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Maine Plans to Put Restaurant Inspection Info Online

Maine Plans to Put Restaurant Inspection Info Online

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Maine will put restaurant cleanliness records on the Internet


Maine will put out a new database that will make restaurant cleanliness records available online.

Customers in Maine will soon be able to look up health inspection records online, allowing them to see if a restaurant they are planning on visiting has a clean inspection record or a history of health code violations.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to roll out a new database that would open restaurant inspection records to the public. Most states already put restaurant inspection records online, and this move is intended to promote transparency and help make restaurant inspections more efficient.

“The public has been asking for that and we want to be able to provide that,” said Nancy Beardsley, director of the division of environmental health at the CDC.

In addition to making restaurant inspection records public, the new database is expected to help inspectors keep track of and follow up with restaurants that have a history of health code violations.

Maine Restaurant Association president and chief executive Greg Dugal said his organization was not “excited” by the prospect, but that restaurateurs understood why people wanted the information and why the state decided to give it to them. Dugal said he hopes the database will make it clear to consumers what violations are relevant to food safety and which are not.

“I wouldn’t say we’re excited about it, but we certainly understand why they’re doing it,” Dugal said. “It’s hard for them to keep up with all of the public’s requests.”

Rules and Regulations for Restaurants and Bars

Owning a restaurant or bar comes with so many regulations attached, it’s easy to want to throw in the towel. Almost all businesses have to obtain certain state and federal permits and licenses to open and operate, but when you’re serving food and drink, the stakes are much higher because consumer health is involved.

Food and beverage businesses must comply with a myriad of industry-specific regulations. Failing to follow of any one of these rules could cause a lot of problems for your business.

You could suffer from bad publicity, such as an online review mentioning dirty conditions, that permanently hurts your facility’s reputation. You could be sued by a customer who gets sick from spoiled food or an employee who is injured in your kitchen. In the worst-case scenario, you could lose your restaurant or liquor license and even lose your business.

Clearly, there are lots of reasons to stay on top of restaurant and bar regulations.

Christine Oneto

Christine Oneto is a Marketing and PR professional, whose experience spans technology, startups, healthcare and non-profits, restaurant and wine businesses. Her passion is in helping small wine and food companies/restaurants and non-profits, as well as in the environment/sustainability sector. Her love of the restaurants she knew and loved in the San Francisco Bay Area led her to Dining Safety Alliance, as PR consultant, when she saw many of those favorite (and famous) ones shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following her affinity for the wine industry, she recently earned a certification from eCornell in Wines of California, the Pacific Northwest and New York.

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Butter

Felix Venice, Calif.

Like cacio e pepe, this prosciutto-studded pasta — coated in emulsified butter, starchy pasta cooking water and Parmesan — requires repetition to master, but it's not at all difficult.

A t its best, Felix is electric.

On a busy Friday or Saturday night before the pandemic, customers flocked in droves to the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles for some of the best handmade pasta in the country. All 100 seats were filled by an eclectic mix of locals, tourists and, as in most buzzy California restaurants, celebrities. (The chef, Evan Funke, counts Jay-Z and Beyoncé as fans.)

The music was intentionally familiar — some James Brown or ’90s hip-hop, occasional trap or classic rock — but never too loud, lest it disrupt the olfactory experience. Mr. Funke, 41, considers the scent of the restaurant even more welcoming than the vibe.

“If the track pulls too hard, none of those beautiful aromas can weep into the dining room,” he said. “When you walk into Felix, you can smell the orecchiette Pugliese, the Genovese and the Bolognese. You smell the pizza, the salame piccante. It’s this one amazing perfume that is the cumulative effect of everything that’s going on in the restaurant.”

The seating hugs the heart of Felix, an open kitchen where cooks used to knead, cut and fold up to 75 pounds of pasta on a typical day. Mr. Funke said his pasta laboratorio “isn’t just built as theater and conversation piece” its true purpose is to connect pasta maker and guest. For Mr. Funke, the act of making pasta is not only about preserving a rich history of more than 2,000 years it’s also about hospitality. “That connection is really important to me,” he said.

After Mayor Eric Garcetti halted dine-in service across Los Angeles, Mr. Funke struggled with the decision that faced everyone in the industry: to close, or pivot to a new business model. Two days later, the restaurant celebrated for its ornate handmade pasta was serving takeout.

“I have people on my staff that live paycheck to paycheck, just like every other restaurant in the United States,” Mr. Funke said. He described his staff as an extended family. “We stayed open so our staff could put food on the table.”

But adapting a fine-dining restaurant for takeout is a challenge. There is no way to control the temperature and structure of cooked pasta for delivery. “I’m a student of consistency,” Mr. Funke said. “In this business, if you’re not consistent, you have nothing.”

Instead, the restaurant created pasta kits, pairing 14 or 15 fresh varieties — eight or so made fully by hand, and the rest extruded — with pesto Genovese, arrabbiata and other classic sauces suited to each size and shape, and providing careful instructions for cooks to prepare the dishes at home. Down to one full-time and one part-time pasta maker, Felix is still producing more than 75 pounds of pasta daily.

While the open kitchen was a draw for customers, it also allowed the staff a window on its audience. “That’s why we do it, to see the reaction of our guests, to feel that they’re satisfied.” Mr. Funke said. “We’ve been reduced to these 90-second interactions when people pick up, and that’s literally what’s been sustaining us as a group.”

​about the department

The Permitting and Inspections Department serves as a one-stop permitting, licensing, and inspections shop, which centralizes services and reduces wait times. The department oversees building permits, code enforcement, business licensing, housing safety and zoning.

The Department is also responsible for the enforcement of the City’s building, plumbing, electrical, housing, solid waste and land use codes. The combination of education and enforcement is crucial to protect the health, safety and welfare of all Portland residents and visitors. Each year, the Department reviews thousands of building plans and conducts thousands of inspections to ensure quality construction, safe housing and the proper use of the land.

How Erin French Made a Tiny Maine Town a Dining Destination

FREEDOM, Me. — Right in the middle of dinner service at her restaurant, the Lost Kitchen, the chef Erin French likes to step out and talk to the crowd, as if she’s giving a toast at a party.

“It’s July in Maine,” she said on a recent night, raising a sweaty glass of rosé. “How lucky are we?”

Locals in the dining room cheered July meant long sunlit days with cherries and elderflowers, sweet snap peas and creamy new potatoes, small and misshapen as freshwater pearls.

Ms. French talked through her menu, annotating it like a memoirist. The main course today was lamb, not because it was part of her plan, she explained cheerfully, but because the swordfish she had ordered never arrived, and the angry phone calls she made got her nowhere. So Ms. French did what she always did: She vaulted off the disaster toward something else, something she hadn’t planned for.

Dinner at the Lost Kitchen is an occasion, and most restaurants of its caliber work to maintain an illusion of effortless perfection. Ms. French, who is 36, has built a cult following with her own approach — open, intimate and personal.

Inside a hydropowered grist mill in Freedom, a town about halfway between Augusta and Bangor, she cooks a set dinner for 40 people, four nights a week, editing the menu each day to keep up with subtle changes in season and supply.

When reservations opened in April, Ms. French received thousands of phone calls requesting tables, clogging up the phone line and answering machine. The restaurant is open eight months of the year, and she filled the books from May right through to New Year’s Eve in just one day.

“People told me I was crazy, that this restaurant would never work,” she said.

Despite its success, they still do. Smiling politely, Ms. French brushes off inquiries and advice from those who think her small restaurant in rural Maine should operate in a certain way.

Has she considered staying open longer, on more days of the week, and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner? Couldn’t the dining room squeeze in at least a dozen more seats? And wouldn’t online confirmations be more efficient than a phone call from her mother?

One man mailed Ms. French what he considered to be a better business plan, perhaps not realizing that she was already running her business exactly the way she liked.

“You reach a max-out point if you do too much,” said Ms. French, who published her first cookbook, “The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine,” in May. She said she doesn’t keep the business small for a sense of exclusivity, but rather for a sense of warmth: “It’s the way I’d want it to feel at someone’s house.”

Most of Ms. French’s cooks and servers are close friends, and all of them are women, something of a rarity in the industry. Rarer still, many of them are also farmers, growers of heirloom tomatoes and organic blueberries, who are working second jobs at the restaurant.

The team thrives without the stereotypes associated with high-pressure kitchens, and important decisions are made as a group, like the one to pay cooks and servers more equally, and pool tips.

“Everything about the way this place is set up is made to be low-stress,” said Ashley Savage, a server who runs the flower farm in Knox that grew the sweet pea blossoms in the dining room. Another server, Maia Campoamor, has a solar-powered organic farm in West Montville, with fruit orchards and greenhouses full of vegetables. A third, Meghan Flynn, is a ceramist she made the restaurant’s eggshell-colored plates and bowls at her studio in Lincolnville.


Freedom has Prohibition-era laws that ban alcohol sales in restaurants, so Ms. French’s mother, Deanna Richardson, manages a wine shop downstairs where people can buy bottles on their way to the dining room. She also greets people as they come in, wearing a slate gray linen apron, her hair in a low crown roll.

In the open kitchen upstairs, Ms. French says a quick hello before sliding into the rhythm of service with her two cooks, plating fried green tomatoes with buttermilk and flowering herbs, pouring chilled squash soup over lemony garlic scape pesto, searing dozens of steaks on cast-iron spitting with hot fat.

What to Cook This Weekend

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the weekend. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • In this slow-cooker recipe for shrimp in purgatory, the spicy red pepper and tomato sauce develops its deep flavors over hours.
    • Deploy some store-bought green chutney in this quick, saucy green masala chicken. could be good for dinner, and some blueberry muffins for breakfast.
    • For dessert, watermelon granita? Or a poundcake with macerated strawberries and whipped cream?
    • And for Memorial Day itself? You know we have many, many recipes for that.

    A giddy diner approaches with a copy of Ms. French’s cookbook. “Erin, would you sign it?”

    Ms. French grew up in Freedom and never expected her hometown of fewer than 1,000 to become a food destination. As a teenager, she played soccer, listened to Björk and flipped burgers at her family’s diner.

    She worked in catering later on, and in bars, and in her early 20s, she got into baking. With her newborn son, Jaim, strapped in the carrier on her chest, Ms. French rolled dough for pecan pies and creamed butter for carrot cakes. She delivered the orders as he slept in the car seat.

    Ms. French looked into culinary school but was put off by the expense. Instead, she cooked more at home, and more ambitiously. She married and started a supper club out of her apartment in nearby Belfast.

    She called it the Lost Kitchen, and tinkered there with the earliest drafts of her precise, straightforward cooking, often embellished with edible flowers and shallots macerated in vinegar. Ms. French reconfigured a classic salade niçoise into a dish that made sense in Maine, serving halibut browned in butter with a runny poached egg and a warm vegetable salad. And she puréed local vegetables with fresh buttermilk and lemon juice to make soups with beautifully controlled acidity.

    She used few ingredients to build each dish, and worked simply, without special equipment, taking service cues from both fine dining and dinner parties at friends’ homes.

    Ms. French soon opened a restaurant of the same name downstairs. But just as she was finding success, her marriage was coming apart.

    “If you want to find where all the cracks are in your relationship, open a restaurant,” she said, “then watch it implode.”

    The stress took a toll on her mental health. Suffering from anxiety and depression, she became addicted to the pills prescribed to help her manage. Ms. French went to rehab to get clean, and she did. Two weeks later, when she returned home to Belfast, the fallout from her divorce took her by surprise: The locks were changed, her staff was fired and her restaurant was closed. It was no longer hers.

    “Just like that,” she said, “I lost everything.”

    Ms. French moved into an Airstream trailer, which she still occasionally refers to as the divorcemobile, and parked it for a while in her parents’ yard. She was paralyzed by a sense of failure, misery and rage, but only temporarily.

    When Ms. French was a little girl, she had been warned to stay away from the grist mill in Freedom. It was dilapidated, streaked with spray paint, littered with decades of bloated trash. It seemed as if it might fall apart at any moment.

    But the mill was restored to splendor by a new owner, just as Ms. French was ready for her own second chance. She built the Lost Kitchen inside it, and when she opened, in the summer of 2014, many of the cooks and servers who had worked with her in Belfast were ready to come back, too.

    “I don’t know how to explain it,” Ms. French said, “but this place is our fuel.”

    One of Ms. French’s defining qualities as a chef is the immediacy with which she responds to change — an immediacy she brings to her menus each day.

    The elder tree behind the mill is in full, fierce bloom for just one week in July. The moment Ms. French spots the elderflowers from the dining room window, she hops the fence by the footbridge, climbs down the rocks and snips as many as she can carry.

    She batters and fries the blossoms into sweet, spindly fritters, dusted with powdered sugar. Or she infuses them in syrup to pour over warm lemon cakes. She serves the cake in thick slices with softly whipped cream, semifreddo and cherries from Ms. Flynn’s trees, drizzled with honey. After dessert, people totter out, and a few stop by to hug Ms. French as they say good night.

    When all of the tables are clear, Ms. French heads home to an old farmhouse a mile from the mill, where she lives along with 14 chickens and a dog named Penny. Jaim, now a teenager, splits his time between his parents, and when he’s staying with Ms. French, they hike together behind the house to swim in the trout pond, and build fires in a stone-lined pit on the lawn, where they chat until they’re dry.

    On her way back to work in the morning, Ms. French usually lets the chickens out to feast on the buffet of insects. But on the next day, she spotted a hawk in the sky. Though Ms. French couldn’t be sure it was hunting, she’d already lost a few birds to predators and thought about keeping them inside, safe from danger.

    She quickly reconsidered. There was no such thing as being safe from danger, not really. And staying inside? That was no way to live.

    “Good morning, girls,” said Ms. French, pushing the cover off the coop door. “Be careful out there, O.K.? Be careful, but go, go, go!”

    And to Drink .

    The dominant flavor of this niçoise variation is not the fish itself. It comes from the surrounding Mediterranean chorus of olive, lemon, anchovy, garlic and tomato the potatoes, halibut, lettuce and egg are just a mellow backdrop. Those Mediterranean flavors suggest the classic Provençal solution: a good dry rosé, of which moderately priced examples abound. For a little more money, the rosés from Bandol or Cassis, or darker, more singular examples like Château Simone or Clos Cibonne, would be delicious. You could try a rosé from anywhere, really, so long as it is dry and relatively light-bodied.

    Other alternatives? Dry, brisk whites would be fine unless oak flavors are evident. Bone-dry sparklers, too. But I would steer clear of reds. ERIC ASIMOV


    Limits on total sales

    Many states restrict the amount of sales per year, typically to as low as $5,000 although a few states allow as much as $50,000. $10,000 to $20,000 is typical


    Most states have labeling requirements, that spell out what must be on the label, such as ingredients, the name of the preparer, address where it was prepared, etc. Some states have other requirements, such as for a disclaimer that the food was not inspected by the state. Only Wyoming has no labeling requirements (as of 2017) . Depending on the size of your business, your label may also need to comply with Federal label regulations and with the new nutritional labeling law. You can download a copy of the FDA Food Labeling Guide here it' s an illustrated booklet that should answer all your questions.

    Registration, Permits and License Requirements

    A number of states have some sort of requirement to register or obtain a Permit, or License. See table 2.

    Individuals, under most states rules may sell directly to other individuals, not businesses, such as restaurants or grocery stores. A number of states limit the sales of home processed foods to farmers markets, bake sales and charity events. And usually, while you may have a website to promote your products, you may not sell online or across state lines. Indirect Sales (e.g., restaurants, retail, wholesale) are allowed in California, Maine and Ohio. New Hampshire and Pennsylvania allow it indirectly only at farmers markets, and producers' premises.



    Some states require that the food preparers take and pass a special training course and certification

    States that do NOT allow Cottage Food sales - Summary by state of states that do not allow sales

    5 Restaurant Licenses and Permits You Need to Open Your Business

    1. Restaurant Business License

    A restaurant business license is a permit issued by the government that allows an individual or company to legally conduct business in a specific geographical jurisdiction. This could be a state, city, or county. In the United States, every business must have a license in order to operate legally.

    How do I get a restaurant business license?

    Depending on where you live, the process for how to get a restaurant business license differs. Your business license will need to be obtained in the city where your restaurant is located, so use your restaurant’s address to search the US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s website to find out the state- and city-specific rules for obtaining a restaurant business license.

    How much does a restaurant business license cost?

    The cost to obtain a restaurant business license also varies by city and state, though it is generally around $50 for most applications. However, other costs associated with obtaining your business license can vary from as much as $25 to $7,000.

    2. Restaurant Food Service License

    Any business that serves food will also need a food service license. In many states, the type of licenses you need depends on the type of restaurant you have. Food trucks, for example, may need what’s called a food vendor’s license instead of a food service license, so check to find out exactly what you need for your type of restaurant.

    How to get a Food Service License

    Food service licenses are issued by your state health department, so start by reviewing the food vendor’s application requirements for your specific state with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Obtaining your restaurant food service license also will require an in-person visit from the health department. They’ll be ensuring you are in accordance with restaurant food safety regulations and will come back to check in on that from time to time. The process for how to get a food service license is pretty simple: you just apply online with the name and location of your restaurant.

    How much does a Food Service License cost?

    Food service license fees are often based on the classification and size of the restaurant, as well as your location. As a rule of thumb, you should expect a food service license to cost between $100 to $1,000 depending on your state.

    3. Restaurant Liquor License

    Your food service license won’t cover the liquor you intend to serve at the bar – you’ll need a liquor license for that. Although alcohol laws will vary from state to state , attempting to open a bar without a liquor license is going to lead down a road of penalties, fines, and closed doors. Start this process early if you intend to serve alcohol, as liquor licensing authorities usually have various levels of licenses you can apply for and are known for taking the longest amount of time to obtain.

    How do I get a restaurant liquor license?

    There are different types of restaurant liquor licenses which one you need will be determined by the type of liquor you intend to sell (full bar, beer and wine only, BYOB, etc.) as well as, once again, your location.

    Each state has its own Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board that is in charge of regulating the sale of alcohol. This is where you are going to start your process. To get your liquor license, first contact your state’s ABC Board to set up a conversation to understand your state’s laws, determine which type of liquor license you’ll need, and the next steps in the process.

    What type of liquor license do I need?

    A good background to know is that there are two main types of liquor licenses: on-license and off-license.

    • You will need an on-license liquor license if the alcohol you sell is intended to be consumed on the premises of your business – for example, a bar or restaurant.
    • You will need an off-license if the alcohol you sell is intended to be consumed off the premises – for example, a liquor store or grocery store.

    As a bar or restaurant owner, you’ll always be looking to obtain an on-license liquor license. Nonetheless, most states have several classes of liquor licenses so you’ll want to go over all of these requirements.

    4. Food Handler’s Permit

    Sometimes also referred to as an Employee Health Permit, a Food Handler’s Permit ensures that your staff has completed a food safety certification. This permit ensures your staff understands important regulations for food sanitation, storage, protection, and preparation. This permit is relatively easy to obtain, but you and each person on your team will need to apply for their own personal permit.

    Every state varies in its requirements for food handler permits and the courses required to earn the certification. You’ll want to check with your Department of Health to learn the state required certifications and courses. Depending on your state, a Food Handler’s License can cost anywhere from $10 to $600. Additionally, a Food Handler’s Permit does expire, and the length of time they are good for also varies based on location.

    5. Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    While this isn’t exactly a permit or license in its own right, an EIN is needed when applying for any permits, licenses, and filing other paperwork with the state. An EIN is assigned by the IRS and it is essentially a tax ID number – think of it essentially as your restaurant’s social security number. You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website , or by fax, phone, or mail.

    What does it cost to own a sonic franchise?

    Invest in a strong, growing brand. We have special incentives in select markets.

    Now is a great time to invest in SONIC. Our brand has a proven business model, exceptional ongoing support, millions of fans, and most importantly, plenty of room to grow. The license fee for a traditional Sonic restaurant is $45,000, with a total investment range ranging from $1.24 million to $3.53 million (excluding land). The license fee for a non-traditional Sonic restaurant is $22,500, with a total investment ranging from $361,900 to $978,700 (excluding land). The term of a SONIC franchise ranges from 10 to 20 years, plus a 10-year renewal option.

    Building Division

    We are working finalizing development of our new permitting software. At this time we expecting to go live with new system in late early July, or August 2021. Please check back to review any updates to this timeline.

    Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and allowing us to assist you in your project. As the Building Division, we are committed in providing you with the tools and assistance you and your team needs in order to help get your project moving. The Building Division is responsible for taking in permit applications, administering the permit review process, issuing permits, performing inspections and issuing certificates of occupancy.

    We have been working on converting our permitting and inspection process over to the digital era. You will find this process to be a time saver and allow you and your team to submit for permitting, schedule inspections, pay applicable fees, print permit cards, and print out a completed Certificate of Occupancy at your convenience.

    Please visit our Online Permitting Site here, and follow the below instructions to get started:

    Food & Drug Protection Division

    Low-risk packaged foods are the only products allowed to be produced at home. These can include:

    • Baked goods
    • Jams and jellies
    • Candies
    • Dried mixes
    • Spices
    • Some sauces and liquids
    • Pickles and acidified foods
    • Refrigerated or frozen products
    • Low-acid canned foods
    • Dairy products
    • Seafood products
    • Bottled water

    Step 2. Do you have a pet that comes in your home at any time (even if only at night)?

    If so, you cannot manufacture foods in your home. This practice is a violation of the Good Manufacturing Practices.

    Step 3. Check your home processing area to ensure it meets federal food safety requirements.
    Your home processing area must meet the standards set by:

    Additional regulations are required for pickled (acidified) foods:

    • Food contact surfaces must be smooth and easily cleanable.
    • No pets in the home at any time.
    • Restroom and hand washing facilities- must have hot and cold running water easily accessible from processing area. Kitchen sink is for food preparation only, hand washing must be done in a separate sink.
    • Thermometer must be kept in refrigerator to monitor temperature.
    • Waste must be carried away from the house in an acceptable fashion (sewer or septic system)
    • All light bulbs in the kitchen must have protective shields or be shatter-proof.

    Step 4. Check local license and zoning information

    If you have determined that you qualify as a home-based business, check with your local government for compliance with local zoning laws. Also check your neighborhood organizations to be sure a home-based business is allowed in your neighborhood.
    County government links:
    City or town government links:

    Step 5. Well water inspection

    If your home has municipal/city water, you will need a copy of your most recent bill.

    If your only water source is from a well, the water must be tested for coliform bacteria before an inspection is made. Test results within 1 year of your application and must be attached with your completed application. Water testing is available from private companies or your local health department.

    Step 6. Develop your business plan

    • Ingredients used and the suppliers
    • A plan for storage for supplies, equipment and finished product
    • A general production flow - including procedures and equipment used
    • How you will transport products
    • List potential locations where you plan to sell your product (ex. farmers market, retail from home, local fairs, local businesses)

    Step 7. Food product labels

    Any products to be sold to consumers must be packaged to protect them from contamination. A label must be affixed to the package with:

    1. Product name
    2. Manufacturers name and address
    3. Net weight of the product in ounces/pounds and the gram weight equivalent
    4. Complete list of ingredients in order of predominance by weight

    The label must declare all of the components of the ingredient you use [ie: for the ingredient self-rising flour you would see &ldquoenriched bleached wheat flour(contains bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), salt, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, calcium sulfate.)&rdquo]. The easiest way is to copy directly from the ingredient package for each of the ingredients. Any duplications of an ingredient can be deleted after listing where it is most concentrated (ie: sugar may occur as sugar itself, and also in chocolate chips).

    Any food individually packaged for self-service sale must be labeled and adequately packaged to protect them from contamination. Foods &ldquocustom made&rdquo or &ldquoon demand&rdquo for sale as a single unit (ie: wedding cake, cake for a restaurant to serve, or a dozen cookies in bulk package for a restaurant to serve) can be exempt from individual labels. Also, if the product is served on demand from a secure bulk container or display case when the customer asks you for it, you can be exempt. However the ingredient information must be available upon request by the consumer. If you do not make comparative nutrition claims (ex. low fat, sugar free) you may be exempt from including the nutrition facts panel information on your product as a small business.

    More information on labeling requirements is available at:

    Step 8: Complete the Application for Home Processing Inspection

    Email the completed form to:

    Mail the completed form to:

    Kaye J. Snipes
    169 Boone Square Street, #168
    Hillsborough, NC 27278

    Within three (3) to four (4) weeks of sending your application, a Food Regulatory Specialist will contact you to arrange a home processing facility inspection. You will be sent a copy of all relevant federal and state regulations for your review and to prepare your facility for inspection.

    After sending your completed application, please check your Email periodically for correspondence from our Regulatory Specialists. Inspection appointments are typically made over email. For applicants without email access, appointments will be made by phone.

    Send questions regarding home processing to [email protected]

    Product Testing

    After receipt of your application the Food Regulatory Specialist may determine that product testing is required to ensure your product can be manufactured in a home kitchen.

    The following products may need to have product testing:

    • Acidified foods (ex Pickles): pH testing
    • Dressings/sauces: pH
    • &ldquoMoist&rdquo breads/cakes, and some pies: Aw (water activity) and pH
    • Any questionable products: Aw and/or pH

    Product testing is available through N.C. State University or other commercial labs

    The inspection process:

    Inspectors may require product testing (water activity and/or pH) BEFORE the inspection to ensure your product is safe for home processing.

    A home-based kitchen inspection checks the kitchen to be sure it is clean, constructed of suitable materials and is free of any pest activity (insect or rodent). Remember that indoor pets would also be considered pests. No indoor pets or pests are allowed.

    Standard household equipment and appliances are acceptable. The equipment and appliances can be used for both personal and commercial use. Standard household sinks are acceptable. The kitchen should be free of decorative materials which could collect dust. Running water at a suitable temperature and pressure is required. There is not a specific temperature requirement for hot water, as long as it is hot enough to accomplish cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils.

    Waste should be conveyed away from the house in an acceptable fashion (Sewer or Septic Tank)
    Any lights in the kitchen or any processing or packaging areas should be shielded against accidental breakage.

    The inspection will be focused on the kitchen and other areas where processing and packaging of products may take place. Areas of the house in which materials, ingredients and equipment are stored will also be inspected. Inspectors may also walk around the exterior of the house to verify that the foundation is intact and will not allow for the entry of pests.

    A permit is not issued, but inspectors will alert the homeowner to any possible violations of the N.C. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

    Other steps:

    File for a tax number

    There are several types of tax numbers. If a business is planning to have sales, a Sales & Use Tax number (NC-BR) is required. Businesses having employees are required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification number (SS-4 form) along with a N.C. withholding tax number. The N.C. Business License Information Office can provide application forms to businesses for these numbers.

    Register business name

    The type of business structure determines where a business name (assumed name) should be registered. A Certificate of Assumed Name for sole proprietorships and partnerships must be filed with the Register of Deeds in the county or counties where businesses plan to operate. Corporations or Limited Liability Companies must register their business names with the N.C. Secretary of State, Corporations Division.

    Apply for a UPC code

    Many retailers now require a Uniform Product Code (UPC) for each product they carry. A UPC code allows automated checkout stands to read the name of the manufacturer and the specific product from the bar code.

    The Uniform Code Council Inc. (UCC) is the central management and information center for manufacturers, distributors and retailers participating in the UPC system. This organization is not a government agency. It is an administrative council that exists specifically to develop standard product and shipping container codes, control the issuing of company identification codes, provide detailed information and to coordinate the efforts of all participants. Although membership in the UCC is voluntary, it is required to obtain a UPC identification number.

    Uniform Code Council Inc.
    Suite 300
    7887 Washington Village Dr.
    Dayton, OH 45459
    (937) 435-3870 or (800) 543-8137

    Marketing assistance

    NCDA Marketing: Apply for Got To Be NC Membership Today!

    Other resources

    Food Program, Daniel Gaines, Food Administrator
    Mailing Address: 1070 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1070
    Physical Address: 4000 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh NC 27607-6465
    Phone: (919) 733-7366 FAX: (919) 733-6801
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