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Old 01-16-2007, 03:12 AM   #1
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Location: Lebanon, PA
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How to sell my food products?

Has anyone ever made stuff to sell? Like sauces and such. I have a great BBQ sauce that I would like to make and sell, but I don't know how to go about it. Are their regulations you have to follow?

I also have a salad dressing that I would like to sell.

Any advise or direction would be appreciated.



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Old 01-16-2007, 05:00 AM   #2
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LOTS of regulations I would imagine no matter where you live. You "might" be able to start small and sell at a local farmers' market. Even there (in our town) you will probably need a kitchen that is inspected and passed by the Health Department. In most cases, it cannot be your home kitchen (in some way). One way to possibly skirt this requirement while you are discovering if you actually have a viable product to sell to the public is to contract to use a commercial kitchen such as at your church, etc.
I see now you live in PA. I do believe that PA has some of the most stringent laws with regard to this. However, you also have a LOT of markets--and competition!

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Old 01-16-2007, 09:16 AM   #3
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Ditto!!! What candocook said.
There will be Federal/state and maybe local regulations...I'd say start with you local "Health/food safety folks...if they can't answer your questions.. they can point you in the right direction.

And good luck!!!
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
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It's very difficult. Although you can't blame the "powers that be" when even commercial producers are coming under fire for poisoning people.

Even back in the 1980's we had (in LI, NY) a local guy who used to raise & butcher his own free-range chickens & rabbits, & sold eggs & homemade cheeses. We bought from him all the time & loved his stuff. Unfortunately, the health department closed him down because, as mentioned above, he didn't have a "commercial kitchen" to work from.

Fast-forward to today & the regulations are stricter than ever. Even at the farmers' markets there are regulations - even as far as just selling eggs. There's even been an ongoing argument about farmers' markets selling prewashed bagged salad mixes - whether or not these should be considered "processed". Apparently anything not "directly from the ground" is considered "processed" here in Virginia.

I would imagine anything like a bottled sauce or salad dressing would be heavily regulated due to the processing factor. Let's face it - one wrong move & a customer could end up a botulism victim.

If you're really interested in pursuing this, I'd contact my local Cooperative Extension office, Health Department, etc., etc.
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:30 AM   #5
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I might add...you may want to form an LLC is what we call it here..Limited Liability Corporation...that way they can only go after your business assets rather than your personal...I would imagine also that Product liability insurance would be like all insurance...pricey!!!
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:10 AM   #6
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You need to consult an attorney. He or she can help you sort through federal/state/local laws and regulations governing everything from content labeling, health codes, etc to tax and insurance issues (You do need to have lots of insurance.) and, like Uncle Bob suggests, organizational issues, like LLC's, etc. Hiring an attorney may seem expensive (it need not be), but it's the best way to get the information you need to know before you make a decision.

It is very difficult to start up a successful food business. The costs of doing do are very high.

Do your homework thoroughly before making a decision and good luck either way!
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:28 PM   #7
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Here is a free website that might give you some ideas of what you are getting into and what is required: Getting Started in the Specialty Food Business. And if you want to pony up about $100 there is the book from Jazz Foods.

I agree with everyone else- you need an attorney to help you create your business ... how it is created (such as LLC, etc), company name, trademarks, logos, product names, liability insurance issues, etc.

Then there are the production issues such as zoning laws; city, county, state and federal regulations - where and how the product is produced and how it is labeled.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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