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Have a question via email. I like to throw these out to see what the CS Nation thinks.

I have been making jerkey and selling it to friends and family. I want to expand
my business and start packaging (or not) and selling to other people, but have not
been able to find info about rules and regs and laws regarding this. Can you help
put me in the right direction? Thanks in advance...

Let's help the poster out!
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First I would see about getting liability insurance. Most insurance companies have a small business “package”, about $600.00 per year.

This is why you should be insured. ;-)

Then I would contact your local USDA inspector to find out what you will need to comply. You can just call any USDA inspected plant and someone there should be able to tell you how to make contact with an inspector. Some are nice and some are not. ;-)

Good Luck

I second the post about checking into insurance and the USDA. I would also suggest a call to your local or state health department. You will likely need a food processors permit from them and they may also be helpful in pointing you to the other "t"s that need crossing and "i"s that need dotting.
Wearing my Food Safety Officer hat:

Shame on you, Andi! Selling under the table products!

I hear an undertone of complaint here that bothers me a little. The existance of strict, and, admittedly, sometimes capriciously applied food handling laws is the result of an effort to protect innocent consumers. While I am reasonably sure that Andi runs a clean kitchen, I cannot trust every profit minded individual to do so. You would be surprised at the condition of the facilities and the product turned out by some 'bottom line' food handlers where profit is the only thing that counts. Remember that some of the facilities will always just scrape by, minimally following the rules and regulations. By removing or not enforcing the laws, the basement door is left wide open and the end result will suffer . . . along with the consumers.

There are reasons for the laws. Mostly to protect the public from actions that you and I would never dream of undertaking. But, then again, it would never occur to me to mail an envelope of anthrax spores to anyone either. Also, as much as anything, the laws are there to protect us from the ignorant as well as the malignant.

My experience with most food safety inspectors and administrators has been that, as a group, they are highly trained, motivated and conscientious professionals. There have been some abuses (there is nothing worse than a little man with a little power!) some fraud, some bribes . . . but the overwhelming majority are there to serve as guardians for our nation's food supply, a job that they take seriously, thankfully. They are more than willing to help, both with information and advice.

When everyone in the world undergoes a truly religious type conversion and agrees to follow Spike Lee's advice of "Do the right thing" . . . and I can prove it . . . I'll agree that it's time to revise or do away with the laws.

Sorry about the rant . . . taking off my hat now . . .
I know, I know...but, living in the Bush, ya gotta make money where ya can. A whole lotta folks in Bush Alaska do this.

No one has found a cat hair yet! LOL! Most of my cutomers have been with me for years, and can't get it any other way. I use saltpeter and practice very safe canning methods. I've been canning fish for so long, it comes natural. And, I am proud of my product, so I put a lot of care into it.

Ya gonna tell on me? Guess I better send ya some fish! Wink
No bribes necessary, Darlin'! I just have to get my soap-box out from time to time.

On the other hand, having posted on a public forum, don't come crying to me when the food police show up on your door! (misdemeanor canning?) Plus, in Maine I ran a hobby rabbitry and sold a lot of meat to my friends that paid for my hobby. Now that I think about it, that was probably illegal as well. Red Face
I think most state laws are aimed at truly commercial enterprises, and that is where most of the 'little guy can't comply' problems arise . . . expecting a home kitchen enterprise to adhere to codes that were drawn up for commercial kitchens. But, be aware . . . they will step on you if you come to their attention.

Also, don't think that with the above statement that I am turning down any fish!
E-mail your address, O Woodstock Georgia! Or, do I have it? Maybe I do, come to think about it. Do it again anyway, will ya? X-mas is coming!

I do believe you are entirely right. The Alaska Federation of Natives just had thier convention (coulda sold a zillion smokers) in Anchorage, and there was Smoked Salmon, Whalemeat, Walrus, you-name-it being sold outside the doors of the Egan Center. It draws Natives from EVERYWHERE and is quite lucrative for Anchorage and the Air Carriers.

Anyway, the food vendors were annonced in media...and no one stopped them. So, it's a lax rule here. Until someone gets hurt, but I do my godawful damnest to make sure that does not happen. You could open a jar of Tylenol and die, right?

Big Grin Big Grin
Big GrinWell...I live in Crazyfornia. You have to get a food handler permit. It is a class that you take. You also have to have your place of prep. checked out. (I.E. you need a 3 sink S/S,one is for cleaning, one for rinse, one for sterilization. THEN you have to have ANOTHER sink to rinse your hands in. ) Your floors have to be of a certain type. ETC,ETC,ETC....All good IMO. You ALSO have to get another license for processing meat. Because of cures and the like. Another good thing. I try to look at it this way, it is a LOT of B.S. to go through. But if a guy/gal is willing to do it, won't you feel good about something checked off from your state vs a guy bye the side of the road with an awning selling glad bags of jerky out of his 69 chevy with mismatched rims and tires with the front fender about to rust off?!
Greenebelly, we have the same type of rules here in South Dakota. A Grocer friend of mine opened a stand and offered his customers lunchs for under $5. Well, he didn't have the 3 sinks plus one in his 12x8 building. The health experts shut him down....funny, why don't they shut down the connsession stands at High School Sporting events.
I also agree that food safety is very important. My FEC100 is setting between my house and garage. The health inspectors would go nuts with me smoking out of my garage.
As per the friend getting shut down vs. concession stand @ high school, the public health dude/dudette either a)have kids that go there. b) have kids of friends going there. c) have grand kids that go there. d) don't want the rathe of the PTA raining down on their heads. It is a good cause at the high school, e.g.: profits going to a cause that benefits the kids and kids programs vs. one person's wallet. Your friend is trying and working to hard to get ahead in this country doing something he/she loves. The government CAN'T have that. They need their cut as it were, millions on the dole that depend on them don't ya know. Only the hard working get punished. Kind of a dichotomy really cause this brings us back to the beginning discussion. If you keep small enough and don't OBEY the law you can do alright and eek out a decent living. Give a call to the local or federal level food guys and hang on to your britches. Tough call. I'm a little bitter cause of where I live.(California) I am sure every where else it is ok. Needed to vent today. WHEW!
10% consumption tax! Everyone buys things, even criminals! SIGH!

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