The MSU Product Center’s HACCP pilot program was a success, thanks to MDARD

The MSU Product Center’s HACCP plan pilot program, funded by MDARD, leads to economic impact in the state.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food facilities to implement written food safety plans. The Food Safety News reported in 2013 that the cost of such food safety plans, along with the record-keeping requirements and the validation for their preventive controls, contributes to the greatest burden for smaller firms trying to implement preventive plans. In 2013, more than 90 percent of the firms USDA regulated were small or very small firms. The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network identified the need for small processor assistance in developing sound Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and food safety programs that comply with federal regulations.

The MSU Product Center stepped up to the challenge by providing a food safety pilot program funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Strategic Growth Initiative (SGI). As part of the grant, MSU Product Center staff received training in basic and advanced HACCP, ServSafe, Specialized Meat Processing Variance, and Safe Quality Foods (SQF).

The ten companies that received assistance from these trained staff as part of the grant were located in Chippewa, Delta, Grand Traverse, Kent, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland and Washtenaw County. Below are examples of the impacts of the grant to date:

Business A: Before the grant, the small farmers who used the butcher company were only able to take their meat home for personal use. Due to the services provided, the small farmers are now able to sell their meat retail, wholesale or at farmers markets to increase their income. In addition, both the butcher and the small farmers now have the ability to sell their meat products to small-scale processors.

Business B, D, E & H: The companies were able to complete all of the vendor requirements for Whole Foods Market, Meijer, and/or Kroger to enable them to grow their existing business sales. One company launched a new product because of the potential sales that the HACCP plan created for them.

Business C and Business I: The assistance enabled the two businesses to be able to stay in business and continue selling under new MDARD requirements.

Business F & J: Upon completion of Specialized Meat Processors Variance Application, the companies was able to provide specialized meat products as part of the catering services for high-end with one company now being able to sell their favorite restaurant products wholesale.

Business G: Due to the assistance, the company now has a working HACCP plan and support programs in place so they can concentrate on the necessary facility improvements required by the USDA for their grant of inspection. This facility expansion and improvement will lead to increased tax revenue for local government in addition to the new opportunity for wholesale business by the operation.

The likely economic impacts from this pilot program are:

  • increased sales for companies due to their ability to sell their food product(s) to third parties
  • new product creation that will in turn increase company sales
  • job creation for the businesses as they work to operate at a higher level of production due to increased sales
  • increased state and federal income tax revenue

To help other small processors after the grant, a white paper called Food Safety Systems: Prerequisite Programs and Validation was created by our Food Processing Specialist, Tina Conklin, and Bob Culler of Michigan Meat Association (MMA). This document is a one-stop shopping guide for companies in developing the majority of their support programs that they will need to support a HACCP plan.

The MSU Product Center plans to develop a program going forward to address the needs of these small processors. To be able to sustain a program of this nature after the grant, the MSU Product Center will need to develop a fee for service plan to generate revenue while offering services at a lower cost to clients than other alternatives in the market.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides free business counseling to Michigan entrepreneurs who want to commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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