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Getting Started With Leaven

Hi, and congratulations on officially becoming a Leaven Kitchen member! Now what's next?  Here you will find a comprehensive layout and instructions on how to navigate the complex licensing process, the keys to proper labeling, and certified food safety management certification.  The key steps to being able to produce in our commercial kitchen includes licensing & inspection, Servsafe manager's certification, insurance, and your business license(the business license isn't needed right away but something you should obtain for your business).  Here you'll find the resources you'll need to get these processes completed and get you producing in our kitchen.  

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Requirements for producing in Leaven Kitchen

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A quick licensing overview and also a simple definition on what the Food Sales Establishment provides for your business.

An overview on proper labels and what you will need to follow within the GA Dept of Ag guidelines as well as links and resource to the FDA's Food Labeling Guide.

Food safety is an important part of any food production business.  At Leaven we require each business's person in charge to be a Certified Food Safety Manager. 

Licensing Process

Georgia Food Act (Section 26-2-25) “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a food sales establishment without having first obtained a license from the Commissioner”

“Food Sales Establishment” means retail and wholesale grocery stores; retail seafood stores and places of business; food processing plants, except those food processing plants which are currently required to obtain a license from the Commissioner under any other provision of law; bakeries; confectioneries; fruit, nut, and vegetable stores or roadside stands; wholesale sandwich and salad manufacturers, including vending machines and operations connected therewith; and places of business and similar establishments,  mobile or permanent,  engaged in the sale of food primarily for consumption off the premises.


Before continuing with this process you need to go through the Leaven onboarding process which starts with our application. Once onboarded you will go through the licensing process.

Fill out the GDA Food Safety Division Licensing Application. 

Fill out the GDA Business Plan Overview

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is required by O.C.G.A. § 50-36-1 to verify citizenship/immigration status for all public benefits issued. You will need this form signed and notarized.

Labeling Requirements - Please proceed to the next section for an in depth look at the labeling requirements.  The link below will give you a quick overview.

You're ready to submit!  Please review all for accuracy and send everything to the email address below.

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All product labels are subject to review by the Department of Agriculture.  Basic label requirement for food products include:

  1. The common name of the product.

  2. The net contents in definite units (Refer to 40-15-3-.08) a) Liquid, in liquid measure; solid in terms of weight; and mixture (solid and Liquid) in terms of weight b) Must be listed on the label in the bottom 30 % of the principal display panel c) Include metric declaration.  For example:  Net Wt. 16 oz (454 g.); or 16 Fl. Oz. (473 ml.)

  3. A list of ingredients (further broken down to list their sub-ingredients), the common name of each ingredient and in order of predominance by weight.

  4. The name and address including the zip code of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.

  5. Nutrition labeling unless exempt.

  6. Allergen declaration. 

Labeling is an important part of of retail and manufactured food products.  The Georgia Department of Agriculture has a specific set of formatting requirements and they represent the minimum standards for labeling requirements on food products within the State of Georgia.  Alternatively the FDA has strict requirements for products sold across state lines. The links below will provide you with the guidelines and requirements for your food product labels.

Georgia Department Of Agriculture Food Label Guidance:

Link To Document

FDA's Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide

Link To Document

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Certified Food Safety Manager Certification

Leaven requires that each member business have at least one employee that has supervisory & management responsibility become a certified food protection manager (CFPM) by passing a test through an accredited program.  We can refer you to a certified instructor and proctor, please email us for information.

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Stuck at a certain point?  Overwhelmed?  Did the Department of Ag reply letting you know you need a HACCP plan and you just don't quite know where to start?  Are you lost and just flat out need some help?  No worries, help is ready and available for you and your business.  Our consultant Lauren Carey can walk you through the entire process using her years of food business expertise and wisdom.  Lauren will be able to assure that your business is legal and compliant as it pertains to city, county, and state guidelines, whether that's with us or another facility. She does charge hourly for her services with most companies spending about 1 to 1 1/2 hours with her depending on their needs.  This can be charged to your Leaven bill and split over the course of a 3 month period as well.


Food Business Consulting - Lauren Carey

Consultant and CEO Of Sorghum & Rye Operations

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