Author Topic: Licensing - USA  (Read 8856 times)

Offline Wayne Harris

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Licensing - USA
« on: November 24, 2008, 10:24:42 AM »
I am just daydreaming here.  Lately I dream of making cheese and opening a small shop.

So, I am trying to figure out the legal requirements in order to even entertain the idea of selling some of my cheddar and Emmental Swiss.

I have been looking at what licensing requirements I might need. Off hand, they look extreamly hefty. 
The Wisconsin Cheesemaker License.
  http://wisconsindairyartisan.org/pdf/ATCP_69_cheesemakers.pdf

I'm not sure that is achievable from my standpoint.

So, short of that,  I don't what is needed, who to ask, or even what the governing bodies are?
Is this is state license? A Federal license?

Thoughts?



Any thoughts?
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline Brian

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008, 10:48:22 AM »
Thought the same thing too.

I live in a REAL small "town" I guess you'd call it, where they have a small Farmers Market from Spring to the end of Summer.  I spoke with some of the people there this year and they were all excited about me selling homemade cheese there for the coming year.
I would start that way.  Find a Farmers Market and see if there is a demand.  The idea of a shop and paying rent kills me.  Zero profit margin.

I seem to recall reading that any non-store bought milk cheese needs to be at least 60 days old in order to make sure there are no hebbie jeebies in it.

B

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008, 11:03:03 AM »
I have floated some trial baloons here, and there is definately some interest.  Local grown, local made,  organic market. 

I really don't care about making a living at it.
There are two things would make me happy enought to try it.

-Have my milk paid for
-Know that others enjoy my cheese

That's really about it for me.

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline bdasko

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2008, 02:18:55 PM »
Here in WA, I need to be licensed by the state and then only to sell wholesale.  If I want to sell retail I need a food handler permit from the county, though there are temp ones available for farmer's markets.

I think the biggest obstacle, especially while wanting to keep it small, is producing the cheese in a licensed kitchen.  I'm lucky in that WA doesn't require a *commercial* kitchen but it does have to be a separate facility than your main household kitchen.  I'm actually doing some costing right now to see what it would take to build a small operation, maybe 50 gallons per day, as a part of a greater farm that produces other food items as well, including microbrewed beer (future plans for the family property).  The nice thing is that I wouldn't have to buy commercial appliances like fridges, freezers, etc.  But still will be pricey because it will have to be a separate facility than my home kitchen.

So I think it really varies by state because I know some states will approve someone's home kitchen, but then others require the food to be made in a commercial kitchen which drives the small guys out of the market.  No one can afford to invest $50k to build a commercial kitchen just so sell a bit of cheese!  So yeah, check into state and county regulations for food processing cuz everyone's different.  I wish I could make cheese at home and sell it!

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 02:27:12 AM »
One thing a lot of starter-upers do is rent kitchen space from other commercial kitchens. A lot of restaurants are only open for lunch and dinner or only dinner, well, trust me, they would love to get a little money for renting out their kitchen to someone who really could use it when it's not being used by them, thereby making some money instead of it sitting idol. A lot of bakeries are this way as most only bake during the morning. You can also look at establishments that have kitchens bigger than they use. So figure out if aging has to be at the same site or can be off site and approved for the home. That way you can make it at the commercial spot and then store it at your house. Or if the establisment kitchen is big enough you pay them a little extra, $50 a month and put your own commercial frig in there and regulate the humidity and temp. Mind you professional artisan cheese makers don't make a million different cheeses, most make one type of cheese, so one frig would work and should be able to handle a ton of wheels. Another consideration is most schools that have kitchens for teaching home ecc. or cooking classes very often rent their kitchens to start up companies. There are a lot of possibilities as far as facilities for manufacture. And if it's a kitchen that's already working it would be easy to get that checked off on the list for a license. Selling at the farmers market is a great idea. I wouldn't even get a business license at first or anything. I would just sell it and see how well it went.
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Offline RRR

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2008, 09:10:16 AM »
I am working on setting up a commercial cheese operation in Utah. Each state has different requirements. Some want commercial kitchens some do not. Your state department of agriculture usually enforces the food safety rules and regulations.

Also are you milking your own animals? There is a completely different set of rules and regs associated with milk parlor etc.

Any cheese that is not aged 60 days must be made from pasteurized milk. A commercial pasteurizer cost a minimum of $10,000.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 10:01:46 AM »
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is my local regulatory agency.

They enforce raw milk laws much the US federal DEA enforces drug laws.  It really is saddening.  (the ODA part I mean. not DEA part)

I have come to understand that there is a sizeable blackmarket around meeting the need for raw milk. While I need/want that same milk, i do not need to be a part of that scene.

So, i do not have my own cows,  i will have to restrict my milk acquisition to pasteurized milk.  I feel lucky if i can get it non-homogenized. 

Right now,  i need to get more consistent with my cheesemaking operational processes.  I have not watched my acid balance consistently, I have not pressed consistently, i have not stored/flipped/brined consistently.

But every batch i make, I get better and closer.

Someday, when I better understand what is going on, and better execute the required processes, i would love to share my cheese with others.  Perhaps even commercially. 


 
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline RRR

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 12:16:04 PM »
We tend to refer to it as the Gray Market. We are always trying to introduce sanity back into rules and regulations. The very concept of sustainable and community negate the need for regulatory agencies. Anyone doing anything with integrity will not need regulation. Secondly, if I poison someone with my product, the entire community is sure to know it and that would be the end of my business.

But, as it is now, the corporate influence does not want to see it's piece of the pie made smaller by local people participating in food production.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2008, 03:53:50 PM »
I hear conspiracy...but really agencies are there for a reason, for the simple fact that not everyone plays by the rules. Throughout history people have been selling things that will kill you no matter the consequence just to make a buck. Even today, china and their lead toys. I would rather have regulations than leave it up to the individual. Raw milk from cows with certain pathogens are very harmful to humans, I'd rather be protected. But I do agree coroporate sucks and do try to screw every little producer of anything in any field, which is sad.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline RRR

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2008, 06:47:22 PM »
I agree, greed is powerful. We must remember that the pathogens in the milk get there because of neglect on the milkhandlers part. It is difficult to discard a batch of milk because a bit of manure got kicked into the bucket.

Regulatory agencies are not doing a real good job of it either. For example, the spinach that poisoned hundreds last spring. It took forever to find the cause. I think the answer is in the downsizing of the system. If the things we use are produced locally everyone using the product would know where it comes from, and free enterprize would eliminate the poor producers.


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2008, 07:23:48 PM »
Your talking about regulating humanity. That will never be a possiblity most people don't care about other people and where something comes from and the fact is that if a producer can get away with something and they as a person are already morally neglectful then we're all screwed. If we were self regulating and/or has locally based regulations and someone did get sick even if we knew the producer more than likely the majority of people won't care. It's very rare that public outcry leads to anything constructive. Mind you I'm not trying to argue with you, I wish things were different.
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Offline vlyons

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2008, 10:06:56 AM »
Most [states require that you get a food license and be inspected by the food inspector.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2009, 02:31:55 AM »
That's another benefit of a communal commercial kitchen. I've been searching for freezers on Craigslist and a few commercial kitchens for hourly rent are available, I think in the $200 an hour or something like that. I've seen other I think for $50 an hour.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2009, 07:35:20 PM »
I am looking at a couple of plots of land here in Northeast Ohio.  I may buy an acre or two and build mine.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Licensing - USA
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2009, 11:06:29 PM »
Sweet, I'm in if you need help, I'm so done with California.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.