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Ontario Business startup

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#1 Lao Spice

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 09:08 PM

Hello, 

 

I have spent the past week reading through these forums, and I still have a few questions about starting a sauce company in Ontario, Canada. (I noticed a few businesses from Ottawa, London, and Missasauga in here).

 

I have a commercial kitchen and insurance ready to work with each other, my food handling certification, a standardized recipe, suppliers and a sales plan. I am only going to be selling in-province right now.

 

My current stumbling blocks are:

 

1. Is there a "processing authority" in Ontario? Do I need to have my process approved, by who, and what does that entail?

 

2. Pepper North mentioned in a post that they had to have their labels approved. I know that my insurance needs them to be submitted with my application, but is there a government agency that needs to review the labels as well?

 

3. Use before/Best before dates:

I know that I will need to get shelf life testing, but it seems to be a circle of regulation. The labs say that if you process the food in a commercial kitchen, it will last longer; I cannot get a commercial kitchen without insurance; and the insurance needs me to put down a shelf life or pull date. Is there a cold packing standard (e.g. hummus and tzatziki are not heated) that can be used with refrigerated sauces? How did you go about this to start?

 

Thank you in advance for your mentoring.


Edited by Lao Spice, 23 November 2015 - 09:09 PM.


#2 salsalady

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 02:03 AM

Hello, 

 

I have spent the past week reading through these forums, and I still have a few questions about starting a sauce company in Ontario, Canada. (I noticed a few businesses from Ottawa, London, and Missasauga in here).

 

I have a commercial kitchen and insurance ready to work with each other, my food handling certification, a standardized recipe, suppliers and a sales plan. I am only going to be selling in-province right now.

 

My current stumbling blocks are:

 

1. Is there a "processing authority" in Ontario? Do I need to have my process approved, by who, and what does that entail?

 

2. Pepper North mentioned in a post that they had to have their labels approved. I know that my insurance needs them to be submitted with my application, but is there a government agency that needs to review the labels as well?

 

3. Use before/Best before dates:

I know that I will need to get shelf life testing, but it seems to be a circle of regulation. The labs say that if you process the food in a commercial kitchen, it will last longer; I cannot get a commercial kitchen without insurance; and the insurance needs me to put down a shelf life or pull date. Is there a cold packing standard (e.g. hummus and tzatziki are not heated) that can be used with refrigerated sauces? How did you go about this to start?

 

Thank you in advance for your mentoring.

Lao Spice-

 the sad answer is that it's up to you and your local regulations.    I'm not familiar at all with Canadian regulations.  As with most sauce operations in the US, I would suggest starting with your local health authority but with a note of caution.

 

 

For a lot of areas in the US, the local health inspectors who do restaurants and such are not the inspectors who deal with food processors.  Call your local people and ask who licenses food processors.  If They don't do it, they should be able to give you contact information for those who you need to talk with. 

 

The Process Authority as it's usually refered to is not the same as the health district.  A Process Authority is someone licensed and authorised to review recipes and packing processes and either approve or deny the process.  The health district person usually looks at the physical place where the sauce making happens and approves/denied the facility.  Usually the PA is affiliated with a university and their food sciences departments, but they can also ber found affiliated with independent fod labs.  Testing prices can vary greatly, so I would endourage anyone contacting a lab or univlersity to ask for prices.

 

Shelf Life-

based on my experienced with a refrigerated salsa- I put the shelf life sticker on each tub at 30 days from the date of manufacture.  The salsa is a fresh refrigerated salsa, and regulations stipulate 30 days shelf life for a refrigerated, non-tested for all that shelf-life stuff.  In WA, anything over 30 days requires a whole lot of other testing etc, so I keep it at 30 days as a fresh refrigerated product and don't have to worry about it.

 

If you are making something like hummus or tzatziki, if you went more than 2 weeks, I'd think you'd have to have some testing done to make sure it's OK to consume after 3 weeks.  Your local/regional health authority should be able to help with that.

 

I'll check back in the AM,,,,,


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#3 Lao Spice

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 09:07 AM

I have called 1-800-O-Canada, and had gotten to the point where I thought I knew what I had to do, and then I read the post by Pepper North where they say they needed to have their label approved. That threw me for a loop. Approved by who? Are there regulations I have not read about? I want to know, did I miss something while reading legalese in the legislation? Because, there was a section that said it is my responsibility to adhere to regulations, with no mention of an approval process.

Inspections.gc.ca said that durable life of products or categories is not prescribed in regulation. I know it is up to me to get a shelf life study, simply to cover my arse, but I don't want to pay twice (once before the commercial kitchen, and once after). They are about a 1K each here.

Do I NEED a shelf life study to get a label approved before I start, or am I ok to just have a refrigerated process until the reports come back after I start production, and re-file a new label and process with the insurance company.

There are a bunch of special circumstances for labelling requirements that are easier for food production when you sell on the same premise that you prepare on (ie restaurants), and for those only selling through farmers markets, and for farms. Unfortunately, everyone I know personally either had a relative with a restaurant they could sell out of, or they own a farm. I have neither.

I know you need to be federally inspected when you open a plant, as I know someone who owns a cold-packing facility (that cannot handle our bottles or process). Commercial kitchens are inspected by municipal health inspectors operating under provincial legislation. And I have my food handlers certification, which is the provincial requirement.

#4 Pepper North

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 09:25 AM

No, there is no federal authority governing labels in Canada. It is self policed, but you are expected to adhere to all label regulations outlined on the Canadian Food Inspection website.

What I was likely referencing was on the municipal level. Whenever you do a farmers market, festival, etc. you need to apply for a temporary food vendors permit from that regions health department. They will ask you for copies of all of your product labels as well as other documents. I am in Peel region and each regions requirements vary slightly.

Edited by Pepper North, 24 November 2015 - 09:28 AM.

Pepper North Artisan Foods - www.peppernorth.com - "Keeping you warm in the great white north."

30 x Hot Pepper Award Winner including Spicetime Achievement, Best Overall Hot Sauce & Best Product Line!


#5 Lao Spice

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 09:54 AM

Thank you, Pepper North.

One more set of questions, if selling only in province, and producing in a commercial kitchen, is there any other certification I need other than the food handler certification? Do we need to get anything equivalent to a canning licence or have our process reviewed by a processing authority.?

Just making super sure before I go file the insurance next week.

#6 salsalady

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 11:21 PM

This is probably no help at all...but in the States, a food handlers card is mostly for restaurant workers.  Everyone from the busboy on up has to have one.  maybe not the same/equivalent in CA. 

 

Food processors usually have to have some kind of further licensing based on what food they are making.  For years, I was good-to-go with just my state processing license, the recipe review and inspections from the state.... until I started making a BBQ sauce that contains butter which is a critical component.  I had to get what is probably the equivalent of the canning license to make it in the licensed kitchen. 

 

Again, I would encourage you to start local and work your way up.  Even contacting the farmers market is helpful if they are the least bit organized.  Theny can tell you who you need approval from to sell at their market.  After that, go to the city, the regional, or provincial health people. 

 

Sounds like calling O-Canada is about the same as calling our US FDA.   Huge agency, never talk to a real person, thousands of pages of information......and 99.999% of it not what you are looking for....:banghead:

 

Start with someone local that is a real person with a real desk....:lol:

 

Good Luck!  Keep it fun~


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#7 Lao Spice

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 10:54 AM

Thank you, SL.

In Ontario, only commercial kitchen staff are required to have a food handlers certificate. Actually only one person on premises legally needs to have it, but some insurance agencies require everyone in the kitchen to have it. Insurance agencies want all servers to have "smart serve" to handle alcohol.

I tried calling OMAFRA (provincial manufacturing and agriculture), and got through! As long as there is no meat, eggs, or dairy, I am fine.

Phew! Now on to incorporating and insurance.

#8 BSH

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 12:56 PM

What are you looking at making, sauce-wise?  I have bought from Pepper North a few times and am always looking to support Ontario sauce makers.



#9 Lao Spice

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 08:26 PM

BrooksideSuperHots - We will be making traditional Laotian(South-East Asia) sauces and pastes. They are pepper based, and fruit based. I will message you the website URL once we are up and running.

 

Thank you for taking an interest! :P


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#10 Lao Spice

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:46 AM

I thought I would pass along some information for People in Ontario. 

I found the OMAFRA website, and you can have ebooks mailed to you on CD for free (within Ontario), about manufacturing and recall practices. At the bottom of this webpage is a link to ServiceOntario where you can put the product codes in and have it shipped for free. I got mine in 3 business days. Some of the codes do not work for the posters. 

 

http://www.omafra.go...foodsafety.html

 

There is also a Food and Beverage Association that holds conventions, the next of which is in Barrie.  

 

http://www.foodandbeverageontario.ca

 

I will continue to post more useful links as I come across them :)



#11 IslandSonCanada

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:19 AM

Hey Lao Spice!

 

I'm new here, but have been going through the same phases you are. 

 

Everything you have posted, and the great advice from everyone is spot on (Hi Drew!).

 

A couple of points to add:

 

Re Labels: A good label manufacturer will know the right guidelines for your product. I've switched to a place called Spectrim Labels. The guys there know the standards. 

 

Re Insurance and food safety: I've reached out to CIFA http://www.inspection.gc.ca and there is a quiz that takes you through what you require based on your process. I couldn't find the link quickly, but it was good at nailing down my needs. The reason it's 'safer' when cooked in a commercial kitchen is that it is assumed to be a cleaner environment than a garage or home kitchen. There are some very questionable certified commercial kitchens in operation, so be selective. 

 

Make sure you hit your kill temps (I go to 95 degrees C for an hour) and get your water activity low. Also, make sure your PH is under 4 (mine is 3.3).

 

For testing, try local University food programs like Niagara Food and Wine college, U of Guelph...

 

Hope this helps!

 

Cheers, 

 

JD 

 

 



#12 sirex

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 01:12 PM

Just a heads up this thread is over three yrs old from the last posting. As well as op doesn't seem to have been active in that time.

Is all good just letting you know. Thanks for sharing your info!!!

Never sacrifice flavor for heat.






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