Monday, October 24, 2011


The food safety management calls for strict licensing protocols and it is not that every body can start making a food for selling in the market because of the possibility of food based poisoning episodes affecting the health of the citizens. Generally large, medium and small scale food processors do come under the licensing procedures while the so called cottage scale processors are normally exempt from any such procedures. Of course in a country like the US there are strict norms that govern cottage scale producers also with severe restrictions on their area of operation. Farmers markets and trade fairs are locally confined events and any one is free to sell home prepared foods provided they are safe and free from any health risks. There are chefs and other culinary artisans with wealth of experience and their lack of capital to start a full fledged production facility constrain them from starting new ventures. A modern Kitchen with varied facilities and available to such entrepreneurs, can motivate these entrepreneurs to enter the industry with minimum resources. Called an "Incubator Kitchen" a new experiment is being carried out in the US under a recognized university which allows people with interest in food line to try their luck in this type of kitchen and if successful further investment on independent facility with regular licensing can be thought of. Such kitchens can be set up in every university that can kindle interest among those with talent to make food business a success. Here is a take on this new development.   

"Local chefs and bakers looking to sell their products in grocery stores, restaurants or across state lines can now use a kitchen facility known as the Incubator Kitchen, offered at USU, instead of waiting to obtain a professional-grade kitchen of their own. Assistant professor and extension food quality and entrepreneurship specialist Karin Allen said people can produce and sell food products out of their home if they meet certain requirements, called the Cottage Food Rule. The incubator kitchen allows people who do not meet the home requirements, or who want to sell to a larger market than allowed under the rule, produce and sell food. "It allows them to sell it at grocery stores, to restaurants and also they can sell it across state lines," Allen said. "It gives them a little more opportunity to let their business grow than just trying to sell at a farmers market or a craftfair." Allen said the kitchen has been certified through the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. She said the kitchen allows businesses to produce most — but not all — food items. "Any food that would be approved for a Cottage license, there's no problem making those kinds of foods in this kitchen," Allen said. "It's not as open as a commercial kitchen would be, where any food product basically could be made." Allen said recipes are evaluated and approved on a case-by-case basis. She said meat products are never approved for the kitchen. Allen said the Incubator Kitchen, located in the Family Life Building, uses equipment no longer in use by university programs".

Food is a sensitive area and governments have special responsibility to ensure that the citizens are not exposed to public foods in the market with uncertain safety credentials. While working from home and producing excellent quality food products are possible, there is always the lurking fear that the home based industry may not have the sustaining power to maintain the required hygiene and sanitation which only can ensure food safety. The Cottage Food Rule in vogue in the US targeted at these processors to ensure food safety. But the Incubator Kitchen comes handy for new entrepreneurs to make experimentation, development and trial marketing across the country for testing the waters for the viability of the products. In India all catering training institutes must provide such facilities to home scale processing artisans for establishing their own ventures with confidence. The type of products may include pickles, preserves, sweetmeats, savories, many traditional foods which are not available readily in the market.   


1 comment:

rager4me said...

safety management is a very important program to have at every company.