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Domestic Kitchens No Longer Need Certification

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Inspections, permits no longer required for individuals selling baked goods, jams and jellies produced in home kitchens with proper signage

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed into law a bill that brings changes to how foods produced in home kitchens are regulated. The changes are effective immediately.

The new law allows Tennesseans who manufacture for sale non-potentially hazardous foods – baked goods, candy, jams and jellies, for example – in a home kitchen to forgo inspection and permitting by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Regulatory Services Division.

Individuals who choose to forgo inspection under the new law must display signage alerting consumers. However, all home kitchen food manufacturers, permitted or not, are still required to label products using the common name of ingredients by predominance and to provide a net quantity statement.

“The intent of the new law is to allow home kitchen manufacturers to offer certain foods without regulatory oversight by posting appropriate notice to consumers,” TDA Regulatory Services director Jimmy Hopper said. “However, the department still provides an opportunity for home or domestic kitchen manufacturers to become licensed in order to demonstrate a level of competency and to provide some assurance to their customers regarding food safety.”

“Previously, food manufacturers wishing to manufacture non-potentially hazardous foods such as baked goods, candy, jams and jellies in their domestic kitchen were required to receive certification in a food safety course and adhere to all regulations outlined in Chapter 0080-4-11, including to be permitted as a food manufacturer in order to sell their goods throughout the state,” said Dr. Faith Critzer, University of Tennessee assistant professor of Food Science and Technology and UT Extension food safety specialist.

Now individuals who manufacture non-potentially hazardous foods may sell them without inspection or permits at their residence, community social events, flea markets and farmers markets located in the state, but they must display an 8.5-by-11-inch sign with 0.75-inch font at the place of sale stating, “These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected.” Other stipulations such as product labeling requirements can be found in the legislation, SB3547/HB3302.

Domestic kitchen manufacturers still can request to have their kitchen inspected and permitted by the TDA Regulatory Services Division. Products manufactured in a licensed domestic kitchen may be offered for sale and marketed through any venue such as grocery stores or restaurants.

“Farmers market managers also may elect to require vendors to manufacture foods for sale in an inspected and permitted facility,” Critzer continued. “Your facility and practices would need to meet all the requirements outlined in Chapter 0080-4-11 regulations for establishments utilizing domestic kitchen facilities for bakery and other non-potentially hazardous foods intended for sale.”

While under the new law domestic kitchen manufacturers are not required to undergo inspection and permitting, they will be held liable if their product causes someone to become ill with food poisoning or have an allergic reaction because of improper labeling.

And although food safety training is no longer required for domestic kitchen manufacturers under the new law, it is highly encouraged by state food safety officials.

“The training educates participants on the principles of food microbiology and how to safely manufacture foods,” said Critzer. “This knowledge can be pertinent for individuals who are new to manufacturing food or even for those who have been around the food manufacturing or food service industries for some time.”

Training is offered by the University of Tennessee Department of Food Science and Technology in classes taught throughout the state as well as online. More information is available at http://tiny.utk.edu/kitchencert.

Training topics covered include an introduction to food microbiology, good manufacturing practices, cleaning and sanitation, hazard analysis and critical control points, allergens, and product labeling.

For more information about training, contact Nancy Austin in the Department of Food Science and Technology at 865-974-7717 or naustin@utk.edu.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.


UT EXT Offering Online Domestic Kitchen Certification Course

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Earning certification to prepare, manufacture and sell certain foods from a home kitchen is now more convenient for Tennesseans thanks to a new online training module from University of Tennessee Extension.

Domestic Kitchen Food Safety Training, which launched Wednesday, Feb. 1, provides instruction centered around the state’s Domestic Kitchen Rule. The rule allows people to commercially prepare, manufacture and sell non-potentially hazardous foods in the home while ensuring the public’s health is protected.

Examples of non-potentially hazardous foods include jams, jellies, candies and certain baked goods.
UT’s Office of Information Technology has transformed the course from a traditional classroom format to the new online version. For those who prefer face-to-face training, the course will continue to be taught in a traditional classroom setting several times per year.

Participants who successfully complete the program earn certification from the University of Tennessee Food Science and Technology Extension program. Certification is the first step toward meeting requirements to manufacture non-potentially hazardous foods in a domestic kitchen.

Foods are considered non-potentially hazardous if they do not consist mainly of meat, poultry, liquid eggs, partially cooked egg products, fish, milk and milk products, shellfish, partially cooked bakery products, or other ingredients susceptible to the rapid growth of microorganisms when stored out of recommended temperature ranges for cold or hot foods.
Other prohibited foods include low-acid canned vegetables and acidified foods such as salsa or pickled vegetables.

Individuals interested in forming a catering business (made-to-order birthday cakes, wedding cakes, etc.) are not required to take the course and should contact a local health department for information regarding regulations.

In addition, individuals with an inside pet of any kind will not qualify as a food manufacturer under the Domestic Kitchen Rule.

Tennessee residents seeking the online certification should visit the UT Extension Online Learning website at http://tiny.utk.edu/kitchencert beginning Feb. 1. The course fee is $75, which is payable online. First-time site users must create an account.

For more information, contact Nancy Austin in the Department of Food Science and Technology at 865-974-7717 or naustin@utk.edu.

Rutherford County Farmers’ Market Extends Season

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Life on the farm doesn’t stop when it gets cold! Many vegetables can be harvested well past frost, such as salad and cooking greens, kale, and winter squash. Also available late in the year from farms are fresh eggs, honey, beef, pork, preserves, and baked goods. From November 6 to December 18, the Rutherford County Farmers’ Market (RCFM) will be open every Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5pm at the Lane Agri-Park Community Center, in Murfreesboro.

During the Extended Season, market vendors will have holiday gifts, fall greens, winter squash, sweet potatoes, local honey, grass-fed beef, fresh eggs, herbs, firewood, chestnuts, poinsettias, Christmas trees, fresh greenery, kettle corn, jams & jellies, breads & sweets, and a variety of other local products. All RCFM producers are from Middle Tennessee and grow, harvest, or make what they sell.

Murfreesboro’s Five Senses Restaurant, known for offering a southern gourmet menu, will be at the RCFM on opening day this Sunday and again on December 4 to demonstrate cooking techniques using seasonal vegetables and to pass out samples. There will be a drawing on both days for a Dinner for Two at Five Senses worth $75.

This Extended Season of the RCFM will have a festive flair with different musical performers each market day. Rutherford County natives, Daniel Rothwell and Thomas Maupin, will be performing at the RCFM on Sunday, November 27. The award-winning banjo/buckdancing duo was a regular at the RCFM when the market was located at Cannonsburgh Village in downtown Murfreesboro.

The RCFM is located at the Lane Agri-Park Community Center on John R. Rice Blvd. in Murfreesboro. Contact Janie Becker, Market Manager at jbecker8@utk.edu or 615-898-7710 for more information.