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ChristopherMichael

Dealing with health department regulations for tempering machines

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Ok. This just blows my mind. The health department wants me to put my tempering machine under a hood. Has anyone ever here of this? I tried to explain to them what the machine does and they keep referring it to a fudge machine or a caramel pot/burner like you see at a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (they don't even have a hood mind you). We're not talking a small town or anything, were talking southern California. Any ideas out there, because I'm probably going to loose it if I have to keep trying to explain to them what it is. They're also questioning the machines I'm using, A Selmi Plus and a few Mold'art melters. None of them are NSF and they're clueless about any of them. If anyone has ever dealt with this, please share your experience. Thanks in advance.

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Geez - the grease trap, now this! Just remember that old vinegar and honey addage - you really do need these guys to be your friends, not adversaries.

Do you have any contacts at other chocolate shops in their jurisdication that you can point them to without getting your contacts in trouble? The other thought is, if you haven't already, inundate them with papers. For my inspection, I provided every tech sheet, spec sheet, users guide, you name it, I gave it to them for every piece of equipment I had. Mine is more general kitchen appliances, but it worked in my case. They let me off easy on everything.

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Geez - the grease trap, now this!  Just remember that old vinegar and honey addage - you really do need these guys to be your friends, not adversaries. 

Do you have any contacts at other chocolate shops in their jurisdication that you can point them to without getting your contacts in trouble?  The other thought is, if you haven't already, inundate them with papers.  For my inspection, I provided every tech sheet, spec sheet, users guide, you name it, I gave it to them for every piece of equipment I had.  Mine is more general kitchen appliances, but it worked in my case.  They let me off easy on everything.

I'm starting to understand why there's no good chocolate shops in southern Ca, because it's a big task to get these guys to understand. I'm being really nice to everyone and not talking down to them or anything, I just don't know what more to say to them. I do have a bunch of paperwork for the Selmi, but I can't find anything on the Mold'art melters.

As for other chocolates shops, there are two, but I don't think they like me much, because I have been taking some of their customers. Their chocolate shops are more of mainstream type chocolates and really are not like anything you would find in a boutique type shop like mine and many others on these forums. So to say the least, they really wouldn't want to answer my questions. One shop does have a Selmi, which is not under a hood, and the other has a Hilliard, not under a hood as well. Actually the women that I spoke with at the health department did the plan check and inspection for the people that have the Selmi. I pointed out that their machine was not under a hood and she told me that they do have a hood. I told her it's not under the hood and she replied to me that they must of brought it in after she inspected them. Which is not true, because they have had the machine since they opened. Anyway, I don't want to bore you guys with every detail.


Edited by ChristopherMichael (log)

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Okay - so maybe a loophole can be found. If I'm correct, they are trying to enforce state or federal building codes (via fire codes). In most cases the codes are not local - although sometimes they are in more historic districts. Have you looked up the code for when hoods are required?

Do you have friends around the state that have similar set-ups?

In another topic I was asking about residential hoods because my inspector said that was all I needed since I am not using grease (an $800 project v. $8000). Its possible that you'll find a statement in the code about certain temperatures or open flame or use of potentially flammable ingredients as the requirement for a hood.

If nothing else, next time they're in, knock 'em on the head with a block of Valrhona, push them into the enrober and throw them out into the alley...joking of course.

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Okay - so maybe a loophole can be found.  If I'm correct, they are trying to enforce state or federal building codes (via fire codes).  In most cases the codes are not local - although sometimes they are in more historic districts...

Wow. Really? Oh maybe so. The codes might be state wide but the interpretation thereof is so local it's individual to each inspector. Hasn't that been your experience? That's so been mine!

I mean requiring a chocolate tempering machine to be placed under a fire suppression system--just simply defies gravity and every other law of mankind.

But I saw the chocolate room at The Peabody once and it is the coolest room with this chunky marble top counter and neither a hood nor a grease trap in sight. and I mean cool--they keep the temp low in there, yah think? Although come on chocolate is a fat. What are they thinking?

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But all that to say these regulations do get tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter. I can see them saying anything that gets heated. :rolleyes: They draw some peculiar lines.

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I was not required to put in a hood or grease trap in my store and I also use a Selmi. However....after building out the same health inspector said I "might" have to put in a grease trap and the sink placement (which he approved) might need some changes. I don't think there is very good knowledge about our industry and you are at the whim of the individual. In getting my Food licensing the instructor said that you will find that there are no problems and then a new inspector comes and everything changes. It is scary for a small business to have this type of uncertainty as it could sink (literally) a business when a large capital expenditure is required after planning and build out. It is much more expensive to make changes after the fact.

I think a lot of what happens really is based on the relationship and if they like you or not. While you obviously cannot (and should not) bribe govt. officials, I'd be sure to be on your best behavior and not defensive. Do Starbucks have to have hoods?

But all that to say these regulations do get tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter. I can see them saying anything that gets heated.  :rolleyes: They draw some peculiar lines.

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