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Catering laws.

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Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 95
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14 05 4:17 am    Post subject: Catering laws. Reply with quote

I am going to start doing pig pickens small time as a weekend business. I have a friend who did it in WV and is selling his stuff due to age. We make a very good product and have people wanting us to do parties. However I want to do it legally...I have tried searching the VA and county health dept pages and am overwhelmed...I dont want to invest in a commercial catering wagon yet...Not sure if I am reading the laws wrong or what...Seems you need approved comercial kitchen to prep your food..commercial fridge etc...Anyone have any resources for checking the real laws...Not sure how to start without getting in big trouble (yes I know insurance is a priority too)..btw the friend I had is an OLD timer who never had a business license or anything so he is no help in that dept..
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BBQ Super All Star

Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15474
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17 05 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the laws are a bit confusing, and are a bit different atate to state. If you are a "service" you can get around some of the commercial kitchen requirements. If you are a "caterer" you will need to work out of an approved kitchen. The health department here in Floriduh told me there are some "grey areas" with outdoor type cookers (whatever that B.S. means!) Unless you are on the street at a corner selling to the public, you shouldnt have any problem at private events. If you are a street vendor, check the laws in your area. Also, here they have what they call a temporary permit for working at festivals and the like. I carry insurance and an occupational liscense with the city I live in. We are classified as an on site service, we get our foods from approved sources. Hope this helps, you are in the middle of the largest hurdle to get over! Crying or Very sad If you need to get clarification, have a sit down with your local health dept rep. good luck with your new venture! Very Happy I turned a hobby into a business Laughing
"I Turned A Hobby Into A Business".
Providing "IMHO" Since 2005.
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Alien BBQ
BBQ All Star

Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 5426
Location: Roswell, New Mexico

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19 05 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As BBQMAN stated, sit down and talk with your State restaurant regulators. I worked for many years as a restaurant inspector for the State of Florida. They are not in the business of putting people out of business. However, you do have to show some basic knowledge of foods safety and have the right equipment. I inspected a concession at the State Fair in Miami, where a Cuban food vendor was trying to sell pork head that had been at 70 degrees for 16 hours. When we asked the vendor about the temp, they stated that it had been in the refrigerator and could not understand why they couldn’t sell it. To make a long story short, the fridge was at 70 degrees. Vendors at the fair can make up to $20,000 a night. You have to sell a lot of pork to make that kind of money, Imagine if all those people got sick from the bad pork. I am sure you take great caution in the prep of your food and make sure everything is up to snuff in it presentation. However, everyone is not a consciousness as you. The regulations are written to protect the public from the fly-by-night vendors who could care less about anything but themselves. I know it’s a pain for the people who care, but if was easy, then everyone would do it!
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