legal question , any lawyers on the forum ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cal1956, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    we have been making smoked sausage and giving it to friends and neighbors ( never with the intent of selling it ) now we have friends that want to buy it

    we don't really want to do that because we aren't licensed to sell it but with that said,  is it legal for them to cover the cost of making it  with 0 profit for us  ?
  2. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It should not be a problem, even with a profit. These are friends and you are just doing them a favor. The problem will start when you open a store to sell to the public. Then you will have licensing, inspections, health dept. etc, etc. Good luck
  3. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    Hi cal, I contacted my insurance company asking about insurance if I were to do cooks for people. They said as long as I just cover my expenses, no profit, that my home owners insurance would cover me. I live in Michigan and could be different in other states or insurance companies. If its open to the public for profit then you need insurance.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  4. gpb11

    gpb11 Meat Mopper

    I'm not a lawyer but am jumping in anyway...

    First is that the laws are likely state specific, but have a look at what your state says about "cottage food sales" to see if they have a list of approved stuff.  Probably won't apply though as that tends to be aimed at stuff like jams, spice mixes, cookies, breads, etc.

    If I were in your shoes I'd try to avoid any money changing hands.  Have the friends buy and drop off most of the ingredients you'll need.  If they bring some extra for you to use for yourself as their way of saying thank you for donating your time, even better.

    Sadly in this day and age I also have to suggest you make sure your insurance is in good shape.  Today's friend can be tomorrow's plaintiff.  

    Edit: Ha, I see Maple Sticks' insurance post after writing mine.  Truly sad that we have to consider that angle today.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  5. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another thing you can do is to have them buy the supplies and the HELP in some way to make it.  Then it's friends working together and splitting the final product.

    I do this with deer each year.  I only want one deer for my freezer and 1 deer for sausage each year, but I have 3 tags.  My neighbor wants some freezer meat and sausage but he doesn't hunt.  I fill my third tag, he assists with the processing of the meat and making the sausage.

    This went on for 2 seasons and he now has more sausage making gear than I do!  At first he wasn't real keen on messing with the raw stuff, now I just sit back with a cold one and watch he and his daughter go after it.

    Same end result, and you may get someone else started in this great hobby of ours.

    Now I just need to teach him how to make his OWN BEER!  
    boboso likes this.
  6. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    thanks to all for the suggestions , 

    what was said about friends becoming plaintiffs is what worries us , not that we would expect that to happen, just want to make sure our rear end is covered .  we wish we could afford to just make as much as they want and give it away , but the demand is starting to get cost prohibitive , but we were hoping that as long as all we were doing is covering cost we might be ok , thus the reason for the question
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  7. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I like the idea of having them supply all the meat and other materials. If there is no exchange of money then it would be a hard argument for someone to say you sold them something. 
  8. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    yea I kinda liked that idea too, hell if they buy the meat we will  do the rest for free
  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is exactly what I do. I have a friend that likes our jerky. He brings me the meat I make the jerky, we split the product. I supply the spices and cure, smoking equipment and wood/pellets etc.
  10. gpb11

    gpb11 Meat Mopper

    I like the idea of getting them to have a hand in it too.  They're friends, so presumably you and they like to spend time together.  In the unlikely event that something should happen there'd also be less of a case for an ambulance chaser to go after.  
  11. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    the only problem with that is that I tend to keep the ingredient's a secret . 
  12. gpb11

    gpb11 Meat Mopper

    Can you mix up your "special sauce" dry ingredients and wet ingredients ahead of time, and then when doing the making the instructions list how much of each to add and when?
  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's why I supply the spices, well not exactly why. I find it's easier for my to supply the spices because I know what I need and I always have large quantities on hand. If you have them supply the spices most times they get the wrong stuff or the wrong amounts.
  14. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    you know this might be a workable solution , I don't think it would be possible for anyone to tell  what is in a bag of well mixed spice ,

    about the only thing they could smell would be the sage and everyone knows that's part of any good sausage

    good ideas ...keep em coming
  15. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ask them to sign a waiver of liability. Don't know it will hold in court but would discourage most people from lawyer-ing.
  16. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't think profit is a test for liability. Costco like stores give away food samples to shoppers. I imagine they have the same responsibility as they do when they sell products.
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If something should happen to someone who ate the meat... even if they left it in the sun for 3 days, a friend or a cousin could sue you for loss of whatever... Tony Stewart is being sued for wrongful death... The grand jury found him 100% not at fault.... the kid was high on grass.... in a black race suit.... walking on the race track... at night... It just doesn't matter how right you are or how stupid other folks are... Give them $15 and tell them to buy their own Jack Link's or whatever... best $15 you ever spent...

    I ain't an attorney, but I should be for all the money I've spent... I did stay at an RV park one night....

    Right or wrong does not enter into litigation... the best attorney wins.....
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  18. candurin

    candurin Smoke Blower

    All my friends trade me booze/beer for food. Been that way for 20 years...
  19. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    i don't think we want to do that , I think we have gotten some good suggestions and I think we will go with one of those  ....but thanks anyway
  20. cal1956

    cal1956 Smoking Fanatic

    we have been talking to all of our friends that had asked to buy it and what we are going to do is this :  they are going to furnish  the meat

    and if they feel froggy they are more than welcome to jump in and help anytime in the process . ...I have a feeling we are going to be making a lot of sausage

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