and there was no gas. Then the plumber got mad at my husband when he told the plumber the definition of "assume" after the plumber said he had assumed the pipe was hooked up to the city gas. Doh!

I am also not saying that every home baker will be unclean. But there will be some and those are the ones who will make trouble for the rest.

BTW Kelly, I am one of your customers.

What I hope you all understand is that in my area I see a lot of crappy work from supermarkets, other small cake operations the size of mine, and from some home bakers. They all charge about $2 - 3 a serving. The customers get used to paying this price. We can't afford to sell cakes at that price when you consider the cost of ingredients per serving (thanks Cake Boss for your software), the cost of overhead such as rent, utilities and advertising, and the cost of labor. But let's take cost of employees out of the mix and just say it is just me making the cake. I still get a salary every month and I only pay myself enough to pay the bills at home. My husband works for free doing the dishes, janitorial and all of our website work. I still need to sell those cakes for at least $5 or $6 a serving minimum. Plus there is the labor that goes into making gumpaste decorations and flowers.

So even if you take food safety and sanitation out of the argument and let's just look at prices, we can't ever compete with $3 a serving whether it comes from Publix or a home baker. But then we use real European butter in our bc, Belgian chocolate in our cake and choc BC, we use IMBC and all of our cakes are made from scratch. We make most of our flowers since those flowers we make cannot be bought from Caljava or are more intricate.

Well, whatever. Our product is like Saks compared to Walmart but trying to educate the public is an uphill battle, never mind trying to get any understanding from other cakers.

All I can say is that I understand your position. I just hope you can understand mine.
post #37 of 220
In my 10 years of law enforcement, I have given 100x more citations to people with licenses than no licenses. I have been to more traffic fatalities with licensed drivers. Therefore, I can only go with my own experience which is that a license does not make one person more skilled than an unlicensed one.
post #38 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPACakeGirl

In my 10 years of law enforcement, I have given 100x more citations to people with licenses than no licenses. I have been to more traffic fatalities with licensed drivers.


That's because there are many, many more licensed drivers than unlicensed drivers, so your observations do not speak to the relative safety of licensed vs. unlicensed drivers without an empirical comparison between the citation multiplier and the percentage of unlicensed drivers on the road.
post #39 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

To me, a 55 year old woman who exhausts her retirement savings to be able to open a legal cake business is a victim of over-regulation.


Sounds more like a victim of poor planning or a lack of local resources to me. The biggest roadblock for most home-based commercial bakers (other than a lack of information about what's legal and what's not) is probably the availability of affordable local incubator kitchens. When said resources are available, the cost to open a legal cake business is quite low -- I spent less than $5K in one of the most expensive areas of the country.

IMO campaigning for more incubator kitchens at the local govt level (or securing the necessary private capital) is more realistic than trying to get state law changed, although of course both approaches can be tackled simultaneously.
post #40 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nellical

So even if you take food safety and sanitation out of the argument and let's just look at prices, we can't ever compete with $3 a serving whether it comes from Publix or a home baker.


It is actually quite possible for a legal business to make a profit on $3/serving cake -- of course this would be a relatively basic cake with less labor required. It would be more difficult if you have the overhead of a retail shop, but that's not the only way to have a legal baking business.
post #41 of 220
The Department of Ag is currently overworked and understaffed the way it is without adding home-based businesses to the equation. My inspector hasn't had a raise in 3 years and currently has 1000 (or more) legal bakeries she must inspect a year. And that is just in my small territory. All of the inspectors are in the same situation with triple the workload. Bottom line is the Dept of Ag doesn't have the resoures to hire additional inspectors. I don't think it is realistic at this point for anyone to expect a Cottage Law to be passed and expect the Dept of Ag to add thousands of home-based businesses that require inspection every year. This is the big picture and the reality of the situation. No matter how appealing a Cottage Law sounds to you, the Dept of Ag may think otherwise.
post #42 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCC

The Department of Ag is currently overworked and understaffed the way it is without adding home-based businesses to the equation. My inspector hasn't had a raise in 3 years and currently has 1000 (or more) legal bakeries she must inspect a year. And that is just in my small territory. All of the inspectors are in the same situation with triple the workload. Bottom line is the Dept of Ag doesn't have the resoures to hire additional inspectors. I don't think it is realistic at this point for anyone to expect a Cottage Law to be passed and expect the Dept of Ag to add thousands of home-based businesses that require inspection every year. This is the big picture and the reality of the situation. No matter how appealing a Cottage Law sounds to you, the Dept of Ag may think otherwise.


Charging annual fees to businesses that fall under the cottage law could pay for hiring more inspectors. These fees would probably have to be significant, not like the $10 OH fee.
post #43 of 220
I highly doubt a annual permit fee is going to cover all of the costs associated with hiring new inspectors and revamping the department. Sounds great, but there is a whole lot involved in this process.
post #44 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCC

I highly doubt a annual permit fee is going to cover all of the costs associated with hiring new inspectors and revamping the department. Sounds great, but there is a whole lot involved in this process.


Considering the workload involved in checking a home-based bakery vs. a large restaurant, I think a fee schedule could be worked out. In Santa Clara County (CA) we only pay the county when we are inspected in a new rented commercial kitchen (~$800 for a "small restaurant"), we don't even pay an annual fee.

Fees on the order of $500 for a one-time inspection and $100/year (possibly with a tiered structure where businesses with higher income pay more) should more than compensate the department for the added overhead and operating expense. Further revenue could come from stepped up enforcement and charging fines to unlicensed businesses.

Treating food safety as a profit center would probably be something of a paradigm shift, but it would certainly grease the wheels and make passing a cottage food law easier.
post #45 of 220
Thread Starter 
What the Florida Dept of Agriculture was saying about the "Small Farm Facilities" is they have another law they are trying to pass called the Florida Food Freedom Act...without going into lengthy explanation you can google it. They are trying to get this passed again and they want to include Home Baked Goods, that is why it was mentioned in the email to me from the Dept of Agri.

You know I read all of your comments and suggestions and pros and cons but, the whole thing is the Dept of Agri, Health and Business and Regulations are the ones that control this and it will be the House and Senate to decide if the recommendation are warranted. If they do say the recommendations are ok than it has to go to the law makers to put everything into writing and it doesn't stop there the Govenor has to sign it into law. If anyone cares to see how an idea becomes law than Google "How An Idea Becomes A Law" it will show you a flow chart from beginning to end. You can even go to the House of Representatives website and see what laws they are working on. Getting the knowledge how this all works may help to understand what is going on. If you do go to the webiste to see the bills being presented you may get a good laugh as some are unreal.
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