By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator
Many small-scale farms and food businesses—whether they are chopping, canning, preserving, aggregating, or dehydrating value-added products—might not know where to begin when navigating the Preventive Controls Rule (PCR) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). While many of these small processors may be exempt from parts of the rule, they still must comply with Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMPs). CGMPs are the foundation for a food manufacturer—no matter their size—to successfully minimize food safety risks and build a strong business.
Finding right-sized resources to help small producers understand and apply cGMPs can be difficult, as traditional courses that teach Preventive Controls principles are more complex and expensive than most small processors making low-risk foods need or can afford. The Carolina Food Stewardship Association (CFSA) has been trying to fill this gap, first with its Good Manufacturing Practices for Low-Risk Foods Manual and now with a new workshop based on a curriculum that’s geared specifically toward small-scale farms and food businesses.
Chloe Johnson (CFSA), Kim Butz (CFSA), and Currey Nobles (Safe Eats Consulting) are helping these processors understand cGMPs and figure out how to make the best decisions for their individual operations. From explaining sources of potential food safety hazards and ways to reduce these risks, to outlining the basics of cGMPs (covering topics ranging from personnel, utensils, and allergens to sanitary operations and facility design), this new workshop offers a practical foundation for smaller businesses. CFSA has also developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help processors determine where their operation fits into the PCR, if this training is right for them, or if they need training in the development and application of risk-based preventative controls.
Following Good Manufacturing Processes is more than just a legal requirement; it’s just plain good business sense. Implementing food safety practices can help build trust with customers, streamline production flow, and ensure a strong base for an operation to scale up as it grows. If you’re a farm or small food business making value-added products, this course may be for you; check out CFSA’s upcoming workshop on April 9th. Visit the Local Food Safety Collaborative website along with the Food Safety Resource Clearinghouse for a curated source of food safety guides, factsheets, templates, and more. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the latest food safety news.
This project website is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award 1U01FD006921-01 totaling $1,000,000 with 100 percent funded by FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.
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