Cottage Food Law Basics in Thurston County

Cottage Food Law Basics in Thurston County

Starting a home business is not easy.  Starting a food based business is even harder.  I have often wished there was an easier way to test the waters to see if a food business was feasible without the huge infrastructure costs.  Now there is.  The new Cottage Kitchen laws have finally come into effect in Washington, and Thurston County is signing on new businesses as we speak.  Though there are few changes you have to make in order to meet regulations, there are some basics you can expect to accommodate as you get ready for your first inspection.

·         Flat, cleanable surfaces to work on (no commercial stainless steel is required).

·         A double sink with a dishwasher.  Commercial kitchens require a three compartment sink for wash, rinse and sanitize.  If you have a dishwasher, you meet requirements.

·         A place to store products separate from your personal stash.  You will have to set aside the exact rooms used for all of your operations for inspection.  The storage area has to be free of pet presence, and must be used specific for your products

·         Access to a bathroom with a warm water wash sink.  Designate which bathroom you will use.

·         An action plan in place for baking days that keeps pets and children under 6 out of your baking area.  I assume pet gates are reasonable in this case.

·         Labels that denote that your product was made in a home kitchen not subject to normal inspections. 

·         A list of all recipes you will be using in your operation with the ingredients.  If you make changes to your list that requires changes to your kitchen set-up, you have to send them back through inspection.

·         Each person that helps you in the baking process must hold a food handlers license.  ($10 and an online course).

·         The limit is $15,000 in gross sales per year.  The purpose of this limit is to encourage people whose business outgrows the cottage kitchen laws to move on to obtain their processor license, which means either renting a commercial kitchen or building one of their own.

·         Only foods deemed non-hazardous are covered under this law.  No dairy products, meat products, or low acid canning.  Jams and jellies and baked goods not needing refrigeration are ok.

While these limits are challenging, they are definitely an ease on the requirements for a full processor license and they allow an entrepreneur the opportunity to try out their ideas to see just how popular and profitable they will be before investing in expensive equipment and fees.

Cari Schwisow Headshot
Phone: 360-878-5401
Dated: July 28th 2012
Views: 2,298
About Cari: I am pleased to be with RE/MAX Northwest, a highly respected and innovative real estate firm in Olym...

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