Helping meat processors comply with state food safety regulations
Michigan State University Extension developed a package of comprehensive training programs and resources to help processors comply with the requirements as set forth by the MDARD.
Retail food establishments that cure meat products and package them in reduced oxygen packaging must follow Specialized Retail Meat Processing Variance requirements as set forth by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). When these new requirements were put into place, processors needed a reliable source to help them learn how to comply with the variance.
In response, Michigan State University Extension developed a package of comprehensive training programs and resources to help processors comply with the variance. In-person and online programs guide processors through the variance application process. Additional courses teach both processors and MDARD inspectors proper recordkeeping methods and introduce them to technology that can assist in compliance, all of which makes the processors better prepared for MDARD inspections. As part of MSU Extension’s educational resources:
- Participants were taught best practices for implementing variance requirements.
- Participants were introduced to the use of data loggers, pH meters, water activity meters, thermometer calibration equipment and other tools to help assist with compliance.
- Meat processors and MDARD inspectors were taught proper meat-curing techniques.