I am a chef with a catering and assisted living background and am trying to open a new business. It is meal delivery service focused for special dietary needs of seniors in my county (in California). The basic idea is to bring the food program I have been running in my assisted living facility to those who are in need, but still living at home. Meals are made fresh daily, never frozen, and delivered directly by my employees to ensure their satisfaction and well-being.
I have a commercial kitchen that is already outfitted for permits, but upon trying to obtain my health permit I was told I would need to get a Processed Food Registration from the state instead. I have gone back and forth with the county inspector (no help) and directly with the state rep as to the reason for this, but have not been given much help. I see myself as a caterer, but I think they just see me as a frozen mail order service. This license is more expensive, slower to obtain and most importantly requires FDA food labeling witch will be time consuming when you are tailoring meals to individual diets and tastes.
I will gladly give more details as necessary, but wanted to keep it short enough to digest.
Has anyone had an experience with this license? Any advice on what my options might be? Or if this is not as bad as I fear?