Important New Cheese Book Available

The Guardian has just published an article outlining one of many compelling stories chartered in Bronwen and Francis Percival’s new book on the cheese industry called Reinventing The Wheel. The authors are currently on tour promoting the book at various book AND cheese stores across America.

I have read the book and would highly recommend it to anyone who cares about the future of Good Cheese in an era of increasing focus on food safety. Two Maine farms are featured in it! The Percivals present a compelling case that the two ideas are compatible IF we’re all willing to abandon myths and ideologies.

State of Maine seal

Legislature Dodges Federal Meat Shutdown

On Monday, October 23, the Maine Legislature met in an emergency special session in part to address the threat from the USDA to rescind Maine’s contract to provide State Inspection of meat and poultry. This would have severely restricted Maine’s capacity to process any meat locally, potentially limiting the entire industry to a single slaughterhouse. This emergency was caused by the passage, in June of LD725 — which was passed and signed by the Governor in June — that allowed citizens to sell unregulated food products in towns that had passed ordinances stating that, often referred to as “Food Sovereignty Ordinances.”

Luckily both houses of the Legislature voted to approve LD1648 altering the language of LD725 specifically stating that all Maine meat processors had to comply with state and federal regulation regardless of local ordinances enacted by towns and cities.

The Guild public testimony at that public hearing can be found here.


Free FSMA Compliant Food Safety Plan Tool

The FDA has created a Windows application meant to run on a PC or laptop that will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a safety plan for your food business, and they’ve now just released it for download. According to the website:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Plan Builder (FSPB) is a tool designed to assist owners/operators of food facilities with the development of food safety plans that are specific to their facilities and meet the requirements of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (21 CFR Part 117).

Use of this tool is strictly optional on the part of the user. FDA is not requiring use of this tool to develop a facility’s food safety plan. Although the content of the Food Safety Plan Builder v. 1.0 is consistent with the FDA’s existing guidance and regulations, use of the Food Safety Plan Builder by owners and operators of food facilities does not mean that their food safety plan, preventive controls, good manufacturing practices and other food safety procedures are approved by FDA or comply with FDA requirements.

The Food Safety Plan Builder guides the user through the following sections:

  • Facility Information
  • Preliminary Steps
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) & Prerequisite Programs
  • Hazard Analysis & Preventive Controls Determination
  • Process Preventive Controls
  • Food Allergen Preventive Controls
  • Sanitation Preventive Controls
  • Supply-Chain Preventive Controls
  • Recall Plan
  • Reanalysis of Food Safety Plan
  • Food Safety Plan Report
  • Signature
  • Recordkeeping Procedures
  • Important Contacts
  • Supporting Documents

If you have additional questions or need more information, please email