This content has been marked as final. Show 2 replies
When you say a home catering business, do you mean running it out of your home? I believe all States will require that you run a food service business out of a commercial kitchen and not a home kitchen. I know this is true for many states. Typically, your local health department (in some case the agricultural department) will handle the regulations for food safety.
As hconnections stated, check with the state. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
I hope this helps.
If what you want is to begin home catering business, the Food Code is a document which you will become familiar with, as it delineates how food should be handled, from beginning to end.
Like SoloGuide stated, to begin with- you local health department is the correct source to contact.
They will tell you what licences, permits and requirements you will have to have in place in order to run such an operation.
So, to start with, only businesses who deal with what is called "low hazardous foods" are allowed to work from a non-commercial kitchen environment (meaning your home).
Low hazardous foods would be foods which present no danger to the public and require no special treatment. Those foods would be foods low in water activity (which basically means foods that during their processing, the water inherent in a product, was reduced by chemical or physical means). So...what is an example of those foods? Cakes, pastries or sweets, and cereals.
The rest of the foods- which are called "potentially hazardous foods" need to be produced, processed, served or packaged under the health department's guidelines, which are the guidelines interpreted and followed from the Food Code. This means that the person has to work from a commercial kitchen.
The potentially hazardous foods are foods that come from the following sources: proteins (animal products), carbohydrates when cooked (such as pasta, rice and beans) fruits and vegetables that are not being sold as whole- but, are further processed (cut, sliced, peeled, etc.).
The easiest thing to do is get in touch with caterers in your area. They will already are working in a commercial kitchen space.
This way, you can "ride" on their permit, and just work out a fee and schedule that works for both of you.
This is rather common, and it will save you time and headaches.
Once you do this, you still need to train both yourself and your kitchen helpers basics of food safety, since counties do require all involved in the operation to have a food handler's card. Also, caterers are under jurisdiction and will receive periodical visits from the health department, to makes sure that the local is operating under compliance.
I am familiar with foods and safety, since I was in charge of over the food safety of over 100 supermarkets in a food safety specialist position I held for a state wide company.
Good luck...and always be careful and conscientious with you food handling practices, as one mistake could cost you your business, and not to mention loss of lives.