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What are the laws about selling food made in your home?

ThylacineThylacine Registered User
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Okay, since it's usually asked for law purposes, I'm located in Texas.

I like to bake, it's something that I'm pretty good at and doesn't stress me out. I have a friend who works at a call center here in town. He brought in some free food to show appreciation for the people that he works with, and it went over really well.

Him and I got thinking that it might be possible to sell snacks to these people. Their snack machine is expensive for something that isn't that good. $1.50 for a honeybun or whatever. If I made cookies I still think we'd make a profit even if it was 2 or 3 cookies for $1 or $1.50. Or banana banana bread or whatever really.

I am wondering what kind of laws there are about this sort of thing though. Since I'd be making them in my kitchen would I need to get some kind of license or inspection? Would I need to get insurance in case someone freaked out and said I gave them food poisoning?

Lastly, does anyone have any experience with something like this? I don't really consider it a big investment, because to make a couple batches of cookies or cupcakes or banana bread really aren't that expensive. If they don't sell I'm not out of a whole lot of money, it was nice while it lasted and I can give away the leftovers to my friends.

Thanks!

Thylacine on

Posts

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    There are probably government resources for small businesses based out of the home relating to food products and regulations you'd have to follow.

    However, given that this would be done at a company...you'd have to approach managment, and I highly doubt they'd allow it just because of the potential liability issues it opens up, even if your stuff is cheaper than whatever food they buy.

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  • DoxaDoxa Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Yeah, you'd have to go through management first in that kind of situation. When there's vending machines that usually means there is a contract of some kind and that contract may say something about the company allowing other vendors coming in.

  • PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Here in Oregon my wife had to have our kitchen inspected, we don't need to have a business license to do business but you might. The county inspector came out and made sure our kitchen was clean and had all the right equipment, the main one being a dedicated refrigerator.

    Honestly I would just go for it, and if the health department says anything look for a catering space or restaurant that would be willing to rent by the hour or a friend who has a commercial space that will say you cook it there.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I think you'll need a catering license, and the requirements might vary by locality. If your kitchen does not qualify, you may be able to work something out with a nearby church.

  • starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    In California I'm pretty sure the only way it is allowed is to have the kitchen you're cooking in be inspected like a normal establishment. That basically means unless you spend tons of money to get it to code, you're going to have to rent a professional kitchen to cook in.

    Basically, IIRC, its illegal to sell stuff that you made in your home unless your home happens to be a professional-caliber kitchen.

    Edit: http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/hs.toc.htm Title Six on that page, the first 1/3 you may be interested in

    You could probably talk to your local food safety board or whatever and ask them how you could make this happen by the book. DO NOT JUST GO FOR IT. If you make someone sick with food born illness or by contaminated food, they can probably sue you for negligence or something.

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  • DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Yes, it's definitely true that in California you need to have a certified industrial kitchen (the requirements for which include a very fancy draining system, two sinks, two fridges, and shitloads of ventilation). I don't know about Texas.

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  • supertallsupertall Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Don't forget some kind of insurance, so if someone gets sick from your food you don't wind up bankrupt.

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