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BCiliberto 01-02-2009 12:47 PM

Certification Issues
Happy New year all!

Advice, experience sharing would be appreciated- I'm enjoying my home oven immensely and would like to build a mobile unit and work fundraisers and such.

Following the guidelines in Joseph's invaluable Rolling in the Dough manual--

My county health department appears to be taking the stance that the ourdoor oven must carry a ansi/ul certification for me to be an approved mobile food unit operator.

Anyone had any experience with this issue. I love the Forno units, but economics here dictate i build my own.


peterlyn 01-12-2009 04:33 PM

Re: Certification Issues
I'm hearing the same thing from my Health Department.
I'm thinking this (UL certification) needs to be the next step forward for Forno Bravo ovens.

Archena 01-12-2009 05:42 PM

Re: Certification Issues
Get a copy of the Code and look for yourselves. The environmentalist can get it for you even if it's just a photocopy of the relevant section. It'll read like a law book but it's usually worth digging into personally when trying to get something unusual passed. The guy may make an honest mistake - or just not want to do additional paperwork. Almost all codes have possible exceptions so it often pays to be familiar with the regulations yourself.

Being in PA you might get lucky - try searching for 'public health laws' and see if the Code is already online. If you can find it (I'm too lazy) I can probably help you decypher it if you need a hand. I speak rather fluent 'legaleze' and I'm not too shabby in 'bureaucratic administrative gobbledy gook'.

Basically, I'm a law geek with insurance claims experience who evidently needs a life...

BCiliberto 01-12-2009 07:03 PM

Re: Certification Issues
Saga continues, and worsens...

turns out that in our County, if I want to do business commercially the Mobile Food Unit- must in effect be a .."mobile restaurant"-- floors, walls, windows, sinks etc-- the oven must be inside the trailer or vehicle. Me inside with it. Only packaged cooked food, wrapped in a commissary kitchen, can be served from outside the unit.:(:(

I got the UL specs, haven't studied them yet because the above was pretty disheartening.

If I want to limit my selling from any one location for no more than 14 days a year, there may be some hope for a mobile trailer unit-- not sure I want to limit myself and have them on my back-- big investment of time and money.:confused:

Archena 01-12-2009 07:44 PM

Re: Certification Issues
Definitely get a copy of the code then. Find out if there any exceptions or if there's a way to obtain a variance. If it is a county ordinance or regulation, you might can go to the county commission and get an exception made. Depends on how reasonable they are.

Don't give up! Bureaucracy only wins when you quit...

... Or die of old age waiting for them to do something...


brokencookie 01-12-2009 08:38 PM

Re: Certification Issues
I have run into this problem many times with my county health dept. I am convinced that they hire idiots. I have a small jam business, specializing in handmade jams. I sell these at local bazaars directly to the public. The health dept cannot figure out how to classify my business. If I am a fruit processer, then I can only sell wholesale and not to the public. If I am a commisary, I can sell to the public but I cannot vacuum process (can) food. Since I don't fit on there forms anywhere, I effectly cannot do business and meet the requirments.
It is all a process of classification. Find a classification that allows you to do what you want and call it that. I ended up calling my business a commisary and I just don't tell them I am canning. I will be completely changing my certification this year from the dept of health to the dept of agriculture. The Dof A is much more ready to work with me on meeting requirements and allowing me to actually make and sell a product. I call the dept of health the dept of NO.

Maybe you could tell them that you are only delivering pizzas. Make the ingredients ( dough balls and sauce) in your certified kitchen and them make deliveries in you heated masonry travel container. :eek:

Archena 01-12-2009 09:04 PM

Re: Certification Issues

Originally Posted by brokencookie (Post 48951)

Maybe you could tell them that you are only delivering pizzas. Make the ingredients ( dough balls and sauce) in your certified kitchen and them make deliveries in you heated masonry travel container. :eek:

Thirty minutes or less....


BCiliberto 01-16-2009 03:53 PM

Re: Certification Issues
It's Official!

I delivered my plans from "Rolling in the Dough" -- equipment, site layout, oven, food list all in the book with pics to the Health Department tis morning---

Got a straightforward answer--

Temporary license- good for 3 events a year provided i have the gear; no way for a permanent mobile food unit. Mobile food unit must be entirely enclosed room with floor, walls, ceiling, windows, screens... and the oven inside. That's what would be required for say a weekly farmers market or flea market etc.

No go for catering either, that would require a Mobile food unit license.

I think the real issue here is not health standards, but class warfare-- the county doesn;t want street vendors. just a hunch ;-)!

I'd suggest that "Check with your local Health Department" be #1 on your planning list, prior to spending your dollars.

Thanks Broken cookie-- I'm rethinking my business plan more along the Dept of Ag lines--
anyonther tips you can share, or links, whatever would be appreciated.

Good luck all-- at least they can;t stop me giving them away, 24 guests for pregame pizza on Sunday-- Go Eagles!!!!

peterlyn 01-16-2009 04:02 PM

Re: Certification Issues
PizzaManMike does sell trailers, enclosed, with a Forno Bravo oven inside. Reasonable prices too and he's great to communicate with. Just a thought.
Also, are you too far from the stateline to consider business in a neighboring state?

Archena 01-16-2009 06:40 PM

Re: Certification Issues
That stinks. If there were the remotest chance I'd ever move that far north I'd definitely check PA off my list.

By the by, have you ever heard of Pennsic? It's a two week event - bet you could sell some serious pizza there and mobile ovens are period....

Er, wait, not so sure pizza is period... Actually, I'm pretty sure it's not. Nevermind...

Hope the Ag route works out for you.

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