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Health Dept/farmer's markets

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
After a restaurant reviewer mentioned a (chef) friend's use of wild mushrooms, canning, sous vied, and curing meats...the health dept came in and essentially told him to desist.

Then they hit the farmers market in the area (I founded and ran for a couple of years, and am still a regular)......essetially limiting low acid canning and tons of packaging.....pesto, truffle butter, butter, salsa, peppers........

So, the farmers asked for help and I've asked a university & state health inspector to hold a workshop......this is the outline, would love input from anyone that's had to deal with developing HAACP'S for cured meats, or low acid products.....I've got apple cider coming in, as well as jam....

Local Foods, Value Added Processing
Millie will talk about commercial processing center. (location, is it running yet? if not when?, times of operation, OP)

1) developing recipes for farmers

2) taking recipes they have (and product) and producing them to spec

3) sharing expertise on packaging
(a) canning
(b) heat packing
(c) cryovac
(d) ?

4) labeling....no one asked but it should be touched on.....if preserving is done for a restaurant does it need special labels?

5) Curing Meats....proscuitto, guanciale, bacon, hams, salumis, etc.
(a) storage for the time it takes to cure....in some cases years.

6) cheese and yogurt making

7) fee structure.....even if you work with individuals, they would like a ballpark idea of what it'll cost to have you produce the product with their goods.....b) to rent the kitchen

c) to hire processing expertise

d) what if they participate in making their products?

e) Jars/containers....some are using unique containers.....would it be possible to use commercial grade containers they provide, if so how does that change costs.


They need this to plan, so having an idea at the meeting is important.


8) HAACP Plans....examples for pickles, jams, cured meats, cheeses, sous vide


*I've asked the farmers/chefs to provide a list of products with ingredients they are producing now, as well as a list of future products they'd like to produce......that may give a head start to moving forward on production.

State Health Inspector, Virginia Phillips

1) Site Visits to commercial home/restaurant kitchens

a) what's needed?

2) STL County and STL City Health Dept Regs.....selling value added at farmers markets.......
a) low acid foods.....salsa, canned peppers
b) pickles/jams
c) butter

Suggestions for working out HAACP Plans that address Health Dept Concerns.

Most of these farmers have been processing for years, many in certified kitchens.....several have advanced degrees in science thus understand PH.....most have worked with state and local health depts through the years and have gotten mixed messages. It's important that they know what they need to do to proceed with this season's value added products.....for in many cases it's a big % of their income. Losing a year's production is not sustainable.

For the chef's interested in participating, it's about processing artisan foods.....either having SLU produce it or working with your facility or developing HAACP that would work for county'/city inspectors.


Thoughts?
And is anyone willing to share Haacp plans?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 7
Shroomgirl, unfortunately as someone who works on HACCP plans/AIB procedures I will tell you that EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. It all depends upon what you are producing and how you are producing it. For instance, we have a HACCP Plan for the company and then all the different functions within the manufacturing facility has its own individual plan based on its function, processes and ingredients.

If they all have been processing and selling on a retail level as you mentioned than they should have a very good idea of what they can and cant do, especiallly if they have science degree's. Part of plant and animal degrees w/in a farming or science degree is food safety, and its a big part of the education.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
The initial farmer (figs, peppers, etc) who asked for my help is a Bulgarian Bio Chemist who was wooed by Stanford. He's retired (consulting) in MO and is raising fig trees in the midwest.....really cool operation. Anyway he was processing fig jam and specialty peppers (low acid) as well as tomato salsa.
Actually he was selling fried peppers at market too..... Probably for 3 years. I've known him, but he was never at a market I was managing.

So, the Health Dept essentially shut down his value added.....there's a 3 day low acid certifying course offered in KS and other obscure places for $800ish+ expenses. I asked SLU if they would do the three day training in STL but they came up with telling the farmers about their commercial processing plant (newly inspected, not up yet) that is part of a grant to process local food for a small school district and the nutrition cafeteria. The state inspector can do "home" (jams, honeys and most baked goods are ok to make in home) or commercial kitchens that are selling retail at farmers' markets.

Of course Ivan has acid meters and since he's a scientist is pretty savy about shtuff.....but it needs to go through the powers that be.

There are a handful of chefs in town raising for their restaurants, most are curing, canning, typical old world newly revised shtuff......they are getting jammed. Seriously jammed. As in having purchased wild mushrooms inspected by a mycologist?
Not being able to cure olives, or pickle or make syrups or jams.....curing whole different ball of wax. Now go 1 mile down the road and your in a different health dept district that permits all the above. The long term is to get legislation passed that will eliminate "blackmarket" or "bootleg" shtuff. I'm civic minded but not willing to put alot of energy into that project. It's a big one, it's a potential expensive one, it means dealing with legislators......

But I will setup a workshop and help farmers & chefs work through the county system.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 7
Your expert is Heidi. As far as I know, canning it and serving it in a restaurant is not a problem. The source has to be certified. ie., the mushrooms need to come from a certified source, whatever that means.

But if you want to sell it to the public it's a whole different ballgame. Rules are very strict. Heidi is a certified something or other. It's a week long class taught at a University.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yep, just wanted to see the class happen locally.....why is it that whenever I start out it's just a small project that then blossoms into a large one.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 7
shroom-

You may want to add to your outline in labeling section-
Expiration / Use by dates / Julian date codes.

Good luck. Looks like the proverbial can of worms- or sous vide worms maybe?
Michael
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Michael
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
It was interesting....I didn't know that botulism was a big deal with sous vide, lack of air in packaging creates a ripe breeding ground...if temp is ignored.

Gained tons of info from the FDA inspector. Really sharp woman, who was more than thrilled to share information. Her approach to inspecting restaurants (when she was in charge of it locally) was to take a "suspect" dish and watch how it was made, even if it meant coming back. So instead of a snap shot of one day it was more of a how's the operating procedure.....
ie grilled chicken on green salad.

1) was the chicken cooked through/brought to temp

2) was it cooled quickly all the through

3) were greens washed/cut on separate board

4)how was the salad kept

5)dressing.....

Much to many of the farmers' surprise I was not aware of how a tomato picked with a live stem and washed in recycling icky water absorbs the water into the tomato flesh. Ditto cantalope. Just never had heard that horror story.

The inspector said the more she watches commercial food prep the more she eats small farm whole food.....she also emphasized washing produce thoroughly....farms don't have potties in the fields, shtuff happens, no handwashing area.....you get the pix.

As to processing kitchen, and low acid class it's a while away.....but an acidified processing class is being set up this Jan.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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