So You Want to Start a Food Business
Food operations range from home-based kitchens, mobile food trucks, mom-pop restaurants, fine dining establishments, large national restaurant chains and food manufacturing operations. In most states, home-based kitchens are not subject to inspections by local health departments. Normally, home-based operations are limited to food products that do not require time and temperature control for safety. Food products that contain ingredients such as meat, milk, rice, potatoes and other vegetables require strict temperature control for safety during all phases of preparation, transportation and service.
Foods that require temperature control for safety are known as “TCS” foods. TCS food products must be made in a commercial kitchen that is licensed and inspected by a local or state health authority. Home-based kitchens are not allowed to prepare and sell TCS food products in most states. If you are thinking of starting a home-based food business check rules and laws that apply in your specific state.
If you are thinking of starting any other type of food business you need to be familiar with numerous local, state and federal rules and regulations. When building a new facility or renovating an existing one it is vital to first check with city officials on what is needed to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO). Before purchasing or signing a lease it is vital to first check local requirements for obtaining a CofO. Information in this section is provided to help you in navigating the numerous building codes, plumbing codes, electrical codes, fire codes and health codes that will have to dealt with in obtaining your CofO.
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National League of Cities
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