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Food safety requirements affect market vendors


A three-day school in April will give participants a better understanding of safety issues surrounding low-acid and acidified low-acid canned foods.

The University of Nebraska Food Processing Center's Better Process Control School is scheduled April 11 to 13 at the university.

The FDA defines low-acid and acidified low-acid canned foods as products with a high acidity level, or a pH level below 4.6, and a high level of moisture, or a water activity above 0.85. These foods include beans, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes, cauliflower, peppers, salsas, some sauces, and fish, singly or in any combination. Exempted from FDA regulations are acid foods, repacked acidified foods, fermented foods, carbonated beverages, jams, jellies, preserves and refrigerated foods.

All processors of these types of foods must complete a Better Process Control School training program. These regulations apply to any size processor, including those that sell products through farmers markets, online and to local stores. Food companies that are uncertain if their products fall into this category can contact the FPC or their local health inspector.

The Better Process Control School equips attendees with a scientific understanding of thermal processes and strategies of pathogen control, especially clostridium botulinum. By law, each processor of these types of foods must operate with a trained supervisor on hand at all times.

The Food Processing Center is certified by the FDA to teach this three-day school. "Many small companies do not have any food safety expertise so we have specifically designed our school for individuals with little or no food science or food safety background. The school includes hands-on basic training in laboratory techniques and skills," said Jayne Stratton, FPC assistant professor.

Upon successful completion of the school, participants become certified and their names are submitted to the FDA. The school is taught by faculty and staff experts from the FPC and is offered two times per year. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required.

For more information or to register visit the website www.fpc.unl.edu or contact Jill Gifford at 402-472-2819 or e-mail jgifford1@unl.edu.

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