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Seminar Aims to Help Cheese Food Safety

A Cooperative Development Institute seminar will cover spoilage, overall quality, safety assurances for buyers, and other cheese issues.

Cooperative Development Institute, in collaboration with Peter Dixon, noted dairy foods consultant, is launching the seminar "Cheese Food Safety Risk Reduction." This new seminar, aimed at reducing batch losses, improving quality overall and providing food safety assurance for buyers of farmstead cheeses, will take place:

January 25, 10 am - 3 pm, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Ballston Spa, NY
February 7, 2007, 10 am - 3 pm, Cobb Hill Farm, Hartland Four Corners, VT
February 14, 2007, 10am - 3 pm, Bushmeadow Farm, Union, CT
February 19, 2007, 10 - 3 pm, Hahn's End Cheese, Bath, ME

The seminar will provide cheese-makers with information to develop a Cheese Safety Risk Reduction plan. Points in the cheese-making process where contamination can occur- in producing, storing and transporting milk, and making, ripening, packaging, and distributing cheese- will be identified using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point approach.

Following the program, seminar leaders Lynda Brushett of CDI and Mr. Dixon will work with each farm to develop a plan to prevent possible contamination and monitor the control points by sampling and testing, to verify that the plan is working.

The ultimate result of these seminars will be a "Farmstead Safe Cheese Certification Program" based in HACCP principles and modeled on the well established and internationally accepted European Union Directives for risk reduction. The importance of establishing certification standards is rooted in the prior University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension's program "Food Safety Plans," in which ten Northeastern farmstead cheese-makers laid the groundwork for this food safety program.

"This food safety seminar will take this preceding study one step further by verifying that the methods established are working," says Mr. Dixon. "This will be done by sampling and testing the raw milk used for cheese-making, cheese, and the environment of the creamery."

For more information, please contact Peter Dixon at 802-387-4041, dixonpeter@mac.com or go to www.cdi.coop. Directions are available.

Source: Cooperative Development Institute

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