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I am wondering if anyone has looked into the legal ramifications of opperating a system at a resturans who used both produce and fish on site. Im sure local laws would come into play as well but any information will be helpful.

Thanks

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I personally see no reason why a small system would have any problem in a restaurant.  Many Restaurants have display aquarium so having fish on site is probably not a problem in most places.  Many Restaurants have live seafood on site (think lobsters in the tank.)

Many Restaurants have live plants on site (ferns hanging in baskets etc.)

 

I see no reason why it should be illegal to have food plants growing on site for use in the meals at the restaurant.

 

The main legal issues have to do with the health department, safe food handling, and all that goes with running a good restaurant.

Thats a good point about the lobster tanks. Lobsters are bought alive but then must be killed on premis to be cooked and served.

My main concern is more or less of the certifications, permits, ect that i need, to legaly serve living food grown, like live talapia in my ap system?

I know ive seen resturants grow there own produce on site so that cant be much of an issue. Has anyone sold fish to a resturant grown in there ap system?

Has anyone had a government official inspect there system/ business as far as clenlieness issues or any other basic health code is concerned?

Last question, and more for a business insight than anything, would you apprecieate a resturant who had a visiable ap system in a near by greenhouse and freely allowed walk throughs and education on ap gardening?

 

As far as certification and permits, that will vary by state.  In FL you would probably want to have an aquaculture permit to deal with selling fish and of course the commercial kitchen and food handling stuff for the Restaurant.  I don't know any of the specifics of those.

 

Last question.  I think it would be great to have an AP system as part of the Restaurant!!!!!!  You can't get fresher than that

To your last question, think Walt Disney World!

 

The "Garden Grill" serves food from the "Living with the Land" ride -- which is mostly hydroponics but some aquaponics. One of my favorite rides and they even have a walking tour thru the gardens...

 

So I think it would be great, too!!!

Ya i have never been to the epcot hydroponic area but i have seen videos of it. It has actually inspired a lot of my garden design and ideas for the garden layout at the resturant.

Ive got many other questions as far as opperations would go. I guess the best thing to do would be to come up with a HAACP program and then get a lawyer to fugure out every legal aspect and potential issue i could face and need to overcome. Im guessing there is also a certin quantity that requires certin government intervention, ie the fda and the like. If it stays relatively small scale maybe no inspection is required?

 

Hi John,

I can't contribute anything more than others have already stated, but wanted to comment on your question >

"would you apprecieate a resturant who had a visiable ap system in a near by greenhouse and freely allowed walk throughs and education on ap gardening"

While I believe it is important to share with people what we do and how we do it, it would only take one runny nosed kid sneezing all over your lettuce to send chills down the backs of those in your facility tour group.  Then you end up with people saying how unsanitary your establishment is.

I don't want to be fearful of people bringing contaminants into my production area, (once I finally get one up and running), but I must consider carefully HOW to do it in a manner that reduces risk.

Perhaps I sound paranoid, but it could only take one error in judgement to taint the reputation of this wonderful way of life and food production for aquapons everywhere - and for your restaurant.

Show off your system, by all means, but implement precautions to reduce the risk of contamination by the general public!! 

Epcot has the Land exhibit that has tours as does green sky growers and the food from those facilities gets used in restaurants and sold at markets.  I believe most foods are supposed to be washed before being served to the public.

 

The biggest danger would be if you had stuff growing right on the salad bar with no means to wash them before the patrons ate them, then it might be an issue.

I think i have found the sources of permits for growing both plant and fish for production in the restaurant. The state department of aggriculture and also the state conservation agency both need to be notified in my state. It differs from state to state as to the level of certification needed. As far as people walking through and educating people, im not to worried. I want to offer educational field trips to local schools and scheduled tours. I am also going to have a seat table in the greenhouse for private dinners. Im not relying on the ap system for all of my food needs, i dont have the space. Its going to be for novelty and education as well as astetics. I will make sure to wash all of the kiddy snot off of my lettuce.

USDA is the governing agency for produce and food.  Since the produce is deemed commercial production (since it is grown in an aquaponics system located in a restaurant to produce edible vegetables for the restaurant, a commercial venture - it must be USDA Licensed and inspected.  Even commercial Aquaponics ventures are subject to USDA oversight.  The fact that the USDA hasn't actively persued this in the past doesn't mean they won't.  And "they" could use "your facility" as the shining example - do you want this to be a positive experience, or a negative one.....

..

Talk with a local Extension agent who can steer you to the USDA region that has jurisdiction in your area.  They shouldn't be overly aggressive in a negative fashion, and can be extremely helpful in helping you get on the friendly side of compliance.  Really all they are concerned with are Public Food Safety - so they will do a walk through and note any problem areas - which all you have to do is fix.... If you get them involved early, there will be no problem areas.

....

When the restaurant is inspected by the health department (all restaurants are inspected by the health department), the inspector may r may not be impressed with your Aquaponics venture.  If he isn't he can make your life a living hell.  But even if he isn't impressed, that little thing called "USDA Approved" will go a long way towards getting a favorable inspection.  Health inspectors look for these certifications in a restaurant food source - I know, we supply restaurants and grocery stores.

...

Don't be the lead on the local news when somebody claims they got samanilla poisoning from your Restaurant, and even worse have the plantif's attorney point to your "filthy Home grown aquaponics system" as the cause.  Trust me it will happen, people love to go to restaurants when they have flue symptoms and then the next day when they are throwing up and go to the doctor what does the doctor ask :  "What have you eaten in the last 24-48 hours?""  "Well, I ate at that really popular restaurant that grows their produce in fish water tanks.... Oh God!!! I must have been poisoned!!!!"

...

The commercial side of food supply is a slippery undertaking.  I have already been there and done that....

...

Micro organisms are every where, some are good, and some are bad - but some are even worse.  As any seasoned aquaponics owner/operator will tell you, the secret is balance.  Properly balanced and maintained, and those pesky bad organism's don't have a chance.  Having a USDA inspector back you up with a statement "I was really impressed with their operation, they were knowledgeable and maintained their system well.  They have a really healthy food production Facility..." will go a long way to pointing the finger somewhere else.

...

When we were growing potatoes in 55-gallon sized drums (we made the drums, didn't trust surplus drums that we looked at) we grew really big and almost perfect baking potatoes for restaurants.  An attorney contacted us (actually he sent us a summons to appear in court) about his client eating one of our contaminated potatoes.  When we got in court he had a so called technical witness that testified that one or more of our 55-gallon surplus drums were the most likely source of the chemical contamination that the victim's doctor had identified as the reason for the food poisoning.  The chemical was a commercial cleaner, one used to clean deep fryers (among other uses).  He postulated that we had probably bought one or more surplus 55-gallon drums which had contained these chemicals in the past and was therefore contaminated.

...

When we produced the bill for having the drums made (not bought surplus) the whole case went south.. The judge threw it out.  Mainly based upon our evidence that we had fabricated the drums from virgin steel (the judges words, never figured out how you would take the virginity from virgin steel, nor do I care to know how - nor did I ever contemplate that there was such a thing as virgin steel....).  The to stop all the objections the judge closed with "Don't you think the USDA would have noticed this was unsanitary, they are USDA Inspected and certified... End of discussion..."

...

USDA Certification kept the legal fees at $3,500.00 - I suppose had we not covered our bases it could have climbed above $200,000 easily.  Besides $3,500 just happened to be one half the weekly profits in the operation.

...

Another company now owns this operation, the attention from the court fiasco got their attention, so they offered us a ton of money and we took it...  But we kept the lessons and knowledge gained....

...

Get the USDA and local extension agent involved.... You shouldn't regret it...

...

Dave

Phoenix, AZ

 

Hay Dave, Can you point us to a link or something where we can learn about such "USDA Licensing?"  When I did a search the only license I found was for the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act


Dave R. Mason said:

USDA is the governing agency for produce and food.  Since the produce is deemed commercial production (since it is grown in an aquaponics system located in a restaurant to produce edible vegetables for the restaurant, a commercial venture - it must be USDA Licensed and inspected.  Even commercial Aquaponics ventures are subject to USDA oversight.  The fact that the USDA hasn't actively persued this in the past doesn't mean they won't.  And "they" could use "your facility" as the shining example - do you want this to be a positive experience, or a negative one.....

..

Dave

Phoenix, AZ

 

Dave thank you for your personal experiance and knowledge. If in the furute i need your help, would it be a bother to ask? I have found some state contacts on the ap legalitys but have not yet contacted the USDA. Did you need to take any certification classes or anything of the sorts? Or are you only subject to inspection then up and running? All things im sure are different state to state, but your knowledge would be helpful.

 

Thank you for sharing this. Really insightful and excellent advice.

 

God bless, 

Dave R. Mason said:

USDA is the governing agency for produce and food.  Since the produce is deemed commercial production (since it is grown in an aquaponics system located in a restaurant to produce edible vegetables for the restaurant, a commercial venture - it must be USDA Licensed and inspected.  Even commercial Aquaponics ventures are subject to USDA oversight.  The fact that the USDA hasn't actively persued this in the past doesn't mean they won't.  And "they" could use "your facility" as the shining example - do you want this to be a positive experience, or a negative one.....

..

Talk with a local Extension agent who can steer you to the USDA region that has jurisdiction in your area.  They shouldn't be overly aggressive in a negative fashion, and can be extremely helpful in helping you get on the friendly side of compliance.  Really all they are concerned with are Public Food Safety - so they will do a walk through and note any problem areas - which all you have to do is fix.... If you get them involved early, there will be no problem areas.

....

When the restaurant is inspected by the health department (all restaurants are inspected by the health department), the inspector may r may not be impressed with your Aquaponics venture.  If he isn't he can make your life a living hell.  But even if he isn't impressed, that little thing called "USDA Approved" will go a long way towards getting a favorable inspection.  Health inspectors look for these certifications in a restaurant food source - I know, we supply restaurants and grocery stores.

...

Don't be the lead on the local news when somebody claims they got samanilla poisoning from your Restaurant, and even worse have the plantif's attorney point to your "filthy Home grown aquaponics system" as the cause.  Trust me it will happen, people love to go to restaurants when they have flue symptoms and then the next day when they are throwing up and go to the doctor what does the doctor ask :  "What have you eaten in the last 24-48 hours?""  "Well, I ate at that really popular restaurant that grows their produce in fish water tanks.... Oh God!!! I must have been poisoned!!!!"

...

The commercial side of food supply is a slippery undertaking.  I have already been there and done that....

...

Micro organisms are every where, some are good, and some are bad - but some are even worse.  As any seasoned aquaponics owner/operator will tell you, the secret is balance.  Properly balanced and maintained, and those pesky bad organism's don't have a chance.  Having a USDA inspector back you up with a statement "I was really impressed with their operation, they were knowledgeable and maintained their system well.  They have a really healthy food production Facility..." will go a long way to pointing the finger somewhere else.

...

When we were growing potatoes in 55-gallon sized drums (we made the drums, didn't trust surplus drums that we looked at) we grew really big and almost perfect baking potatoes for restaurants.  An attorney contacted us (actually he sent us a summons to appear in court) about his client eating one of our contaminated potatoes.  When we got in court he had a so called technical witness that testified that one or more of our 55-gallon surplus drums were the most likely source of the chemical contamination that the victim's doctor had identified as the reason for the food poisoning.  The chemical was a commercial cleaner, one used to clean deep fryers (among other uses).  He postulated that we had probably bought one or more surplus 55-gallon drums which had contained these chemicals in the past and was therefore contaminated.

...

When we produced the bill for having the drums made (not bought surplus) the whole case went south.. The judge threw it out.  Mainly based upon our evidence that we had fabricated the drums from virgin steel (the judges words, never figured out how you would take the virginity from virgin steel, nor do I care to know how - nor did I ever contemplate that there was such a thing as virgin steel....).  The to stop all the objections the judge closed with "Don't you think the USDA would have noticed this was unsanitary, they are USDA Inspected and certified... End of discussion..."

...

USDA Certification kept the legal fees at $3,500.00 - I suppose had we not covered our bases it could have climbed above $200,000 easily.  Besides $3,500 just happened to be one half the weekly profits in the operation.

...

Another company now owns this operation, the attention from the court fiasco got their attention, so they offered us a ton of money and we took it...  But we kept the lessons and knowledge gained....

...

Get the USDA and local extension agent involved.... You shouldn't regret it...

...

Dave

Phoenix, AZ

 

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