COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri’s new Food Processing and Safety Lab helps people who make and sell processed foods ensure they are safe.
“Our new lab gives agri-entrepreneurs and food businesses a qualified testing facility to ensure their products meet safety standards,” said Rob Kallenbach, associate dean of extension in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
The lab services connect to Missouri’s Food, Beverage and Forest Product Manufacturing Initiative. “We know Missouri’s economy and jobs can grow as we develop greater manufacturing capacity,” Kallenbach said.
Lakshmikantha “Kantha” Channaiah, MU food scientist and extension food safety specialist, said the lab offers a variety of services to Missourians for the first time, including
- General microbial analysis.
- Water activity.
- pH analysis.
- Acid and acidified foods testing and process review services.
- Process validation or microbial challenge studies.
- Hazard analysis critical control point plan (HACCP) training.
- Customized food safety microbiology training.
- FSMA PCQI (animal food) training.
Microbiological services include general microbial analysis (such as total plate count, molds and yeast, salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, etc.) of raw and finished food products. The lab also offers customized process validation/microbial challenge research projects.
In process review services, the process authority will review formulations and processing of acid and acidified foods before issuing a Process Authority Letter.
Importance of food process validation
Food safety is paramount as agri-entrepreneurs start new food businesses, Channaiah said. Those new to the food business often think cooking, baking, boiling and roasting foods kills all harmful food pathogens, but that is not always true, he said. The new lab at Mizzou provides a scientifically valid process to confirm the safety of a finished food product.
Channaiah says this validation helps new food businesses produce safe foods that meet regulatory standards. “Our lab is a one-stop solution center to help beginners and medium- and large-scale food processors in Missouri address food safety issues and comply with state and federal regulations,” he said.
Costs of lab services range from $10 to $100. Process authority review for in-state products is $250 and $400 for out-of-state products.
For more information, contact Kantha Channaiah at 573-882-2673 or FoodTesting@missouri.edu.
Free food safety seminar
Producers looking to market value-added food products can attend a free seminar hosted by the Missouri Food Safety Task Force. The meeting is 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Stoney Creek Hotel, 2601 S. Providence Road, Columbia. “This will be an interactive meeting to prepare producers and producer groups to evaluate the potential marketability of a value-added food products,” Channaiah said.
For details and registration, visit mizzou.us/FoodSafetyTaskForce.
— MU Extension