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Certification Class Offered for Home-Based Food Production

June 22, 2012 by Contributor filed under Business, News No Comments
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It happens all the time. Someone makes Grandma’s pickles or Aunt Betty’s chow-chow and people admire it and say, “You should sell this.” But producing acidified foods such as pickles may not be as easy as it sounds, and if not done properly, harmful bacteria may be present in the foods. Thanks to the Food Science and Technology Department of Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension, there is help on the horizon.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced a training workshop designed for those home-based cooks with a must-sell product: the Better Process School August 15 through 16 at the Virginia Tech Richmond Center at 2810 Parham Road, Suite 300, Room 333, Richmond, VA.

The deadline for registration and submission of full payment is August 1, 2012. The registration fee includes a student text book, training, lunch on both days and examinations. The cost is $250 per person and space is limited to 40 people. Certificates of completion will be prepared and mailed to each person who successfully completes the course.

Topics include Microbiology of Thermally Processed Foods, Acidified Foods, Food Container Handling, Equipment Instrumentation and Operation for Thermal Processing Systems, Principles of Food Plant Sanitation, Principles of Thermal Processing, Recordkeeping for Product Protection and Container Closure Evaluation for Glass, Flexible and Semi-rigid Containers. Instructors will give examinations throughout the course and will grade them quickly so that students are aware of their progress.

Successful completion of the Better Process Control School certifies supervisors in the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 114, which states: “All plant personnel involved in acidification, pH control, heat treatment, or other critical factors of the operation shall be under the operating supervision of a person who has attended a school approved by the Commissioner [of Agriculture] for giving instruction in food handling techniques, food protection principles, personal hygiene, plant sanitation practices, pH controls, and Critical factors in acidification.”

“During the previous legislative session, several producers expressed an interest in having this training available,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner. “I am delighted that Virginia Tech is able to offer these courses at a lower than normal cost and to offer a course in central Virginia. This will be a terrific benefit for those wanting to sell pickles or other acidified foods.”

A registration brochure is available by calling VDACS at 804.786.3520. For additional information, interested parties should contact Dr. Karleigh Bacon at 540.231.6806 or kbacon@vt.edu.

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