ALBANY — New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced a series of workshops being held in New York City to help small food processors do business in New York. Members of the Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Division are holding training sessions to educate incubator kitchen operators and other small food processors about the New York State food safety and licensing requirements needed to operate and sell food products to consumers. The first workshop was held April 11 at the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Office in Brooklyn, New York. The next workshop will be held on May 18.
Commissioner Ball said, “The Department’s Food Safety Division is providing much-needed education to our state’s small food processing businesses. As more New Yorkers want to start or grow their own company and tap into the great consumer demand for fresh, local food and beverages, the Division is responding with these training courses to ensure our entrepreneurs are up to speed on the latest food safety information and licensing requirements. These sessions are voluntary but will provide a big advantage for businesses looking to introduce their products into the marketplace.”
Staff from the Department’s Food Safety Division covered a number of topics during the presentation, including the importance of good housekeeping, hygiene, employee training, labeling, food separation and contamination. They also guided business owners through New York’s licensing process for small food companies. The following businesses participated in the voluntary training:
- Brooklyn Foodworks
- HBK Incubates at Hot Bread Kitchen
- Chobani Food Incubator
- Bronx Cookspace at Whedco
- Mi Kitchen es Su Kitchen
- Amagansett Food Institute
- Brooklyn Buttery
- Bronx Hot Sauce
Eight additional training workshops are scheduled to take place through the end of the year: May 18, June 15, July 18, August 15, September 6, October 10, November 8, and December 13. All workshops will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, in the first floor conference room.
Businesses interested in finding out more information about the training workshops can email@example.com or visit the training section for food businesses located on the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/FS/general/food_businesses_resources.html.
To manufacture, process or sell a food or a beverage in New York, a business owner must be licensed by New York State. Currently, the Department issues over 30,000 food processing licenses to food and beverage businesses across New York. Licenses issued depend on the type of food processing done at the facility, but can range from manufacturing, processing, rendering and/or packaging to storing or sale of closed/sealed foods and beverages.
Food safety training is critical for business owners responsible for handling food, including small food processors. Regulatory changes adopted in 2006, which made food safety training mandatory for food retailers, resulted in a dramatic improvement in compliance rate with the State’s food safety regulations and business owner education. From 2006 to 2011, compliance with these regulations increased nearly 20 percent. The Department’s voluntary training program will build on this success, targeting the increasing number of small food operations.
Kathrine Gregory, Owner of Mi Kitchen es Su Kitchen™ and Entrepreneur Space consultant, said, “I have found that the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets has been supportive of food entrepreneurs, helping them grow by making sure they are manufacturing products safely. The training workshops were no different; they were enjoyable and informative. I encourage other food businesses to make the effort to attend one of the upcoming sessions because even if they think they have all of the information pertaining to food safety and licensing for their business, there is always something they will learn.”
About the Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Division
New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Food Safety and Inspection Division works to ensure the food and feed supply from farm to fork is safe for New Yorkers to consume. The Food Safety and Inspection Division is the Department’s largest division, with a staff of approximately 150 full-time employees.
The Division handles licensing of the State’s food processing and retail food establishments. Field staff also conduct sanitary inspections, sample food products for analysis by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Food Laboratory, investigate consumer complaints of foodborne illnesses, and verify product labeling.
The Department prides itself on the quality and depth of knowledge of its field inspectors. The Division also has a robust food surveillance program, regularly discovering products found to contain undeclared ingredients and live pathogens, with a potential to cause foodborne illness. Most recently, the Division was involved in several high-profile investigations regarding products contaminated with heavy metals and industrial dyes. Their work received significant recognition by the FDA, led to several Class 1 recalls, found at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AD/alertList.asp, and seizure of several tons of contaminated products.
The Division also hosts New York’s Commercial Animal Feed, Pet Food and Farm Products programs. For further information on the Division’s compliance history and types of deficiencies commonly observed, please visit the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/FS/FSHome.html.
—New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
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