Attorney Daniel M. Zavadil back in the News!

Why Does Golden Valley Business Need Embalming Room?

State law mandates Neptune Society has the room before it becomes operational in Golden Valley—even if it's not going to be used.

By Mike Wilkinson, Patch Poster | Apr 21, 2011 9:37 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2011 3:36 pm ET


In California, it is against the law to curse while in the presence of a corpse in a mortuary.

Just to prove that peculiar laws aren't confined to the Golden State, in Minnesota, you must have an embalming room in your facility even if you are a cremation service and the facility is used only for administrative and sales purposes.

This obscure law was brought up Wednesday night at the Golden Valley City Council meeting when the Neptune Society, a Florida-based company that provides cremation services, was before the council in a public hearing to grant approval to open an office at 7550 Wayzata Boulevard.

Minnesota law requires the embalming room even though, in this case, it will never be used.

"We will be required to adhere to all of the requirements for an embalming facility as would a traditional mortuary," said Dan Zavadil, in-house legal council for the Neptune Society and who represented the society before the council. "It will have to have drainage capabilities, all required equipment, a properly secured door and all of the latest chemicals mandated for embalming.

"It will even have to undergo and pass regular governmental inspection."

However, it will never be used. Ever.

"Cremation simply involves picking up the body of the deceased from someplace such as their home or hospital and in keeping with their wishes, immediately transferring it to a crematorium," Zavadil said. "Embalming never comes into play."

But, Minnesota still requires the embalming operations.

"Cremation-only businesses must, by Minnesota law, have a valid mortician's license, " said Tim Koch from the Minnesota Department of Health's Mortuary Science Section Compliance Division. "In order to have a valid license you are required to have an approved embalming room."

Koch said the requirement also serves as means of consumer protection.

"There have been cases where so-called cremation services have set-up an office and nothing else," Koch said. "They then take some form of a down payment for future cremation, but never delivery, even skipping town."

Investing in something such as an embalming room, the related equipment and meeting requirements greatly increases the chance that the company is very legitimate, he added.

Zavadil said Neptune expects to spend approximately $20,000 to construct and equip the embalming room and  the company should be open for business in its new Minnesota location sometime in August.

The Neptune Society, headquartered in Plantation, FL, has been in business for 37 years and has 40 locations in nine states. It does not do the cremation at any of its facilities but contracts out to locations with crematoriums. It does not do any type of gathering, memorial or visitation services. As in the case with the Golden Valley location, it will have a funeral director, sales people and administrative staff.

Regardless, one thing the folks at Neptune won't have to worry about once they are operational in several months is the time and expense to regularly clean-up their embalming room.