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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 11-26-2009, 01:01 AM   #1
The Smokeworker
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Default Is there a state worse than Pennsylvania?

I really want to go legit with my catering in western pa, but I'm beginning to feel a little frustrated by the dept of ags rules to comply with. I have lots of equipment to cook and sanitize. but it seems every time I call my guy to set up an inspection, he mentions some other b.s. regulation. the last one was a permanent roof over my mobile smoker. I told him I have ez-ups...he said he would make a phone call and check....i did too, it got back to him and he backed off the roof.......just an example!
Is florida or the carolinas any more reasonable?..PA is a bunch of goofballs I think
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Unread 11-26-2009, 07:49 AM   #2
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Did you do a plan showing all equipment? Also you need to get a copy of the regs. They should be available online. Sounds like you're notgetting along with him and we all know the only way to succeed with these people is to say "yes Sir/Mam" and do exactly as instructed ASAP. Then you get the inspection and all goes well.

Do you have a mop sink in your trailer? MI requires it but there's solutions other than a 2' x2' sink. Does PA require you to write SOP's? That makes a dfference in MI on water requirements depending on what you are doing.
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Unread 11-26-2009, 08:07 AM   #3
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I'm going through it now in Virginia. Here I have to have an enclosed prep kitchen with washable floors, walls, ceilings, counter tops. A 3 bay sink and a hand sink. Refrigeration, hot water, fresh water and gray water tanks and the gray has to be 15% larger than the fresh water. My BBQ pit has to be covered while cooking. I have to have some type of warmer to maintain food temps, they like to see steam tables but said crock pots will work. Covered screens over windows if I am vending. Ph test strips to monitor chlorine water levels. I think that about covers it. Seem to be all good rules though, ultimatly I look at it as they are trying to cover my A$$ and keep me from getting sued. They are like a person trainer, they keep you on your toes!
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Unread 11-26-2009, 08:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
Did you do a plan showing all equipment? Also you need to get a copy of the regs. They should be available online. Sounds like you're notgetting along with him and we all know the only way to succeed with these people is to say "yes Sir/Mam" and do exactly as instructed ASAP. Then you get the inspection and all goes well.

Do you have a mop sink in your trailer? MI requires it but there's solutions other than a 2' x2' sink. Does PA require you to write SOP's? That makes a dfference in MI on water requirements depending on what you are doing.
Mop sink? In a trailer?

Must have missed that on mine.
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Unread 11-26-2009, 09:29 AM   #5
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here in kentucky the rules state that your smoker/pit has to be totally enclosed as in an ez up w/ screen/net to keep flies out.

not that i've ever seen anyone use 1...
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Unread 11-26-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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Come on out to "business friendly" California if you really want some regulation...
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Unread 11-26-2009, 10:51 PM   #7
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PA is horrible for the 'little sh!t" regulations... But, they seem to look the other way on major violations...
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Unread 11-30-2009, 03:19 PM   #8
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This will make you all sick.. In Utah if i cook on site all i have to have is one bucket with nozzel to free flow fresh water and one to catch it for washing hands. Coolers to keep food at proper temps if below 35, and 3 buckets for wash rinse and bleach if i dont have hot running water and need to wash utinsels cause i didnt bring enough. Cant use sterno type heaters outdoors (burn laws here and uneffective) they love crockpots and such. Cant just vend on the side of the road in my county however I can get an event permit for $25 and have a very limited menu for farmers markets, fairs, ect... No kitchen invalved yet but i figure when I do it will be some kinda walk up place. Its more laber intensive but i get to charge out the wazoo for brisket.
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Unread 11-30-2009, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Rocke View Post
Come on out to "business friendly" California if you really want some regulation...
Yes, you haven't done regulation until you do something out here.
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Unread 12-03-2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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Yeh, NY is pretty tough too. I have been working on getting my catering/ vending trailer designed, approved built and inspected for about 8 months now. We are finally getting the final inspection next friday.

We got our plans approved on the 2nd submission, not including the original review that i had with our inpector. The HD was somewhat helpfull throughout the process, except that they took soooo long to approve our plans (2 months for each submission). We designed and built the trailer ourselves, so there was alot of regs to follow.

It was a major pain in the ass, but we will be up and running full force in the spring.

My advice would be to do as much research as possible before making any commitments.

HD Regs, Permitts, liability insurance, Commercial vehicle insurance, business license, business structure, costs for equipment, advertising, ect.....

If after all that, you decide to do it......don't be discouraged when you hit a road block. Stay positive. With alot of hard work and a little luck, hopefully it will pay off.

Good Luck!
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Unread 12-03-2009, 04:18 PM   #11
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I really had no issue with getting legal in PA. I'm in central, PA near state college, first thing I did was have a meeting with the local dept. of ag. sit down with them to go over what I wanted to do, my equipment and how i planned on setting it up. They told me what would work and wouldn't work, made the necessary changes to the plan. All was going great, (was setting it up on an open air trailer) then I bought a salvation army canteen truck for 1,000 bucks, which had lots of countertops and cabinets in, lights inside and out, generator, griddle, stock pot burners, I removed the single sink that was in it, put in a 6' stainless work table I setup with the 3bay wash station, and the single bay hand wash, water heater, pump, fresh and gray tanks. I have less than 2,000 in it, and it acts as my commercial kitchen, and gave me my license. Its was definately alot easier with that truck, than it would have been the other way. I wish ya the best of luck, and if there is any questions I might be able to answer, give me a shout.
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Unread 12-03-2009, 05:10 PM   #12
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Come to Harford County Maryland and try to open a BBQ joint. Let me know how it goes.
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