There's a Fee for EV-Er-Y-THING.

“I’ll make small batches of natural ketchup and sell it on my online store!”. Simple, right? It is until you learn that the State or Rhode Island (my home state) doesn’t allow people to use their own kitchens for commercial enterprises. Huh? Right. In my increasingly deflating call with the RI Dept. of Health, I learned that a “specialized food” …ketchup?! Really? “specialized food”?! It’s a CONDIMENT! Anyway, apparently it’s a very special snowflake kind of condiment because whether I liked it or not, it was a “specialized food” and could only be made for commercial consumption if it was produced in a state-certified “commercial kitchen”. Sounded expensive. And it is. Way more expensive than I could afford (and I couldn’t afford much). Fortunately, I found out there are a few “incubator” kitchens around that are perfect for people like me who want to start a small food business but don’t have Venture Capitalists as family members. 

The eventual good news is that I eventually found a great non-profit that rented out their state-certified commercial kitchens to small business start-ups so I could finally check this off my list but not without another financial “hit” that I just never expected. But it could have been worse. How? Not sure. Just trying to be “positive”!

So, while I’ve been struggling with how easy it is to set up an online store on Shopify (it’s not. See my previous blog post if you missed my tirade on this) I’ve managed to get together everything I think I need to get a license to make (never mind sell!)…ketchup:

-Access to State-certified commercial kitchen ($150 a month ugh!)

-Process Authority Letter from Cornell University Dept. of Food Science (7 week process and another $150)

-Formed and registered as an LLC with the Secretary of State’s Office (how much? another $150…does every piece of paper have to cost $150)?)

-Developed detailed Operational Plan (I wrote it myself so … free)

-Developed Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan (I never thought I would say this but, “I wrote a HACCP plan” so…free)

-Developed Recall Plan (Yes, it’s as exciting as it sounds and I wrote it myself, so…free)

So, just to be sure I’m “good to go” and can apply for a license to…why was I doing this again? Oh, yea…apply for a license to start making my ketchup, I call the Dept. of Health to confirm everything and I’m “all set” just fill out the application “… and send it along with your certification from a Better Process Control School”. Huh? “yes, you need to attend a Better Process Control School. UC Davis has one and so does the University of Tennessee”. Sooo,, now I need to go to school to learn something called “Better Process”? Sounds stupid …and expensive. How much I don’t know but I think it’ll be more than $150 this time. Check in again and we’ll ketchup.