FDA “hurdles”

Agoracritus
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FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Mon May 20, 2019 10:48

Are traditionally fermented and dry cured sausages allowed/approved (at all) by the FDA for sale on the public market without being cooked (ruined) to a minimum internal temperature at some point during production?
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by LOUSANTELLO » Tue May 21, 2019 13:16

yes, although there is a chart based on fermentation temperature and hours whereby the meat must reach 5.3 within that time period, otherwise you must toss it.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Wed May 22, 2019 02:25

Thanks for the reply Lousantello.

I’m pretty sure the Landjaegers I’ve been making for some time to my friends’ and family’s delight, could be approved for sale by the FDA/health department. I’m not looking to launch a business out of it at this point though. I’d just like to broaden my product market a little bit more publicly (like the Farmers Market), to see what the “demand” actually is. (Or at least be able to give people a better answer when they ask “why aren’t you selling these?”)

Even at a hobby level, my “facility” actually conforms with FDA regulations, and I’m confident that “fermentation hurdles” (et al) are well within production requirements, but I just want to make sure I dot my “i’s” and cross my “t’s” before I walk into the local health department office.

I’ve tried to read and understand the FDA regulations Ad nauseam, but sometimes I can’t even figure out the answer to a question as basic as this original post. So thanks to anyone and everyone who contributes to this very helpful forum!
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by LOUSANTELLO » Wed May 22, 2019 03:24

I didn’t understand the question. So, you’re asking if you can sell it at a farmers market without any kind of certification? I would say no. Your facility must pass all inspections.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Wed May 22, 2019 03:29

No, I’m not trying to go “around” the FDA. I know certifications are required. I’m just trying to streamline the process such that I’m already in compliance BEFORE I subject myself to inspection.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Wed May 22, 2019 03:34

I’ve been building and remodeling homes for 3 decades. The last thing I would ever do is schedule a building inspection and then ask the inspector “how should I build this?”, lol.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by LOUSANTELLO » Wed May 22, 2019 03:41

Sorry for the confusion. I did not know whether you were going thru the process or just inquiring whether they would let you sell at a farmers market.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Wed May 22, 2019 04:01

No prob. Even if we weren’t on the same page, I appreciate your feedback. I’m not very good at clear communication sometimes. Your correspondence has been very helpful. If nothing else, I should probably put more thought into my inquiries.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Wed May 22, 2019 04:19

I’m going to go into the public health office tomorrow (or the next day) and just put myself at their mercy, and see how it goes. I’ll update anyone who cares how it turns out...
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Butterbean » Wed May 22, 2019 22:10

I don't sell anything outside of my state so I'm regulated by the State Dept. of Agriculture. There are a lot of little hurdles you have to go through and fees you have to pay. I also think a lot of things depend on the particular inspector. Here, you also have to be certified by ServSafe every five years. You also have to keep some records and on certain things you may need a variance which is basically a detailed account of how and why you are handling the meats along with how you are addressing the safety hurdles. I am told I can sell anything I make as long as I hand it to the person but to allow someone else to sell it and they keep it in their store then there is another level of things you have to do for labelling and this gets expensive if you make a lot of different things like I tend to.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Thu May 23, 2019 00:47

Thanks Butterbean!

I decided to hold off on actually going to the health and safety office just yet. I’d rather be patient than unprepared.

This is just the kind of food for thought that I’m looking for.

I’ve been keeping (and often losing) notes on each batch that I’ve made in the past (just for reference), but yesterday I bought a bunch of notebooks and logbooks, and today I documented every aspect of a batch of sausages I processed, stuffed and are currently hanging in my fermentation chamber... basically, I’m going to log all the details as if I were already approved (from here on out), that way if I do decide to go public, an inspector can see how I’ve already been meticulously following protocol (and give me a thumbs up, or make specific recommendations).

Even your thoughts on first vs second person sales is helpful. I was thinking that if I could sell my sausages at the Farmers Market, rather than spending the time and money to get my own booth, I would just have someone else that already has a booth give out samples and sell my sausages for a commission/%. Based on your reply, I will need to look further into that option...

Thanks again for the helpful response.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Butterbean » Wed May 29, 2019 23:42

You are welcome. I think you will find it matters a lot by what inspector comes to see you. I had one who was really helpful and told me I could sell anything I wanted at the Farmer's Market and if anyone gave me any flack I was to give them his card and have them call him. I had another who freaked out when they saw my vacuum chamber saying I needed a waver for this. Ours come and go so fast you never know who will be inspecting you. One guy who came see me was a real ass. He was freaking out because I had a residential refrigerator on site that didn't have a thermometer on the outside and wasn't made of stainless. Was going to get back with me but I never heard from him again and there is still ice in the ice maker in this fridge so I suspect the freezer is still working even though I don't have a thermometer on the outside.

I think its really important to be able to answer their questions or like you intend to do - turn to some data in a ledger to explain what you are doing and why. I don't think there is any way you could ever 100% comply with all their requirements but as long as they see you are knowledgeable and not some quack fixing to kill someone then it seems they will work with you. I've heard a lot of charcuterie people do it under the guise of the restaurant business. Apparently its easier to qualify and meet the requirements since you aren't treated on the same playing field as Tyson or some big conglomerate meat processing facility.

I haven't bothered with even trying to get labels. I figure I might do this when I retire and have more time on my hands. I think it costs around $200 per label when its all said and done. Also, I understand if you change recipe any at all you have to pay it again for another label and I think you also have to go through the same thing with the USDA as well. I believe this is why you see so few choices on the market.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Agoracritus » Thu May 30, 2019 01:04

I’ve never dealt with food inspectors before, but have dealt with many building inspectors over the years, so I suspected that the variation from inspector to inspector could be similar. Like you, I’ve had good/reasonable/knowledgeable ones but also a few that were not only extremely obnoxious, but obviously didn’t know a nail from a screw.

Good food for thought. I guess the bottom line is that as long as you do things right, the burden of proof is on anyone who tries to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, even if they have some kind of badge of authority.

That being said, I do know how to deal with unreasonable people, without a fight. I’m realistic (not a a rebel without a cause). Thanks again for your input and helping me keep things in perspective!
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by LOUSANTELLO » Thu May 30, 2019 02:20

Food inspection is slightly different than building houses. You could be doing everything by the book, but if the inspector says you cant use a residential facility to make food to resell it, that’s the way it could be. There’s a company in town that dry ages their own meat by the thousands of pounds. Commercial refrigeration, redundant alarm notifications and UV lighting was required in a commercial facility, and open anytime the inspector decided to ring the doorbell. There’s also a latge volume local butcher that has 80 employees. He is not allowed to cut one piece of meat until the inspector comes daily to check cleanliness. If the inspector finds anything wrong that morning, the butchers were on hold until the cleaning service came in to rectify the issue, call the inspector back to ok everything, then they could start cutting for the day again.
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Re: FDA “hurdles”

Post by Butterbean » Thu May 30, 2019 17:37

Agoracritus wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 01:04

Good food for thought. I guess the bottom line is that as long as you do things right, the burden of proof is on anyone who tries to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, even if they have some kind of badge of authority.
Its been my experience the reverse is true. Friend opened a restaurant and inspector told her that her door opened the wrong way and she'd have to change the door before he'd issue her a permit. She did. He came back and told her he was mistaken and the door was right the first time and she had to change it back before he'd issue her a permit.
LOUSANTELLO wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 02:20
You could be doing everything by the book, but if the inspector says you cant use a residential facility to make food to resell it, that’s the way it could be.

Excellent point. I know where this actually happened to a food inspector who saw a way she could make money after inspecting other people's businesses. She spent $60,000 on a kitchen and got all her food permits in order only to learn there was a city ordinance that prevented her from running a commercial enterprise in this location. Talk about an expensive lesson in regulation.


I have a dream of opening something someday. I have purchased the property in an excellent location and have plans drawn up to build everything and even have the finances to do it without borrowing a dime. However I am conservative by nature and before I invest anymore in this venture I decided to build a test kitchen to see what the regulations would be like. Its been a learning experience for sure. I am licensed to sell a lot of what I make however at the moment I have to hand it to the buyer which limits me to Farmer's Markets or on site sales and if you consider your time I don't think Farmer's markets are really that good of a place to sell things unless you simply enjoy socializing because the market will clear more on your product than you will. This is why I prefer a store front and possibly even labelling some products and letting others sell them.
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