It's a Living. Part I: David's Saga. Episode 5: Regulation

Businessman sinking in heap of documents and asking for help

The previous episode of our fictional story ended with David and Susan excited about the idea of starting a business selling meatball sandwiches. They'd call it Balls of Joy.

But the joy dissipated when they looked at the 105-page California Retail Food Code. Among its thousands of regulations, they found this page-worth particularly depressing:
(a) Mechanical exhaust ventilation equipment shall be provided over all cooking equipment as required to effectively remove cooking odors, smoke, steam, grease, heat, and vapors. All mechanical exhaust ventilation equipment shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the California Mechanical Code, except that for units subject to Part 2 (commencing with Section 18000) of Division 13, an alternative code adopted pursuant to Section 18028 shall govern the construction standards

114149.2 (a)
Every hood shall be installed to provide for thorough cleaning of all interior and exterior surfaces, including, but not limited to, the hood, filters, piping, lights, troughs, hangers, flanges, and exhaust ducts

(a) Nonpermanent food facilities that handle unprepackaged food shall be equipped with potable water and wastewater tanks. Water tanks shall be designed with an access port for inspection and cleaning. The access port shall be in the top of the tank and flanged upward at least one-half inch and equipped with a port cover assembly that is provided with a gasket and a device for securing the cover in place and flanged to overlap the opening and sloped to drain.

114311. Mobile food facilities not under a valid permit as of January 1, 1997, from which nonprepackaged food is sold shall provide handwashing facilities. The handwashing facilities shall be separate from the warewashing sink.

(b) The handwashing facility shall be separated from the warewashing sink by a metal splashguard with a height of at least six inches that extends from the back edge of the drainboard to the front edge of the drainboard, the corners of the barrier to be rounded.

(a) Except as specified in subdivisions (b) and (c), a mobile food facility where nonprepackaged food is cooked, blended, or otherwise prepared shall provide a warewashing sink with at least three compartments with two integral metal drainboards.
(1) The dimensions of each compartment shall be large enough to accommodate the cleaning of the largest utensil and either of the following:
(A) At least 12 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 10 inches deep.
(B) At least 10 inches wide, 14 inches long, and 10 inches deep.
(2) Each drainboard shall be at least the size of one of the sink compartments. The drainboards shall be installed with at least one-eighth inch per foot slope toward the sink compartment, and fabricated with a minimum of one-
half inch lip or rim to prevent the draining liquid from spilling onto the floor.
(3) The sink shall be equipped with a mixing faucet and shall be provided with a swivel spigot capable of servicing all sink compartments

14099 (e)
Manual sanitization shall be accomplished in the final sanitizing rinse by one of the following:
(a) Immersion for at least 30 seconds where the water temperature is maintained at 171 degrees fahrenheit or above.
(b) The application of sanitizing chemicals by immersion, manual swabbing, or brushing, using
one of the following solutions:
(1) Contact with a solution of 100 ppm available chlorine solution for at least 30 seconds.
(2) Contact with a solution of 25 ppm available iodine for at least one minute.
(3) Contact with a solution of 200 ppm quaternary ammonium for at least one minute.
(4) Contact with any chemical sanitizer that meets the requirements of
Section 180.940 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations when used in accordance with the manufacturer's use directions.
(5) Other methods approved by the enforcement agency.

(a) Except on a mobile food facility that only utilizes the water for handwashing purposes, a water heater or an instantaneous heater capable of heating water to a minimum of 120 degrees fahrenheit interconnected with a potable water supply, shall be provided and shall operate independently of the vehicle engine.

All mobile food facilities shall operate in conjunction with a commissary, mobile support unit, or other facility approved by the enforcement agency.

Susan said, "To make a profit, we'd have to charge $50 per meatball."

David added, "And it would take a year of no income to work on getting the cart to where the government would let us charge $50 per meatball. So our hourly wage for that year would be, if we were lucky, 10 cents an hour.

Susan said, "Hey, that's below minimum wage. We could sue ourselves for violation of the Wages and Hours Act."

So the food business was out. But now what?

(Note: California law has recently been revised to allow some cart businesses more flexibility.)

The next episode will be published on the next business day.
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