Plans for a Certified Kitchen

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)March 17, 2008

I finally got some good information from the state on what I have to do to have a certified kitchen in my home. I want to use this kitchen to make jelly to sell at farmers market. In addition to all my other produce. I also want to use it to supplement my income, by selling jelly online and craftshows, during the winter. I even have two stores that will carry my jellies.

I knew you had a lot of hoops to jump through, but sometimes I think they make rules, just to make rules.

I want to be "legal" with my jelly, but it may take another year before I can be legal, at home. Meanwhile, I will look into renting a space/kitchen. I know that space will be legal, but I would really like to do it from home.

Has anyone done this or know of someone who has done this. I would like to talk to you or them.


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Me! I jumped through the hoops. I am almost ready for the inspection. I plan on also selling my acidified foods (pickles) and dehydrated foods so there are many more rules than what I list below. This list covers just jams and jellies. It may be that other States have different requirements so check with the County Extension office nearest you first. Here's what I think you'll have to follow:

To sell jam and jelly or fruit syrup: no Better Process School required. To sell canned acid and acidified foods you do need to take this class. No home pressure-canned foods may be sold anywhere in the US.

If you are on a well you must have it tested yearly for bacteria (here it costs $75).

Kitchen Inspection Points:
1. Absolutely no household pets of any kind, even in another part of the building where you have your kitchen. This includes birds, fish, reptiles, etc. as well as dogs and cats.
2. Overhead and task lights must be covered with washable shields (to prevent broken bulbs' glass falling into the kitchen).
3. Floors: Concrete must be sealed, preferably also painted. Wood floors must not be oiled but can be waxed. Vinyl and sheet flooring must have sealed seams. Carpeting is not allowed.
4. Cleaning: Mops and brooms must be stored away from the kitchen area and have a sink or drain used just for that purpose. Cleaning must be stored with a door covering them out of the prep area, not under the sink.
5. Walls: Painted with washable paint, or finished with vinyl paneling or something that can be washed.
6. Counters: Must be cleaned after every prep session with bleach, including any wood cutting boards.
7. Sinks: Prep sink must be big enough for the largest pot you use to be washed in it, even if you have a dishwasher. A separate hand washing sink is required. You can have a double bowl sink but one side can be used only for hand washing and never for prep.
8. Minimal "decorations" are allowed and they must be washable.

Jars must be sterilized and kept hot while food is put in it (I bought a dishwasher that has the sterilize setting).
You must use one or two piece screw on lids on the jars - paraffin is not allowed any more.

Labels must conform to FDA rules and include: "Company" name, responsible person's name, city, state, phone number (land line not cell), control number (date batched and unique identification number for EACH batch), name of the product (can be fancy name like Mom's Best Jam), recognizable common name or description (like Grape Jelly,) ingredients listed in order of volume, net weight of product (not including packaging). There is a website that explains the requirements for labeling. You may also have to provide nutrition labeling and that costs @$50 per product to have tested by a food science kitchen, usually at a large university.

You aren't forced to but you should register your "Company" with the FDA under the "Bioterrorism Act of 2002", it is free - do not pay someone to file for you and charge you money. I recommend this because you are going to sell to the general public through other stores than at a farm stand or farmer's market. I think the purpose of this is to have a traceable path in the event of contaminated food.

Processes used for each type of product - one for strawberry jam, another for grape, etc. There is a form you must use - it is not recipes. You do not have to submit the processes but you must have them if the FDA or USDA or Health Department visits your kitchen.

You should get insurance of at least $1M to cover you in the event of a contaminated product that you produced. Of if someone sues you for whatever.

There are probably other things that I will remember later. Perhaps others can chime in.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:11PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Nancy, You are my newest best friend! Thank you for the valuable information. You helped clarify alot of the questions I had. It sounds like NC is similar to KS.

Another question I have is doors and windows. I have 3 possible rooms I could put this kitchen in. Two of them have windows. Is that or could that be a problem? The ones that open have screens.

One of the possible rooms also has a door to the outside. I am thinking that could be a problem.

I am really wanting to do this, it is just the cost. How much do you think it cost you to get going? Materials? Permits? If you don't mind, it will give me a ball park figure.

Also, where do you get jars and lids? I want to get the one piece lids. I usually sell half pints and 1/4 pints.

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 9:11PM
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I don't know about doors opening directly to the outside, but you will need a screen door too if you do get an OK. I do know that windows are good, must have screens. I didn't want a range hood so I put the stove under one of the three windows so it could be opened to release steam to the outside.

I can't tell you about costs for building out a kitchen because when we built our detached building we had put in a laundry tub to wash off produce so we already had plumbing there. We chose to sheet rock the walls and ceiling too because the building also has a woodworking shop that needed to be "finished". We have heating and air and lots of electrical outlets, not knowing exactly then what we were going to use the rest of the space for. When we decided to change it from a garden prep area (that tub is now outside the building) to a sanitary kitchen we just put up stud walls to separate the canning kitchen from the woodworking shop and dropped the 12' ceiling with suspended ceiling grid to 10'. We already had 8' fluorescents (unshielded) on the ceiling so we used clear styrene 2'x4' panels for the most of it and cut laminate (Formica-like) for the smaller panels around the edges that were not full size panels instead of using acoustic tiles in the grid. Those panels are washable since using acoustic would make us have to paint them and use troffer lights. We bought a bar sink for hand washing and an oversize single bowl kitchen sink, plus the faucets, at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for less than $125, two interior doors and handles for $70. We bought a used drop in stove for $50 and a used dishwasher for $100 from Craigslist. I got a free refrigerator on Freecycle. My DH and I built the cabinets ourselves from double-faced Melamine, but you could look at discarded cabinets and sand and paint them for cheap - they don't have to be pretty, just functional. I used 12" floor tile for half the counter, he laminated the other half. We both do plumbing and he did the electrical (he's an EE, retired). We put up the sheet rock, mudded it, and I painted it using mis-tint paint for $5/gallon from Lowe's. I painted the concrete floor with Porch and Floor paint, one quart did it. Permits were $75 and construction inspections were multiple. Since we did all the work ourselves, it was less than $2,500. We already had a separate electric meter. It did take us two months to do but in winter there is not a whole lot else to do since it is too cold out in the garden and we didn't work overly hard to get it done by a certain date. If you have the skills and the time you can save a big bundle. If you want someone else to do it I'd suggest you check out the small Handyman types instead of a well advertised construction firm.

Another thing I forgot is that you have to have a bathroom near or adjacent to the kitchen. We already had one but we did have to move the door so it wouldn't open directly into the kitchen. Probably would have been OK though if we added a self closer mechanism (like a screen door has).

Oh yeah - you need appliance thermometers in the refrigerator, freezer, and stove, plus you have to have your water heater temperature turned up higher than you would in a regular kitchen.

Glad I could help. It has been hoop jumping here for quite a while and I could scarcely find anyone who knew what I wanted to do in order to ask. I am happy to pass on this info so that you all don't have to reinvent the wheel. For a lot of answers start with your local County Extension office. If they don't know (not likely) call another County's office. Here the State Dept of Ag does the kitchen inspections. I originally thought it might be the County Health Dept. Since we are a very rural county, he didn't know that either, never been asked, and he told me I would have to build it to Commercial Kitchen guidelines. HAH! That would have included grease traps, dumpsters, and a sink that costs over $2,000. I am glad I asked at the large citified neighboring County's Health Dept. She was the one who steered me in the right direction.

Do try to keep accurate financial records. It is the only way to know if you are making a profit and if you have a hobby or a business. That part was hard for me.

Let us know what you find out and good luck/happy canning.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Hi, Im try to build a certified cutting/kitchen room to start my business. Preparing and selling dried/fresh fish products. I needed help in what are the basicrequirements we need to sell are procucts to the store?
Please help!! amoe

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 1:36AM
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Gina O'Brien Sandora

RE: Wow this is all good information. Every state is different.
Just in case this would work.....I had a friend that had a GF Italian tomato sauce biz out of her home...She complied with the states guidelines but on a very small scale. She and her husband finished off a small part of their basement to accomodate the state laws. It was enough space for the work and it didn't break the bank. Expanding: You may want to consider what else you may want to produce out of your new kitchen, i.e. baking. If you install a commercial oven it will need to be vented as per state safety guidelines possibly through the roof which can be a problem in a multi-story home. Have fun and good luck. Also see the link I found below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rules, Regulations and Resources for Kansas Farmers Markets

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:01PM
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