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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 01-14-2014, 03:34 PM   #1
jhuyser
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IM sure this has been asked before. What are my options, friends and acquaintances have asked me off and on to cook them some butts etc for functions. What is my liability? im not charging them, just charging them for the meat and cover my cost (charcoal etc)..no money making here.
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Unread 01-14-2014, 06:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhuyser View Post
IM sure this has been asked before. What are my options, friends and acquaintances have asked me off and on to cook them some butts etc for functions. What is my liability? im not charging them, just charging them for the meat and cover my cost (charcoal etc)..no money making here.
Most (and probably all) States have laws/regs that cover prepared food for consumption by others regardless of whether you are paid (operating as a business) or not. To find out how you would be/are affected by these laws/regs you should check with your local Health Dept.

Your major legal exposure is foodborne illness law suits caused by improper prep/hold practices of potentially hazardous foods.

Cooking food for friends/acquaintances at your home is viewed totally different, by regulating authorities, from "supplying" potentially hazardous foods at other locations to be consumed by the "general public".

It all depends on what level of liability you wish to take on. Check with your HD. Then make your decision.
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Unread 01-15-2014, 04:58 PM   #3
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Legally speaking you are liable. For instance in Virginia it is illegal to cook food and take it to your neighbor but you can invite him to eat but not transport it to his house. That was told to me by the health inspector. That said the health inspector said they had never heard of anyone charge for this. All in all I think that you are good and would never have a problem provided you are dealing with friends and family.
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Unread 01-15-2014, 06:39 PM   #4
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Have them sign off that they indemnify you and assume all liability themselves and you should be golden.
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Unread 01-16-2014, 12:21 AM   #5
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Here is where I would start. The links on the page don't seem to work but you should be able to look up the code, if you want to get that deep into it.

http://www.state.ia.us/government/dia/page3.html
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Unread 01-18-2014, 12:55 AM   #6
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The thing about cooking/serving food for guests at your home vs cooking/serving food for "others" at another location is that you have magically become a "food establishment". Food establishments are regulated by States and municipalities.

Not only are you liable for foodborne illnesses you are also subject to fines.

I don't mean to discourage anyone but just want to be sure that everyone is informed and aware of what is expected from a legal aspect.

You might find this LINK helpful also.
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Unread 01-20-2014, 10:40 AM   #7
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This has been about 6 years ago now, but at the time there was a BBQ rub store in the Burlington (ia) mall. One time the owner provided me all the meat and a boat load of rubs to cook, and then distribute. I also did a cooking demonstation about ribs. I contacted the Des Moines County HD, and because the food was being given away and no $$$'s were being charged, I didn't even need to have a temporary permit.

Again this was years ago, and since then I have a mobile food kitchen that is fully licensed and compliant so I haven't really followed the law since then.
I will say that HD codes in Iowa are tightening.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 01:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cynfulsmokersbbq View Post
This has been about 6 years ago now, but at the time there was a BBQ rub store in the Burlington (ia) mall. One time the owner provided me all the meat and a boat load of rubs to cook, and then distribute. I also did a cooking demonstation about ribs. I contacted the Des Moines County HD, and because the food was being given away and no $$$'s were being charged, I didn't even need to have a temporary permit.

Again this was years ago, and since then I have a mobile food kitchen that is fully licensed and compliant so I haven't really followed the law since then.
I will say that HD codes in Iowa are tightening.
I believe you will find that things have changed. Here in KS the controlling factor is not tied to any food being "sold" (it was in past years just as cynfulsmokersbbq states). It is now tied to food "changing hands". This is due to almost all States/municipalities adopting Federal USDA guidelines in the the re-writing of their regs in the past few years.

Each State/municipality is different so a call to your local HD will be the best way to verify.

This is not one of those situations where it is "best to beg forgiveness after rather than ask permission before".
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