Implementation training for Specialized Retail Meat Processing Variance

Trainings and resources to assist meat processors transition into following food safety plan.

Assistance is available for meat processors and their employees in Michigan that have a Specialized Meat Processing Variance (Variance) and are implementing it. The variance is required through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) for retail operations that conduct specialized meat processing such as curing. 

Michigan State University Extension will conduct two in-person implementation trainings as part of a project funded by the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture. The first training will be May 17 at the Michigan State University Meat Laboratory, East Lansing, Michigan. An additional training will be held at a second location on May 24 at the University Center Gaylord, Gaylord, Michigan. Register for either of these locations online

The training and resources will focus on assisting processors and inspectors with implementing the variance. This training is appropriate for employees that have responsibilities related to carrying out a variance in your processing facility as well as owners/management of specialized meat processing establishments. Topics will include: allergens; cure limits, calculations and inventory; regulated additives; cooking; cooling; thermometer calibration; calculating percent added solutions; methods to prevent raw and cooked product cross-contamination (traffic patterns, product storage, post-lethality topical seasoning addition) especially in small and existing establishments and spaces; guidance with data loggers and temperature recording devices; and required and recommended record keeping.

At the in-person trainings, equipment will be available for processors to try that have the potential to save time and in some instances labor. Examples of equipment that will be showcased include:

  • Single- and multi-channel data loggers with interchangeable probes for various applications that allow for monitoring of smokehouse conditions, cooking and cooling cycles.
  • Thermometer calibration techniques including automated check units
  • Water activity and pH meters

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