Legal Aspects of the Hospitality Industry


LegalAspects of the Hospitality Industry

LegalAspects of the Hospitality Industry

Thehospitality industry has been one of the most fundamental in thecontemporary human society. This is particularly in the age ofglobalization where a large number of business entities andindividuals have been forced to expand into other territories,thereby necessitating services such as lodging, transportation,cruise line services and even event planning among other services.More often than not, the hospitality industry is seen as extremelyvoid without the lodging and eatery component. In the contemporaryhuman society, it has become common for individuals to starthome-based food businesses (Lucas,2004).Of course, this is a pretty viable idea particularly given theimmense opportunity for extra income derived from offering foods.More often than not, it is thought that the business would be cheapersince the individual would simply need to start cooking and inviteconsumers for dishes (Lucas,2004).However, the starting of a home-based food business is governed bysome requirements that make it pretty much restricted.

First,the home-based food business would be restricted with regard to thetypes of food products that it would be offering. Indeed, it isimperative that the individual verifies that the product can belegally made at home (Gordon-Davis,1998).More often than not, the law only allows low-risk-packaged foods tobe made at home, which could include pickles and acidified foods,dried mixes, spices, candies, baked goods, dried mixes, jams andjellies, as well as some sauces and liquids. It is noteworthy thatproducts such as shelf stable salsas, salsas, acidified foods,pickles and dressings require laboratory testing, which would notonly be time consuming but also costly in the long-term(Gordon-Davis,1998).It is noteworthy that all the high-risk products have to be producedin non-home based commercial facilities and could include sea-foodproducts, bottled water, low-acid canned foods, frozen orrefrigerated products and daily products among others. this could behighly expensive for the individual, in which case home-based foodbusiness would be pretty much restrictive.

Onthe same note, one must acknowledge that there are laws prohibitingthe production or preparation of food products in one’s homekitchen. Of course, there are variations in food preparation lawsfrom state to state. However, it is generally illegal for anyindividual to prepare food and beverage that is intended for sale tothe public in his or her home kitchen. This leaves an individual witha number of options in determining where he or she wants to carry outfood production operations for the home-based food business. First,the individual could rent a commercial facility, convert the kitchento a health department approved kitchen. Commercial facilities arecertified and approved by the state health department in thepreparation and manufacture of food products that are to be sold tothe consumers. It is noteworthy that they are still subject to thelaws of public health and have to be periodically inspected by thepublic health officials. Such facilities come in handy in instanceswhere the businesses aim at personally manufacturing and preparingtheir food products. Co-packers, or contract packers, undertake theproduction and packaging of food products for other businesses. Theyhave raw ingredients and packaging materials on site, in which caseit is easy for them to follow the instructions, as well as therecipes that the business entity gives them (Atherton&ampAtherton, 1998).Such entities allow the business to take care of its administrativeresponsibilities at home without worrying about the stringentprovisions regulating the manufacture of food (Poustie,2002).The conversion of a home space into a kitchen that is approved by thehealth department, it may be noted that state laws usually neverallow commercial food preparation to be undertaken in home kitchen,although a separate home space can be approved for commercialpurposes (Laws,2004).Strict regulations are enforced with regard to the construction of ahealth department approved kitchen including the requirement that thekitchen be sealed off from the home’s living portions, theinstallation of additional sewage precautions, as well as the detailspertaining to specific features of the kitchen including3-compartment sinks and separate hand sinks. This could be prettymuch limiting for the home-based food business, in which case itwould be preferable to simply start a hotel in another location.

Onthe same note, home-based food business would restrict an individualwith regard to the kind of animals that are kept. Indeed, if onekeeps a pet at his or her home at any given time even when it is onlyat night, he or she would not be allowed to manufacture or preparefood or even sell it. Doing so would be a violation of GoodManufacturing Practices. Particular note is the fact that the bone ofcontention is not really the safety of the pet that an individualkeeps but rather the safety or quality of food that would be producedin such a facility (Laws,2004).It is well understood that animals are carriers of numerous ailments,pathogens and germs in which case they have a high likelihood ofcontaminating the food that is being produced or manufactured withinthe facility. It is also required that the water that is used in suchfacility be inspected so as to ensure that it is proper and safe forhuman consumption. In instances where the home has city or municipalwater, a copy of the most recent bill would be required. In caseswhere the only source of water is a well, it will be imperative thatthe well is tested for coliform bacteria prior to the inspections(Barth&ampHayes, 2009).The test results, undertaken within a year f the application, have tobe attached to the completed application. Of course, there is watertesting services from the local health departments and privatecompanies.

Further,it would be required that any food that is produced in the home andsold to consumers be packaged so as to protect it from contamination.Labels have to be affixed on the package with information such as thename of the product, name and address of the manufacturer, completelist of ingredients in the order of weight predominance, as well asnet weight of the product in pounds/ounces, as well as the gramweight equivalent. Labels have to declare every other component ofingredients used (Hayes &ampNinemeier, 2009).Nevertheless, foods that are custom made or “made on demand” andsold as single units such as wedding cakes, cookies in bulk packagefor service in restaurant may be exempted from the individual labels.Further, in instances where the products is served on demand from adisplay case or secure bulk container upon request from the cline,the business may be exempted from labeling requirements (Laws,2004).The inclusion of comparative nutrition claims such as sugar free andlow fat necessitate that the individual includes nutritional factspanel information on the product.

Inconclusion, starting a home-based food business may seem like aproper business idea particularly given the supposed low cost andlimited requirements or surveillance from the law enforcementagencies. However, even such business entities are required to adhereto certain rules for them to be considered legal entities. Theregulations and requirements could be pretty costly and timeconsuming, especially in instances where an individual has to makesome adjustment to the physical nature of the home so as to ensureadherence to the laws and regulations that govern such entities.Indeed, not only would such entities be required to have certainfacilities in the kitchen but there are also limits with regard tothe animals that can be kept as pets within the home. This is allaimed at ensuring that the food that is produced within the facilityis safe for human consumption in both the long-term and theshort-term. In addition, there are specific requirements regardingthe water that can be used or even whether the kitchen at home can beused for commercial purposes. Further, there exists fundamentalrequirements on the manner in which the foods are to be prepared andpackaged to the customer. This means that there may be no muchfinancial difference between starting a hotel in a separate buildingand starting a home-based food business as far as the costs areconcerned.


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