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Hobby Sauce / Powders sold as if Commercial

I just listened to a rant on Youtube.  I am sure it is old news, but just using that instance as an example.  From what the rant said, there was a hobby sauce being sold as a commercial sauce.  The makers home was inspected for an unrelated issue; accusations of child abuse.  Per the rant, authorities found dead animals, poop, and disgusting living conditions.  The rant assumed that is where the sauce was being made and bottled.  No commercial kitchen.
 
Rant caused me to wonder: Is there any labeling requirement to list under what authority a food product was prepared?  Maybe a permit number?
 
Every state has different laws.  Not sure about other states, but in mine even if all you do is dry pods they are considered processed foods.  So all dried pods and powders require a commercial kitchen or other approved processing facility. 

Wife has an education in food services.  I was watching a video made by someone who sells dried pods and powders.  He was showing how his solar dehydrator works.  Wife said the thing was illegal for commercial use for a bunch of reasons.  It was made out of wood, the temperature could not be properly controlled, the thing was outside, and so on.  So have to wonder about dried pods, powders, salts and the likes too.

She is good for that.  Grossing me out.  Was once at a Renaissance Festival and bought a pretzel from a merchant who walked around with them on a stick.  She said it was illegal to sell food that was not covered.  I asked why.  She said birds could poop on the pretzels.  Then she told me about the cheese sauce the guy produced from his pocket.  If only she had mentioned these things before I spent five bucks.

Anyway, having no clue about labeling requirements: What should we look for to be safe?  Well, other than bird poop and pocket cheese?
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
Unfortunately there's an amount of trust involved. We assume if it has a professional label and we order it on the net all is good. Funny thing is, there are totally legit peeps with homemade looking labels so people shy away, and totally illegal peeps very versed in bottling and graphics so there is a perceived assurance that all is legit. There ARE illegal sauce vendors with slick websites and bottles. It's simply a fact, and you don't really know what you are getting, but your due diligence could involve asking them questions about their certifications before you buy.
 
People that made it in the biz will even admit they were making foodstuffs illegally at home first... like famous cookie makers etc. I've seen many interviews of people saying they were slinging sauce or cookies out of their home kitchen and selling to businesses, and then they "made it".
 
 

Edmick

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
In California all anyone needs to do besides the usual permits required by most states is "lease" space at a commercial kitchen (The kind of place that caterers use). You basically just pay a monthly fee to use it and all your health department stuff falls under their address. But theres still no guarantee that it's actually being made there. I knew a guy that made his own hot sauce and bbq sauce and paid his lease to this commercial kitchen every month and was still making all his stuff from home. Why drive all the way there to make a few gallons of sauce when you could make it at home? He SHOULD have been using the commercial kitchen to make it but there wasn't necessarily anyone checking up on it.
 
The review really has me thinking.  On one hand, I want kids to continue to operate lemonade stands and churches to keep doing bake sales and cake walks.  On the other hand, the review described conditions that were just plain nasty.
 

Edmick

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
AJ Drew said:
The review really has me thinking.  On one hand, I want kids to continue to operate lemonade stands and churches to keep doing bake sales and cake walks.  On the other hand, the review described conditions that were just plain nasty.
True. You never know. Back when I was doing chili cook-offs, the 10 gallons I made for the attendees was made at home and the one gallon I made for separate judging had to be made on site. Lord knows 10 gallons of chili wouldn't fit on my stove so I made it on a giant burner in the garage. I obviously made every attempt to make sure everything was clean and sanitary but health code restrictions said you couldn't serve any more than 1 ounce to the patrons. I even had a secret shopper from the health department come by my booth to measure what I was serving. I never did any big competitions and all of us really just did it for fun but it didn't stop the health department from sticking their nose in it.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
There was a restaurant that used to dry fish hanging on the fire escape (of their residential apt.) next to my friend's apt. in NYC. Literally fish hanging on the dirty strips of metal. His place always smelled like rotten fish. Also I can tell you come really scary stories after living in Chinatown. With restaurants, the less you know the better lol.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
I just googled this pic lol!!!!!
 
chinatown_drying_fish.jpg

 
 
Dang AJD I had to reread your post because after the first time through it all I could remember was "pocket cheese". :shocked: :sick:
 
Very good points by your wife by the way, reminded me of the time I bought a couple of smoked turkey legs at a fair. I ate the first one but walked around the fairgrounds with the other one not thinking twice about anything until a couple kids ran past me and kicked up a big cloud of dust that covered my leg. Wifey couldn't understand why I threw that second leg away even after I pointed out how totally filthy the entire area was. When the fair isn't in town, it's just a big dusty lot where people and their pets roam around dropping god-knows-what all over the place.
 
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