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Cottage Food Law questions and concerns. - Page 2

post #16 of 116
Well, if you are a home-based bakery and you're advertising that you offer cream cheese filling and cheesecakes, that's pretty much a dead giveaway. icon_wink.gif
post #17 of 116
If the HD sets foot on my property, they have to have a court order so it would have to be one doozy of a complaint.
post #18 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncsmorris

It's true that there aren't random inspections (how would they even know if I'm home? I don't have business hours).


FYI, when you operate out of a rented kitchen with on storefront you probably won't have to deal with random inspections. In Santa Clara County the inspector always contacted us ahead of time to set up an appointment for the inspection so we would be there. Things might be different in other areas or if you have a retail shop with regular posted hours.
post #19 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Well, if you are a home-based bakery and you're advertising that you offer cream cheese filling and cheesecakes, that's pretty much a dead giveaway. icon_wink.gif



If the inspector calls, I say "we buy the Brill cream cheese buckets, which requires no refrigeration. And If I am really crafty, I say we make our cheesecake with Tofutti so it's dairy free. icon_wink.gif
post #20 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

If the HD sets foot on my property, they have to have a court order so it would have to be one doozy of a complaint.


It is certainly your option to deny entry, but most CFLs allow the HD to get a search warrant to inspect your property if there is a complaint, and some say that the HD can bill you for the added expense.
post #21 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by PieceofCakeAZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Well, if you are a home-based bakery and you're advertising that you offer cream cheese filling and cheesecakes, that's pretty much a dead giveaway. icon_wink.gif



If the inspector calls, I say "we buy the Brill cream cheese buckets, which requires no refrigeration. And If I am really crafty, I say we make our cheesecake with Tofutti so it's dairy free. icon_wink.gif


You could say that, but that's fraud, and if the inspection involves sampling your product you would be in pretty big trouble. FYI Tofutti does require refrigeration as well.
post #22 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

If the HD sets foot on my property, they have to have a court order so it would have to be one doozy of a complaint.


It is certainly your option to deny entry, but most CFLs allow the HD to get a search warrant to inspect your property if there is a complaint, and some say that the HD can bill you for the added expense.



Under the Texas CFL, the HD is not allowed to inspect your kitchen. They are required to "keep a log" of complaints if any are made against you. So if they felt it was necessary to get a court order to inspect, it would be because of the quantity and severity of complaints, with the end goal of shutting you down completely.
post #23 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by PieceofCakeAZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Well, if you are a home-based bakery and you're advertising that you offer cream cheese filling and cheesecakes, that's pretty much a dead giveaway. icon_wink.gif



If the inspector calls, I say "we buy the Brill cream cheese buckets, which requires no refrigeration. And If I am really crafty, I say we make our cheesecake with Tofutti so it's dairy free. icon_wink.gif


You could say that, but that's fraud, and if the inspection involves sampling your product you would be in pretty big trouble. FYI Tofutti does require refrigeration as well.



There's only an inspection if there is a complaint.

If someone has been operating from home before it was legal, they are unlikely to change anything and if caught it doesn't seem outside the realm of probability that they would say "our cream cheese frosting doesn't require refrigeration" if asked. Sure it's fraud, but baking illegally from home is a gateway crime. icon_wink.gif

FYI Toffuti is disgusting. icon_wink.gif I only made that joke since you joked about cheesecakes, clearly if someone is advertising cheesecakes, they are nuts. But, as you know, there are a number if commercially available cream cheese frostings that don't require refrigeration and taste halfway decent.
post #24 of 116
TX Section 437.0192 seems self-contradictory to me, it says "A local health department may not regulate the production of food at a cottage food production operation", while at the same time saying that "Each local health department and the department shall maintain a record of a complaint made by a person against a cottage food production operation." One would assume that the health dept does in fact have authority to regulate in the event of a complaint or can notify a state-level dept which has that power, otherwise what's the point of recording complaints?
post #25 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

TX Section 437.0192 seems self-contradictory to me, it says "A local health department may not regulate the production of food at a cottage food production operation", while at the same time saying that "Each local health department and the department shall maintain a record of a complaint made by a person against a cottage food production operation." One would assume that the health dept does in fact have authority to regulate in the event of a complaint or can notify a state-level dept which has that power, otherwise what's the point of recording complaints?



On kelleym's website, the overview of the CFL states that the HD keeps a log of complaints so a customer can check to see if their "cake lady" has any complaints prior to ordering from her. I'm sure that any and all facets of the law will be challenged and clarified in the future. There would have to be some point where the HD can step in. It stands to reason that there's going to be someone (or several someones) who will make customers very ill and there must be a way to stop them.
post #26 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

TX Section 437.0192 seems self-contradictory to me, it says "A local health department may not regulate the production of food at a cottage food production operation", while at the same time saying that "Each local health department and the department shall maintain a record of a complaint made by a person against a cottage food production operation." One would assume that the health dept does in fact have authority to regulate in the event of a complaint or can notify a state-level dept which has that power, otherwise what's the point of recording complaints?



On kelleym's website, the overview of the CFL states that the HD keeps a log of complaints so a customer can check to see if their "cake lady" has any complaints prior to ordering from her. I'm sure that any and all facets of the law will be challenged and clarified in the future. There would have to be some point where the HD can step in. It stands to reason that there's going to be someone (or several someones) who will make customers very ill and there must be a way to stop them.


Oh I was trying so hard to stay out of this.

Why does it "stand to reason" that someone is going to become ill? The only foods allowed under SB 81 are a small subset of non-potentially hazardous foods; foods that are not capable of supporting the growth of dangerous micro-organisms. I haven't heard of any terrible stories from other states that have had this law on the books for many years?

If someone is made sick, it's likely going to be through a potentially hazardous food, and if a home producer is selling potentially hazardous food, they no longer have the protection of the cottage food umbrella; they are an illegal food establishment, and the HD would proceed as they would with any illegal establishment.

And Jason, the law was written by a lawyer in accordance with accepted canons of statutory construction. If you have concerns or questions about it, I suggest retaining a lawyer in California to help you.
post #27 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

If someone is made sick, it's likely going to be through a potentially hazardous food, and if a home producer is selling potentially hazardous food, they no longer have the protection of the cottage food umbrella; they are an illegal food establishment, and the HD would proceed as they would with any illegal establishment.


That's a good point...the law does not make it clear when the CFL exemption disappears though. Can the HD make that decision unilaterally when they get one complaint? It seems that to verify the complaint they would have to inspect, which they cannot do according to the CFL. Most other CFLs allow for product sampling to confirm complaints, although I suppose the HD could simply place an order to get a sample.
post #28 of 116
As someone who lives in a state that is patiently waiting for a CFL bill to pass, I feel the need to chime in. Obviously, since we do not have a law yet I can no speak to specifics. I do not know if my kitchen will need to be inspected, food safetly classes that will need to be taken or any other regulations. But knowing my state there will be many hoops that I will need to jump through to sell my baked goods and many limitations too.

First of all, I will say that I don't see how me selling out of my kitchen will impact the local bakeries as they do not currently offer the types of cakes I enjoy making (sculpted cakes, fondant, ect). Also, I'm sure I will be limited on what I can offer. There will be many I'm sure who would not feel comfortable buying something baked in someone's home and would prefer a actual storefront. Although, I will say (from working in restaurants) that just because a kitchen is inspected and "legal" does not necessarily mean it is clean. Ever see the show Kitchen Nightmares? And don't assume that someone who bakes from home doesn't know the difference between clean and sanitized.

Also, even if I wanted to open a storefront shop, it would not be possible. I do not have the money to invest nor would I want to invest the time in that type of endeavor. That does not mean I would not want to be able to pursue my joy of creating cakes for those outside of my family. I think most people who operate under the CFL's do so to either add a little income to their family budget or are working towards opening a storefront shop.

Maybe, I'm being naive but I really think there is enough cake to go around.
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post #29 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

If someone is made sick, it's likely going to be through a potentially hazardous food, and if a home producer is selling potentially hazardous food, they no longer have the protection of the cottage food umbrella; they are an illegal food establishment, and the HD would proceed as they would with any illegal establishment.


That's a good point...the law does not make it clear when the CFL exemption disappears though. Can the HD make that decision unilaterally when they get one complaint? It seems that to verify the complaint they would have to inspect, which they cannot do according to the CFL. Most other CFLs allow for product sampling to confirm complaints, although I suppose the HD could simply place an order to get a sample.


The law defines what a cottage food producer is, and what a cottage food producer sells. If you're not following the law, you're not a cottage food producer.
post #30 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

The law defines what a cottage food producer is, and what a cottage food producer sells. If you're not following the law, you're not a cottage food producer.


Yes, but who determines whether or not a producer is following the law, and what is the process for making that determination?
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