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Food Handling General Discussion General and open discussion for food handling and safety.


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Unread 05-16-2006, 05:54 PM   #1
The_Kapn
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Default Vending/catering and the Health Dept

A lot of the Brother's are starting to vend/cater.

So, how are you complying with the Health Dept rules, zoning rules, business licensing, and insurance (as appropriate)?

Just curious.

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Unread 05-16-2006, 06:17 PM   #2
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My one and only "public" catering event was a school carnival. I was told by a friend that we were lucky the Health Department didn't show up and shut us down!
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Unread 05-16-2006, 06:43 PM   #3
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First thing is to find out WHO does the inspection and enforcement. Here in FL you may wind up dealing with either the state or the county. If, for example, you "rent" your commissary space from a non-profit or church (ie. VFW) then you'd fall under the county inspectors. If you rented from a catering truck central commissary or a restaurant, you'd be inspected and such by the state inspectors.

I found out a ton of info from both the state website and the county. They are quite similar (duh!) and then I spent about an hour with an inspector and her supervisor going over the pages for "mobile food sevice" and catering. They were quite helpful and I asked some questions that had them scratching their heads, too.
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Unread 05-16-2006, 08:22 PM   #4
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Many of the festivals around here sell temporary vendor permits. Usually those are provided by the city or county. You have to meet some basic requirements (three sinks, warming aparatus, aka, chafers, instant read thermometers, etc. ) but it is not as strengent as say, what they expect of a diner kitchen. You pay as part of your booth fees, and an inspector "approves" your area prior to prep/serving.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 01:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoDeDo
Many of the festivals around here sell temporary vendor permits. Usually those are provided by the city or county. You have to meet some basic requirements (three sinks, warming aparatus, aka, chafers, instant read thermometers, etc. ) but it is not as strengent as say, what they expect of a diner kitchen. You pay as part of your booth fees, and an inspector "approves" your area prior to prep/serving.
Some states require a safeserve certificate to get a temporary vendors permit.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 03:01 AM   #6
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In Vermont I have two licenses, one to cook at home and one to cook on site. The only requirement is that my water is potable and is tested every year I re-new my licenses. These cost me a total of $200 for both. My insurance is covered under a rider on my contractors insurance, I really don't build anything anymore but I keep the insurance. I think Vermont is one of the easiest stated to cater legally in.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 08:49 AM   #7
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Du Page health dept here in Chicago says that no food can be cooked in a home kitchen..kinda limits catering to those with restaurants only it seems ..Seeing that i was egtting nowhere with the mook I told the him ive never gotten anyone sick and that the only time I have ever gotten food poisoning was in restaurants that have their "seal of approval" hanging on the wall
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Unread 05-17-2006, 09:11 AM   #8
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In MANY states you do not have to have any licenses to cater AT Private Parties. It's kinda hard for the Health Department to RAID a Private Party. They simply don't care what someone does at their house. So, only do Priavte Parties.
Get insurance.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 09:33 AM   #9
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thats all i wanted to do..just did not wnat someone coming back at me saying they are "sick"
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Unread 05-17-2006, 09:44 AM   #10
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"the only time I have ever gotten food poisoning was in restaurants that have their "seal of approval" hanging on the wall"

I love the Chinese food at a little buffet up the road. But, everytime I eat there I am running to the bathroom by the time I get home. And, no I am not making this up. That has never happened to me from ANYTHING i ever cooked. You never know what that cook is doing with those fingers while nobody is looking.
Yuk, I almost HATE to eat out.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 10:01 AM   #11
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The best way to go in my opinion is to be a "Backyard BBQ Consultant"
I will do private parties at your home and cook up everything there on site that way I need no license and the health department can pound
sand
It is such a pain in the butt to qualify for a catering license. This is about the only way I know other people are getting around this issue. Temporary permits are issued for events, but even those are getting ridiculas. The way I look at it if Fingerhut and others can get away with doing in home parties and cook food and such, why the hell cant I do the same thing and put out a better product....

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Unread 05-17-2006, 11:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kickassbbq
In MANY states you do not have to have any licenses to cater AT Private Parties. It's kinda hard for the Health Department to RAID a Private Party. They simply don't care what someone does at their house. So, only do Priavte Parties.
Get insurance.
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I'm with Kick! The deal in Ohio, and the local counties is, that if you are doing a private event for a per person cost, and the attendees are not paying (company picnic, grad party, wedding where one party pays for everyone) then you need no permit. If guests are paying a "fee" (golf outing, class reunion, reverse raffle) that includes dinner, then you need a permit. I only do a few of these and always get a "temporary" permit. If you are doing everything correctly, it is not hard and only costs $35.00. In Ohio, you cannot cook ANYTHING in your home kitchen. I cook all food on-site (OK, well I make my sauce at home!). This is why I charge $15-$20/person. If I am serving the public at a "per plate" cost, then I need a "vendors permit." Again, all food must be cooked on-site. If I want a permanent vendors permit, I need a stainless three bay sink. I always advise that you talk to the county health dept. to see just what's up. Woody
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Unread 05-18-2006, 02:14 AM   #13
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This has been a topic of discussion for awhile now. I'm sure there are ways of getting around just about anything in this world.

But wouldn't you feel prouder being able to hold your head up high, being able to say "I'm certified, legal, and completley legit. And I earned it!!
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Unread 05-18-2006, 07:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbqjoe
This has been a topic of discussion for awhile now. I'm sure there are ways of getting around just about anything in this world.

But wouldn't you feel prouder being able to hold your head up high, being able to say "I'm certified, legal, and completley legit. And I earned it!!
thats not the issue
I have no problem paying fees..taking classes.whatever it takes to be compliant..but i dont really have a place to cook thats deemed
health dept approved"..and to cook onsite is not really feasible..i mean im not gonna sit in some other guys backyard with all my bbq equipment and cook butts for 16 hrs
bottom line the health dept would not tell me what i need to do to be compliant..it was almost like i was insulting this guy to even ask..he even went so far as to say my food was a "deathtrap" based on his own speculation..i figure it would make a good team name though..Death Trap BBQ
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Unread 05-18-2006, 09:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billm
thats not the issue
I have no problem paying fees..taking classes.whatever it takes to be compliant..but i dont really have a place to cook thats deemed
health dept approved"..and to cook onsite is not really feasible..i mean im not gonna sit in some other guys backyard with all my bbq equipment and cook butts for 16 hrs
bottom line the health dept would not tell me what i need to do to be compliant..it was almost like i was insulting this guy to even ask..he even went so far as to say my food was a "deathtrap" based on his own speculation..i figure it would make a good team name though..Death Trap BBQ
I gotta say that totally sucks! There should be some guidelines somewhere. Maybe a local caterer can help guide you as to where to look.
I'm not sure where you are, but don't give up because you hit a brick wall.
If you ask around you will find an art gets developed for hitting brick walls and getting back up. Just the nature of starting a business.
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