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Berger Cookies bakery closer to reopening

The makers of Baltimore’s famous Berger Cookies were closer Monday to reopening their Cherry Hill bakery, a spokesman said.

The Baltimore City Health Department closed the bakery Jan. 31 for operating without a city-issued food service license. The Health Department has no concerns about food safety after inspecting the facility earlier this month, said spokeswoman Tiffany Thomas Smith.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has an ongoing, “routine” investigation into the bakery after a scheduled inspection in January, said George A. Strait, an agency spokesman, on Monday. Strait said the manufacturer of Berger Cookies has a federal food license because it distributes cookies in other states, though he would not confirm how long it had the license.

Strait could not say how long the FDA investigation will take or what the outcome would be.

Anthony T. Bartlett, a spokesman for the bakery’s owner, said the bakery had assembled almost all of the supporting documents needed to submit an application for a city food license.

Smith said the company still needed to submit a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. The HACCP is a key food safety requirement with a reputation among applicants for being complicated and daunting to assemble.

Once the company submits the HACCP and a $500 fee, it will be allowed to reopen, even if the HACCP does not meet all of the department’s usual requirements, Smith said. If the HACCP plan is substantially complete, the health department will help the company with the plan after the bakery reopens, she said.

Bartlett was considering getting help with Berger’s HACCP and was hoping to have the materials ready to bring to the health department on Tuesday. “Our big goal is to reopen for business this week,” he said.

He wasn’t sure how long it would take for Berger Cookies to reach store shelves once the bakery resumed operations. “It should be pretty fast,” Bartlett said.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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