Barb Ingham (UW-EX) 608-263-7383
Donna Gilson (DATCP) 608-224-5130
MADISON — Small food processors looking to join the buy-local trend and sell canned foods at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and even grocery stores can sign up for a workshop that will teach them how to do it safely.
Beginning in late April, eight one-day food safety workshops will be offered around the state. The training is jointly offered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin-Extension. It is the first time such a course has been offered in Wisconsin specifically geared to small food processors.
The training will apply only to acidified canned foods, such as pickles, salsa and relish. It will cover food processing regulations, requirements for equipment and facilities, food safety and sanitation, principles of thermal processing, microbiology of acidified foods, record-keeping, and recipe approval. Along with presenting information, the training will include hands-on exercises. Completing the training and passing two exams will allow participants to meet a requirement for the Wisconsin acidified food processor license.
Training will run 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The schedule follows. All workshops will run 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and participants must attend all day.
* Madison (offered twice) – Thursday, April 23, and Monday, Sept. 14, Madison West Agricultural Research Station, 8502 Mineral Point Rd.
* Waukesha – Thursday, May 21, Waukesha County Administration Center, 515 W. Moreland Blvd.
* Menomonie – Monday, June 22, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Student Center
* Spooner – Tuesday, June 23, Spooner Agricultural Research Station, W6646 Hwy. 70
* Green Bay – Monday, July 6, Brown County Extension Building, 1150 Bellevue St.
* Wausau – Monday, Aug. 10, Marathon County Extension Building, 212 River Drive
* Wisconsin Rapids – Tuesday, Sept. 15, Wood County Extension Building, 400 Market St.
Cost is $75. Online registration is available at http://www.peopleware.net/index.cfm?siteId=358&eventDisp=9%2D40%2DACID. A downloadable brochure with registration form for mailing is also available online at http://www.wifirst.wisc.edu/assets/AcidifiedFoods_Brochure_2009.pdf.
Until now, the only acidified food processor training available in Wisconsin was a week-long course geared to large commercial canneries. The limited availability and cost made it prohibitive for small family businesses.