Friday, April 5, 2013

I'm Legal

Drinking age, yes. But also as a business owner. My new ice cream business, Milk Sugar Love Creamery and Bakeshop is actually Milk Sugar Love, Inc., a corporation created in NJ and insured with liability coverage, working out of a health-department inspected commercial kitchen and licensed to sell in Jersey City.

As a consumer, this should be VERY important information for you because so many beginning food businesses are not. A lot of people starting out baking out of their own homes, which most state laws clearly prohibit. Health department requirement also prohibit this.

I used to think this was ridiculous until I began to think about the implications of eating food baked in someone else's home kitchen (and then sold to others as a business). I have worked in a restaurant and understand what it means to deep clean a kitchen. I have rarely seen a home cook that has a kitchen cleaned AND SANITIZED anywhere near as well as a professional kitchen. And that is just the beginning. There are no children or pets allowed in professional kitchens. Did that baker who just made the cupcake you bought play with Fido and then not wash their hands before starting work again?

Many people starting out in the food industry just don't want to spend the money to follow the law and put the consumer's health and safety first. Yes, creating a legal business is expensive, but it simply is not worth risking the safety of your customer (and the the lawsuit that will surely follow) to save money.

Also, from a professional standpoint, people baking out of their homes also hurt the industry as a whole because they are more often than not charging artificially low prices because they have no overhead (i.e. fixed costs). They are not paying to rent a commercial kitchen or to get the licenses needed to operate legally. If, as professionals, we all did this, we could improve the industry as a whole by helping customers adjust to and understand the real cost of doing business. The blame for this also falls on our mass-producing food culture, but that is a topic for another day.

So please. Do your research, ask questions and support legal small businesses.

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