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What is non-perishable?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. I am currently starting up an at home cake decorating business under the VA cottage law. I will not be licensed and inspected, but still legal under the law, so long as I follow certain restrictions (I would love to be licensed but have two dogs and the layout of my house makes inspection impossible). Among the restrictions is that I cannot use anything that requires "time or temperature control after preparation." I am a little confused about this and what it may include. I mean buttercream is pretty shelf stable with all the sugar, but at what point is it not? Sugar stabilizes so many things, I'm just not sure what I'm allowed to do and not allowed to do, like cream cheese frosting. Any thoughts on absolute no-no's and what people think are a go?
post #2 of 30
I'm a little confused by not being licensed but still being legal? How are you able to to one without the other? I only ask because you included it in your post.

I highly recommend that you take a manager's food handling course as offered by your county health inspector to learn about safe food preparation if it is not a requirement (although I'm astounded if it's not a requirement). Not only will it tell you the correct way to prepare food, but it will also help weed thru the advice you will probably receive here to get a firm answer on what you can and cannot do in your state.

To quickly answer your question, non-perishable is any food that has either water activity under .85 or a pH of 4.5 or below. These are the conditions bacteria like e. coli needs to thrive and grow. Time/temp principal refers more to savory food, meaning, for example, soup must be cooked to 165, kept hot at 135 or above, and properly rapidly cooled from 135 to 70 within 2 hours, then 70 to 41 in 4 hours.

These are national guidelines.

On a scientific level, cream cheese icing. cooked bacon and lemon curd is non-perishable because they either have a water content under .85 or they have a pH under 4.5. But your health department may have different guidelines, as I have read many people on here say their local HDs will not let them use lemon curd or cream cheese icing at their cottage business.
post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

I'm a little confused by not being licensed but still being legal? How are you able to to one without the other? I only ask because you included it in your post.



i don't know how it is in her neck of the woods, but in AZ the new cottage food law basically makes it *not* illegal and now permissible to produce baked and confectionary items in a home kitchen when following the department's rules: food handler card, following safe practices (gloves, bleach, separate storage of supplies), labeling as from a home-based kitchen, registration with the agency, and non-perishable goods.

It is not as strict as other states that require a home inspection and then issued licenses. So you aren't licensed, but you aren't illegal as it was categorized before.
post #4 of 30
Ah thanks!
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyES00

Hi everyone. I am currently starting up an at home cake decorating business under the VA cottage law. I will not be licensed and inspected, but still legal under the law, so long as I follow certain restrictions (I would love to be licensed but have two dogs and the layout of my house makes inspection impossible). Among the restrictions is that I cannot use anything that requires "time or temperature control after preparation." I am a little confused about this and what it may include. I mean buttercream is pretty shelf stable with all the sugar, but at what point is it not? Sugar stabilizes so many things, I'm just not sure what I'm allowed to do and not allowed to do, like cream cheese frosting. Any thoughts on absolute no-no's and what people think are a go?



#Foodsafetyeducationisyourbestfriend.com I believe there are online as well as in-person classes for real cheap. Here we have ServSafe. Not sure what's in your area. Take the class and so many things would become clearer.
post #6 of 30
I'd double-check & have tested any product - like cream cheese frosting - that you have concerns about. Here in NC we can get stuff tested through NC State and they check the moisture level. It varies with the recipe.
post #7 of 30
What they said /\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/\\

A simple food safety course will answer questions you don't even know you have. It is quick and easy, but informative.

Second, as others have said, look into a food testing lab in your state. You may not need it now, but you may have a recipe you want tested for water activity. It is usually inexpensive if you are in business for profit and don't want to inadvertently poison people.
post #8 of 30
On the Texas Cottage Food Law site, they have posted several recipes that have been tested and are "Non-Potentially Hazardous."

http://www.texascottagefoodlaw.com/Resources/Recipes.aspx

http://letsgetcaking.blogspot.com/

 

All this cake, and I've gained too much weight. LOL! I am now....The Cake Runner!

 

http://thecakerunner.blogspot.com/

Reply

http://letsgetcaking.blogspot.com/

 

All this cake, and I've gained too much weight. LOL! I am now....The Cake Runner!

 

http://thecakerunner.blogspot.com/

Reply
post #9 of 30
There is no need to pay and have a recipe tested. All you need are pH test strips and you can buy them for under $10. This is what my HD uses when they do their inspections. If you test and the pH is below 4.5, then it's non-perishable - period.

http://www.amazon.com/Micro-Essential-Lab-Polystyrene-Dispenser/dp/B0045I6GLK/ref=pd_sbs_indust_2

All bacteria - ALL of it, must have a water content of above .85 and a pH of below 4.5 to thrive while not being temperature controlled (meaning, un-refrigerated). You can still have something with a water content of above .85 but if the pH reads something like 2.3 it's non-potentially hazardous. Like salsa - cut tomatoes are considered a potentially hazardous food under federal guidelines and must be refrigerated - did you all know that? But add lemon or lime juice to make salsa and even though it has a high water content, it's now non-potentially hazardous because the acid in the lemons brings down the pH.

Now, your local HD may have their own set of guidelines that you must follow, the ONLY way you'll know is by calling them and submitting your menu, or taking a local HD approved class - not one online. The test is based on federal guidelines, but your local HD will teach you your state and your local guidelines.
post #10 of 30
"Temperature control" refers to the foods that MUST be held below 4C (40F) or above 40C (160F).

Buttercream containing any milk, cream, cream cheese would fall into this category. Baked custard, bread pudding, rice pudding would also need to be kept either hot or cold.

Buttercream made with cooked egg white meringue and butter would not.
post #11 of 30
https://www.servsafe.com/students

The basic food handlers' course can be done online or in-person. First find out if your HD recognizes this certification (ServSafe) and then go from there.

The Food Safety Manager certification is another, more advanced option. This one requires in-person participation (mine was one semester-long at the local college), and may in fact be what your HD requires. I recommend this one.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

"Temperature control" refers to the foods that MUST be held below 4C (40F) or above 40C (160F).

Buttercream containing any milk, cream, cream cheese would fall into this category. Baked custard, bread pudding, rice pudding would also need to be kept either hot or cold.

Buttercream made with cooked egg white meringue and butter would not.



Without arguing what may be your specific area's guidelines... the extremely high sugar content in icing lowers the water content regardless if it contains cream cheese or a little milk far under under .85, making it scientifically impossible for any bacteria to grow. If you are making an American Cream Cheese Icing recipe, it is NOT perishable. The same scientific principal applies to meringue buttercreams.

Again, your local HD may have it on a no-no list because they don't know better, want to prevent misuse or maybe they err on the side of caution, but it is not a universal no-no.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Without arguing what may be your specific area's guidelines... the extremely high sugar content in icing lowers the water content regardless if it contains cream cheese or a little milk far under under .85, making it scientifically impossible for any bacteria to grow.



really?

Refrigeration does more than just inhibit bacteria...
it protects against butterfat becoming rancid.
it inhibits the growth of yeast or mould.

And "inhibit" is the action NOT "prevent"
post #14 of 30
The question was not "will food go bad ever". The question was "what is non-perishable" and she specifically asked about the time/temp principal. Perishable or non-perishable refers to a food's ability to grow harmful bacteria like e.coli, salmonella or camphylobacter jejuni. I've stated the rule as it is in the US and I've stated the scientific conditions in which a food can or cannot grow bacteria like I've listed it above.

With the exception of McDonald's, all food gets moldy or goes rancid after a period of time.
post #15 of 30
The food law that I go by is the same way. I can bake from my kitchen without a lic. or insp. I have to inform every potential customer of this. I am not allowed to use icing that contains egg, (even cooked) cream cheese or whipped cream. They look at the water/sugar ratios as well. I never do anything new without passing it by them (in writing to cover myself) because I don't want to do something questionable with them. That is why I'm still on the fence about ganache! Some require immediate refrigeration and some do not.
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