marketing Going official in 2019 in CA, but confused as to what licenses/permits needed?

Hey everyone! Hoping I can get some clear cut answers here pertaining to my specific scenario. I've been crafting and iterating on my recipe for a fermented hot sauce over this past year, and have learned quickly that I cannot just bottle it myself and sell it to people as hotsauce does not fall under California's cottage food law.
 
I want to do things as legit as I possibly can in 2019, which means I will be filing an LLC and getting all necessary permits and licensing so I can sell my hot sauce at farmers markets and online. Ideally, as I am just starting out, I want to mitigate my risk by keeping batch sizes small so I am looking into finding a willing restaurant or church to use their kitchen after hours.
 
So a few key questions I am looking to have answered:
 
- At this stage, if I am planning on doing business in Los Angeles, California (Gardena specifically) is it best I form my LLC in California or Delaware?
 
- Aside form registering my LLC, what other permits or licenses do I need to obtain in order to produce and bottle my own hot sauce if I am using a restaurant's or church's kitchen?
 
- If I use a restaurant's or church's kitchen, what aspects of the process MUST I do in that kitchen?
 
- If I am fermenting my hot sauce, can I prepare the ingredients at that kitchen, and then let it ferment at my house or do I have to let it ferment at that commercial kitchen?
 
- If I cook and bottle the fermented hotsauce at the commercial kitchen, can I at hold my stock at my own home or do I have to find a commercial space to hold the stock?
 
- And finally, if I want to legally sell this product online and at farmer's markets from Los Angeles, California, do I need a food scientist to review my recipe and come up with nutritional information?
 
 
I probably have a plethora of other questions, but this should be it for now lol. Thank you so much for any responses!
 
:welcome: to THP, exit plan.

Most of these questions are answered in this thread
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/66094-starting-a-food-business-101/

Regarding where to ferment, most inspectors require all the processing to happen at the food processing plant. You can't take a product out of the facility. Too much risk of contamination and such.

Some places require product to be held in a secure place, you can't take cases home to label. Others allow off site storage.

Most all of your questions can be answered by your local authority. Regulations vary, maybe someone with specific knowledge of Cali regulations can chime in.

Good luck and Have Fun!

Salsalady
 
Evening ExitPlan! 
 
I came across your post as I am trying to start up legally just a short drive up the coast from you near Santa Barbara.
 
I was wondering how everything worked out for you last year and if you would be willing to offer any advice on going legal in California??
 
If you're still working the system yourself I'd be happy to bounce ideas off of each other as well!
 
We're in the very early stages of working with the county for all of the licensing requirements and there is definitely not a lot of open source info out there so I'd be incredibly grateful for any help!
 
 
 
mike14 said:
Evening ExitPlan! 
 
I came across your post as I am trying to start up legally just a short drive up the coast from you near Santa Barbara.
 
I was wondering how everything worked out for you last year and if you would be willing to offer any advice on going legal in California??
 
If you're still working the system yourself I'd be happy to bounce ideas off of each other as well!
 
We're in the very early stages of working with the county for all of the licensing requirements and there is definitely not a lot of open source info out there so I'd be incredibly grateful for any help!
 
 
 
Mike...
See my attachment below. Note 3 things.
1.) Original post date.
2.) Note last time ExitPlan was online.
3.) Note you received a Notification I Quoted you. Unless you do the same with ExitPlan he wouldn't know of your inquiry (2018 was awhile ago so why would he return here if he does return at some point in the future.)....
 
Good luck with your search!
 
06.28.20_ExitPlan.jpg
 
ExitPlan said:
Hey everyone! Hoping I can get some clear cut answers here pertaining to my specific scenario. I've been crafting and iterating on my recipe for a fermented hot sauce over this past year, and have learned quickly that I cannot just bottle it myself and sell it to people as hotsauce does not fall under California's cottage food law.
 
I want to do things as legit as I possibly can in 2019, which means I will be filing an LLC and getting all necessary permits and licensing so I can sell my hot sauce at farmers markets and online. Ideally, as I am just starting out, I want to mitigate my risk by keeping batch sizes small so I am looking into finding a willing restaurant or church to use their kitchen after hours.
 
So a few key questions I am looking to have answered:
 
- At this stage, if I am planning on doing business in Los Angeles, California (Gardena specifically) is it best I form my LLC in California or Delaware?
 
- Aside form registering my LLC, what other permits or licenses do I need to obtain in order to produce and bottle my own hot sauce if I am using a restaurant's or church's kitchen?
 
- If I use a restaurant's or church's kitchen, what aspects of the process MUST I do in that kitchen?
 
- If I am fermenting my hot sauce, can I prepare the ingredients at that kitchen, and then let it ferment at my house or do I have to let it ferment at that commercial kitchen?
 
- If I cook and bottle the fermented hotsauce at the commercial kitchen, can I at hold my stock at my own home or do I have to find a commercial space to hold the stock?
 
- And finally, if I want to legally sell this product online and at farmer's markets from Los Angeles, California, do I need a food scientist to review my recipe and come up with nutritional information?
 
 
I probably have a plethora of other questions, but this should be it for now lol. Thank you so much for any responses!
 
I'm in the same boat as you are, Exit Plan. LA based and all. 
 
Seems that fermenting requires a commercial kitchen, right? 
 
Curious how you ended up. 
 
DudeThtsBad said:
Curious how this turned out and if you have any tips.
 
Starting something similar down the street here in Torrance, California
Ahhh Dude,

See my attachment below. Note 3 things.
1.) Original post date.
2.) Note last time ExitPlan was online.
3.) Note you received a Notification I Quoted you. Unless you do the same with ExitPlan he wouldn't know of your inquiry (2018 was awhile ago so why would he return here if he does return at some point in the future.)....
 
Good luck with your search!
 
post-10993-0-61059900-1593396980_thumb.jpg
 
Just saw this! I'll shoot you a message!
 
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
Ahhh Dude,

See my attachment below. Note 3 things.
1.) Original post date.
2.) Note last time ExitPlan was online.
3.) Note you received a Notification I Quoted you. Unless you do the same with ExitPlan he wouldn't know of your inquiry (2018 was awhile ago so why would he return here if he does return at some point in the future.)....
 
Good luck with your search!
 
post-10993-0-61059900-1593396980_thumb.jpg
 
DudeThtsBad said:
Curious how this turned out and if you have any tips.
 
Starting something similar down the street here in Torrance, California 
 
Hey ExitPlan,
I know youve been off this site for quite a while, but if you see this, I too am having the same questions- trying to start it all here in CA and not sure what to do to become legal here in CA. I would love to talk to you more about it all!
cheers
 
I don't know about CA, but you should probably start with your local county health department (who may or may not have any jurisdiction) and the state Dept. of Agriculture.

LA also used to have some pretty good entrepreneurial resources. Call your local chamber of commerce & they might be able to point you to something.
 
I don't know about CA, but you should probably start with your local county health department (who may or may not have any jurisdiction) and the state Dept. of Agriculture.

LA also used to have some pretty good entrepreneurial resources. Call your local chamber of commerce & they might be able to point you to something.
Those are some great ideas! Esp the local chamber of commerce, Ive not considered that at all. cheers!
 
Here is what I did to set up my hot sauce business, and I'm still in the process for some of these steps as they can be quite expensive:
  1. Signed up for my LLC online with the CA state
  2. Applied for EIN through the IRS
  3. Applied for a seller's permit through CA
  4. Requested a business license through the local county
  5. Applied to the local county health department for permits
  6. Got my food handler's card and insurance
  7. Rented a commercial kitchen
  8. Actively trademarking my logo and slogan
Not everything was done in that exact order, but should give you an idea of what the process is like and it will take a while to go through them. Feel free to ask if you have any questions or need more details about any of these steps!
 
Here is what I did to set up my hot sauce business, and I'm still in the process for some of these steps as they can be quite expensive:
  1. Signed up for my LLC online with the CA state
  2. Applied for EIN through the IRS
  3. Applied for a seller's permit through CA
  4. Requested a business license through the local county
  5. Applied to the local county health department for permits
  6. Got my food handler's card and insurance
  7. Rented a commercial kitchen
  8. Actively trademarking my logo and slogan
Not everything was done in that exact order, but should give you an idea of what the process is like and it will take a while to go through them. Feel free to ask if you have any questions or need more details about any of these steps!
Where do you find the list of county health dept permits? Also, I didn’t think the Food Handlers Card was needed? What about fda requirements, or do these get covered with your commercial kitchen?
 
Where do you find the list of county health dept permits? Also, I didn’t think the Food Handlers Card was needed? What about fda requirements, or do these get covered with your commercial kitchen?
Also thank you so much for the detailed steps, this is what I am looking for to better understand the needs of all regulatory entities
 
When I applied for my business license in my county (Riverside) they listed out all the steps that were needed before I could get approved which helped me figure out what I needed and what departments to start looking into. Every step you take to become legitimate will open a new door of problems, I would suggest taking it one step at a time and have the money to support it.

One of the requirements to rent the commercial kitchen I found was to have your food handlers card and insurance. If you find a legit kitchen it should help cover a lot of the requirements. I honestly haven't tackled anything FDA related yet, but if/when I do I will let you know how that goes!
 
Last edited:
When I applied for my business license in my county (Riverside) they listed out all the steps that were needed before I could get approved which helped me figure out what I needed and what departments to start looking into. Every step you take to become legitimate will open a new doors of problems, I would suggest taking it one step at a time and have the money to support it.

One of the requirements to rent the commercial kitchen I found was to have your food handlers card and insurance. If you find a legit kitchen it should help cover a lot of the requirements, I honestly haven't tackled anything FDA related yet, but if/when I do I will let you know how that goes!
Very cool info! Thank you. Just curious, what’s the rough amount you’ve put into this so far and where do you think it will end with? Do you have many things that are an annual fee or are most of the permits a one and done kind of thing?
 
Back
Top