Meeting Minnesota regulations for Son’s cake
Posted: 10 June 2013 09:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve been asked to bake my son’s wedding cake in Minnesota this coming fall.  The bride’s family says I have to use a licensed kitchen to meet Minnesota state requirements.  Does anyone have information about this regulation, how this would affect the transporting of the cake if I can find a licensed kitchen, and what other requirements (hoops) I’ll have to jump through in order to fulfill my son’s wish?  The Minnesota gov. site has pages and pages about businesses but I cannot tell what would apply to me.
Thanks for any help the Minnesota folks can provide here.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I find it hard to believe that you need to be licensed by the state to bake a cake for a few family friends at no charge.  I don’t have any knowledge about the subject, but I’ll bet a quarter that the future in-laws are mistaken.

Here’s the MN website that deals with catering businesses:

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/food/fs/catering.html

Since you’re not operating a business, I’m skeptical that it applies to you. But how to prove it to the Bride’s family without causing a kerfuffle? I’d call the office # listed on the website and confirm this with someone. Perhaps they will write a letter or email.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It may depend on where the reception is being held - the venue may require that any food brought in from the outside be from a licensed kitchen.  If the reception is being held at a private home (or clubhouse in a community) or private club, the regulation may not apply.  The insurance that the venue carries may specifically stipulate that any food served has to be from a licensed facility.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The venue the couple are planning to use at this point is an refurbished barn.  The owners are just setting the place up as a wedding venue and their own daughter is getting married there later this month.  It sounds like I will need to check with the barn owners directly. The groom has already nixed several places because the venues required specific caterers and he really wants me to make the cake.  (Can I just add that I’m really proud of him?)  If I can find a licensed facility to bake in, I must still figure out if I can legally transport the cake and if I must have a food safety certification, too.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wow,  that’s all I can say.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It might be helpful to find a licensed home baker near where the wedding is going to be; they might be able to clarify any requirements.  If the venue owners are just getting started, they may not have a list of preferred vendors yet.  Since your son is very passionate about the cake, have him call the caterer they are using and explain the situation and ask if you can use their kitchen (with supervision of course) to bake and assemble the cake.

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Posted: 12 June 2013 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If the venue owners are just getting set up and don’t yet have restrictive regulations re: caterers in place, it might be the case that you only need to satisfy state requirements, and I imagine that it would be worthwhile to check what requirements there are if you’re not selling the cake but just giving it as a gift.

I think most regulations apply to selling, or to giving foodstuffs away in a public place.  You are gifting a cake in a private setting, perhaps there will be very limited rules (or no rules).  Just because professionals who make a profit from selling cakes have to comply with regulations doesn’t mean that private gifts also have to comply with the same regulations, or every church social or school bake sale in the state would be in jeopardy.  Perhaps a quick phone call to someone in the state regulatory office would clarify matters.

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Posted: 12 June 2013 11:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That is weird. What I know, here in California, you only need a license IF you want to go into the baking business or simply to sell what you bake and MUST be prepared in a commercial kitchen. I have made wedding cakes as a wedding gift from me to my friends and family and I was never asked to get a license. How about asking the health dept. Or the business license people ? Ask them directly. You will definitely get the true answer.  You would rather do a lot of calling or researching than going by someone’s statement who probably do not know themselves.  I don’t think the venue cares, unless it is the law. It just does not make sense. This is not of those times where you can guess. Good luck. Let us know how it goes. You need an answer from the horse’s mouth.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The town where I live has some of the most stringent health agents I’ve ever known; and when my son was in elementary school, the PTO would put on a pasta feast fundraiser for the school community.  The year I was on the PTO board was the year new regulations were enforced - the PTO could hire the cafeteria kitchen *but not the staff* and produce the meal but under the watchful eye of the health agent to ensure that all regulations were followed to the letter.  There had to be someone ServSafe Certified in the kitchen and because we couldn’t hire the regular cafeteria staff, it had to be a parent.  It was the silliest thing ever.  They did the same thing to the church too.  So both the PTO and the church had to spend money to send parents and parishioners to the ServSafe class just to be able to do bake sales, dinners - any time food was served. The answer from the Health Department was because the general public (because the school community and the church community were part of the general public) was being served food and it was their job to make sure it was prepared and served according to the regulations.

The church still has ServSafe people in charge of each function but at least now the school system allows the Food Services department to price things so the PTOs can make a little money - the Food Services staff makes and sells the meals so the health department is happy.  But kids cannot bring treats to school that are home made; everything has to come from a package.

If a venue says that food brought in has to come from a licensed facility, it is because their insurance policy won’t allow them to serve food that isn’t prepared on the premises or prepared in a licensed kitchen; whether money changed hands or not isn’t the issue, whether it is a gift or not doesn’t matter. I’ve had more than a few people call at the last minute because they had a family member who was going to make the cake and then find out it’s not allowed.  It’s sad, because sometimes it’s a family recipe, or the memory of the treasured relative who made the cake that is important.

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