Well, I'm back to report on what I found out about our new cottage law that allows non-perishable food items to be made from the home. I just got done getting my permits (ironically), and that was no picnic, and - this is rich - the county employees didn't know anything about it, but a woman waiting to get her manager's card was in the process of setting up her own home-based cake business and just picking up her manager's card. I don't know where she got the info (god knows I tried finding it), but our law will allow for home made non-perishable foods. Um, aren't cakes perishable?
Anyway, she said all you have to do is get a food safety manager's card (which I have to do as well) and make sure the labels on your products state that it was made in an un-inspected kitchen. Literally. They don't even inspect the home kitchen. Wait. What???? Oh yeah, she has small kids, too.
So in spite of the attractiveness of working out of my home kitchen, I've gone the regulation route, got the kitchen rented and inspected (which really was more of a permission slip than an inspection), got the mobile food permit, got the state, federal and city tax licenses, etc. Here's the best part: I spoke with an inspector before I went downtown to their office to get "inspected" so I wouldn't have to return. I ended up making FOUR trips to their office. And that's why I drink.
The inspection for a food peddler (I'm selling candies and other non-perishable stuff at the farmers market) consisted of them looking at my labels to make sure it conformed to their regs, and the back label which has to follow FDA guidelines. Mainly listing allergens. Why they couldn't tell me all of this on visit #2 I don't know. (Visit #1: they were in a meeting, and no one knew when it would end.)
Anyway, they never asked me for my food handler's card (which is required), never looked at the product or how it was packed, and I ended up having to permit a large Rubbermaid tub to put the product in because they no longer permit passenger vehicles with carpeting in the cargo area. But the tub got the shiny sticker (they usually put them on mobile food trucks). And the best part is when you get your permits, you will never, ever hear from the health department again unless you get a complaint. As long as you mail in your annual fees, you're gold. But at least I have a nice kitchen to work in with one day a week all by myself.
The end (sorry it's a long post)