AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Quality Assurance Division is tasked with overseeing and ensuring a safe, high quality food supply in the state of Maine. In this role, the Division is working with processors, farmers, and businesses to educate and inform them of how the new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations will impact food safety from farm to fork. The FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety is set to take effect for very small businesses three years after the issuance of the final rule, two years for small businesses, while all other farms must comply after one year. The FDA website provides a useful document for those that will be impacted by the rule: http://www.fda.gov/Food/
Local Processor taking proactive approach to food safety
A new case study by Farm to Institution New England (FINE) highlights the efforts of one Maine processor that has taken a forward thinking approach in terms of food safety. Northern Girl, based out of Van Buren, ME, processes vegetables for distribution to schools, institutions, restaurants, and retailers across the New England region. As part of their food safety efforts, founders Marada and Leah Cook enlisted a third-party certification company to assess their food safety standards and strengthen their level of assurance to their customers. While it was a risk mitigating decision, it was also imperative to accessing markets where third-party audits are a requirement. Through the certification process, Northern Girl has been able to tap into new markets, achieve high levels of food safety and quality standards, and is prepared to meet the new FSMA regulations that will impact their business starting in November of 2018.
—Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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