Workshop

Dairy Sanitation Workshop June 1st

University of Maine Cooperative Extension has announced that they will present a Dairy Sanitation Workshop on Monday, June 1st at the University of Maine Orono campus in the Buchanan Alumni Hall, McIntire Room. The Maine Cheese Guild will co-sponsor the event, and Guild members will receive a discount on the workshop fee.

Guild members will get a discount on the registration fee — here is the link to register.

Registration opens at 8:15am and the sessions begin at 9am. This will be an all-day workshop with a break for lunch (included in the workshop fee). There will be a limit of 50 people they can accommodate so it is advised that you register as soon as possible to make sure there is room for you at the workshop.

This workshop will also include the latest update on the upcoming implementation of the federal Food Safety and Modernization Act which will completely overhaul food safety compliance across the country beginning October 2015. (The Guild has posted updates on this periodically but we expect things to change right up through the implementation.)

Did the FDA just ban European cheese?

After “clarifying” it’s position on using wood boards to age cheese by saying that wood can NOT be used to safely produce aged cheese, the U.S. FDA moved to dampen fears it will ban all cheese aged on wood.

Meanwhile the American Cheese Society has issued its response to the FDA’s “clarification” on using wood in aging caves and is working to get more information from the FDA on what evidence for their clarification was used, and help them get more information about the issue that may help them see that wood has been used to safely age trillions of pounds of cheese over the last 10,000 years.

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Based on a unanimous vote at our June 2014 Maine Cheese Guild meeting, the membership of the MCG publicly supports the American Cheese Society’s position statement on the safety of aging cheese on wood, as well as the work of ACS to maintain open lines of communication with the FDA and other governmental regulatory agencies.

It’s Coming! FSMA Decoded So Far…

US Food and Drug AdministrationDuring a salmonella outbreak of 2008 and 2009 nine people died, 166 were hospitalized and more than 700 fell ill. Authorities ultimately traced the contamination of Salmonella Typhimurium back to peanut products manufactured in a Texas plant owned by the Peanut Corporation of America. According to the US CDC an estimated 48 million people each year are affected by food borne illnesses resulting in over 100,000 hospitalization and 3,000 deaths. In this one case, however, there were several factors that caught the general public’s attention:

  • Illnesses were caused all over the US without apparent patterns at first;
  • People died from exposure in nursing homes and other medical facilities;
  • Many different products across different company’s products and brands were found to be contaminated, both commercial and institutional;
  • Ultimately the media found that the peanut processing plant had been operating legally in Texas without EVER having been inspected by state or federal food safety organizations.

As a result of the tremendous publicity and outrage of this embarrassing outbreak a White House Food Safety Working Group was formed to investigate this specific failure in the US food safety network. The result was the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed by Congress and to be implemented by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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