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Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative


The Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative is a practical, hands-on outreach program designed to make the Food Safety Modernization Act a reality, not just a regulation, for Wisconsin's many artisan dairy manufacturers. In implementing the elements of FSMA in small cheese plants and other dairy manufacturing facilities which may now have limited resources for food safety consulting, the initiative will - most importantly - make our food supply safer for consumers. Consequentially, this initiative will also safeguard and strengthen Wisconsin's economy, which currently enjoys a dairy industry impact of $43.4 billion annually and cannot afford the hits that would undoubtedly come as a result of an illness outbreak triggered by dairy product consumption.Initiative goals are achievable, given the 12-month timeframe and $152,600 budget allotted, as clear objectives are met.Via the Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative, two part-time Food Safety Educators will reach
out to all of Wisconsin's 127 identified cheese plants, as well as its other identified dairy production plants, providing informational packets on FSMA regulations and an invitation to participate in ongoing training and consulting opportunities.This initiative features five regional kick-off seminars across Wisconsin, providing to dairy manufacturers basic information regarding FSMA regulations, an invitation to utilize Food Safety Educators as expert resources on FMSA, and - for artisan cheesemakers - an invitation to participate in an intensive process designed to make them fully FSMA-compliant.The initiative timeframe and scope allow for Food Safety Educators to work closely with 50 artisans, spending one full day on-site at each plant, developing individualized food safety plans, and then following up multiple times on-site and via telecommunication to ensure plans are implemented and continued successfully. Food Safety Educators will spend no less than 20 hours working with
each individual artisan, and will spend more time with those in need of additional assistance.This initiative also ensures that there is ongoing industry-wide FSMA education, via the Food Safety Educators' development of online resources like webinars and FAQs, bimonthly newspaper columns and submissions to magazines, and via their ongoing on-call consulting availability. The Food Safety Educators will also develop a standard FSMA education packet with sample plant plans, so that beyond the life of this initiative, additional artisans will have resources to assist them in making safe dairy products.

Umhoefer, J. T.
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
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