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Product Development Training for Small and Emerging Food Business

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Sponsoring Unit(s): 
 A photo from the first pilot program, “Successful Food Product Development for New Food Businesses: Managing Food Quality & Safety” in Ballston Spa, NY. Left to right: Amanda Kinchla (UMass), Diane H. Whitten (Cornell), Nicole Richard (URI), Chris Von Achen (UMass), Lori Pivarnik (URI)).
Project Description: 

The development of shared-use processing spaces has created new opportunities for small and emerging food businesses to develop and create new products. However, this audience has historically had challenges navigating food safety regulation and compliance, and there is a strong lack of educational materials and training to support them. Key concepts from the FDA recognized Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) Preventive Controls for Human Food curriculum will be modified to fit the target audience, and combined with other food safety and product development concepts to provide a focused, customized training to food entrepreneurs to aid in their understanding of critical food safety considerations from concept to commercialization. This program will contain input from stakeholders across the Northeast, to develop and implement a sustainable food safety training program, customized to small and emerging food businesses, to increase knowledge in food safety and enable entrepreneurial success in the marketplace.

Project Goals & Objectives:

The overall goal of this project is to develop and implement a sustainable food safety training program customized to small and emerging food businesses that will help increase their knowledge in food safety and enable entrepreneurial success in the marketplace. The objectives to achieve this goal include:

  1. Conduct a needs assessments pecific to food safety educational and training opportunities necessary to support small and emerging food businesses (to meet new FSMA guidelines for processing systems)
  2. Develop a curriculum and online training tools, field a pilot test, and evaluate the food safety educational program that addresses the needs specific to small and emerging food businesses that will enable FSMA compliance
  3. Implement a sustainable food safety program specific to small and emerging food businesses that will enhance a food safety culture throughout the product development process

Relevance:

Providing a food safety knowledge base for small and emerging food businesses specific to their needs can help to enhance a food safety culture throughout the product development process. Establishing a food safety culture from the start (product concept) helps to reduce risk, maximize efficiency and maintain quality throughout the process and into commercialization.

Outputs & Extension Materials:

  • Past Programming:
    • Pilot Trainingsto small and emerging food businessesin NY & RI (Fall 2019): 28 participants
    • February Train-the-Trainer (TTT) in PA (Winter 2020; Virtually, October): 33 participants; 12 participants
    • Virtual Training with SEFB (July, Nov): 24 participants
    • Click here for future scheduled sessions: https://ag.umass.edu/food-science/upcoming-events
  • Published Extension Materials:
  • Research paper: Richard, N., Pivarnik, L., Von Achen, C., Kinchla, A.J. Knowledge, attitudes, and implementation of food safety practices among small food businesses operating at shared-use kitchens.Food Protection Trends. Accepted. No. FPT-20-018R1.

Support:

This work is supported by the Food Safety Outreach Program grant no. 2017-04978 project accession no. 1014003 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Acknowledgements:

The collaborating team would like to acknowledge the support provided by the contributors below for their help throughout this project. These contributors were instrumental in helping to recruit participants for the survey, promoting programming, and providing content review.