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net wt. for labels and refrigeration requirements questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm going over my Food Processor and Cottage Food Application packets...

I have a question about the labeling requirement. It says that I need to include the net wt. of each product on the label. How did you all go about determining this? Did you bake each of your recipes and weigh each product? Or did you bake one or a few recipes and estimate the weight for the rest?

I would like to add cream cheese frosting and SMB to my application, but don't these need refrigeration and would therefore not be allowed for cottage food processors? I asked my regional manager from the state Department of Agriculture and he said I could add something to the effect of "to maintain quality, keep refrigerated" to the labels. He added that it's not required as far as they're concerned, but I could add it if I wanted. I would think that him telling me those two frostings should be okay would put my mind at ease, but I'm still a little hesitant. I'd love to get some opinions/advice!

Thank you!
post #2 of 9
An employee telling you the wrong information does not make it law. This happens all the time. You should have gotten a packet with the rules or you should be able to look them up online. This is your best information.

On the labels, yes. Use a designated number scoop and weigh all of your finished products in a batch. Get your average and make it an easy number like "6 oz". You can add "approx" or "avg". But again, this really should be addressed by the authorities.
post #3 of 9
There are food labs that will test your products for perishability. The cottage food law in TX requires the foods are non-potentially hazardous foods. There is an FDA definition of this term and it includes testing the pH and the water activity level of the food. The tests are not super expensive but the "customer setup fee" can be.

Where are you located? If you're in TX I can send you the info of the lab some of the cottage food operators have used.
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
scp1127: Thank you. I agree. He did admit that this was all new to him as the cottage food law is new in my state. I do have the packet, but called to talk to him to clarify some of the things I was unsure about.
What do you mean by getting an average? Are you referring to small items, like cupcakes and cookies? What about for cakes? I guess what I'm hoping not to have to do is to bake all of my recipes just to get a weight.

sillywabbitz: Thank you for responding. I'm in Washington state. The cottage food law here also requires the foods are non-potentially hazardous. There's no requirement for testing your products in a lab for perishability though. Do people in other states under their cottage food laws get their products tested in a lab?
post #5 of 9
I think there are some recipes that are just known to be non-potentially hazardous foods. Such us american buttercream but for foods that are more questionable, such as meringue based buttercreams, cream cheese frostings and certain homemade fruit fillings, like curds those people who want to be sure they're OK and they won't make anyone sick they get their recipes tested.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz

I think there are some recipes that are just known to be non-potentially hazardous foods. Such us american buttercream but for foods that are more questionable, such as meringue based buttercreams, cream cheese frostings and certain homemade fruit fillings, like curds those people who want to be sure they're OK and they won't make anyone sick they get their recipes tested.



Thank you sillywabbitz. I'll look into testing. I think I'll have to accept that I'm going to have a small menu for now while I'm under the cottage food law... until I move into renting a kitchen or something else. American buttercream and ganache it is! I guess I'll at least offer different flavors icon_smile.gif Too bad - whipped cream and SMB are my favorites!
post #7 of 9
experimenting, I always forget to weigh. Probably 10% of my products show weight, but it isn't a requirement in my two states. It will be when I package certain products for retail.

I would suggest making your label and leaving it blank until you make it the next time. Then weigh and add it. You should weigh what you are selling... one cupcake xoz.

Yes, it is better to get the information from the written law. Another way is to call another area and ask as if you are going to open in that area and then find some common ground, but that is still iffy. To price correctly and to plan your menu, it is irritating to have to weed through inspectors who can't help you. I read my applications cover to cover, both states and FDA. Then I asked. Try to find out online. JAson is great at finding specific local/state laws if you can't find it.

Good luck in finding your answers. I can't say enough good about my two local HD's and the WV Dept of Ag. Every person gave the same information, could answer every question, and were great helps. I can imagine how hard my planning would have been with incomplete information.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

experimenting, I always forget to weigh. Probably 10% of my products show weight, but it isn't a requirement in my two states. It will be when I package certain products for retail.

I would suggest making your label and leaving it blank until you make it the next time. Then weigh and add it. You should weigh what you are selling... one cupcake xoz.



Thank you scp1127. I've taken your advice and have spoken to several different people about my concerns. I will probably make multiple more phone calls along the way, especially to the ones that seemed more knowledgeable - I hope no one gets sick of me calling!
I guess I was kind of hoping to get a different answer on the weighing issue :/ I don't think I'll be making a lot of cakes in the next, say, 6 months or so. Of the ones I do make, who knows if all my recipes will be covered. I just didn't want to make a recipe JUST to get the weight JUST to submit my application, and my state does require the weight be submitted with my recipes in my application.
Thank you again for the advice though icon_smile.gif
post #9 of 9
I don't know about Washington state, but TN does not allow custom, made-to-order cakes under the CFL. They are considered catering and must be made in licensed kitchen, inspected by the Health Dept. I found that quite annoying. icon_cry.gif
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