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Free FSMA Training and Consultative Service Program Expanding

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), in partnership with the Center for Dairy Research (CDR), today announced an expansion of their Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative, which provides training and consultative services on new industry regulations contained within the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Launched last year with grant monies from the United States Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture, this free program has already served 72 companies in the dairy products manufacturing and processing industry, and will have the capacity to serve another 15 in 2017-18.

“Mid-sized manufacturers and processors face a FSMA compliance deadline next month, and smaller companies will be expected to meet guidelines in September 2018,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director and Initiative Co-Director.  “Our program stands to help facility managers navigate regulatory language and develop plans that meet the new federal expectations.”

Participating companies receive a copy of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance publication, Preventive Controls for Human Foods, as well as a binder of standard operating procedure templates, forms, and sample FSMA-compliant plans.  Food Safety Educators Jim Mueller and Larry Bell, with the assistance of Initiative Co-Director Marianne Smukowski of the CDR and Matt Mathison of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, then walk quality assurance managers or other dairy products processing staff through the creation of their own plant plan.  Most participating companies will receive two on-site consultations, at no charge.

“This program exists to help make FSMA compliance a less daunting task for dairy products processors – cheesemakers, buttermakers, yogurt and ice cream makers,” said Smukowski.  “Adjusting food safety plans to meet the federal guidelines is easier when you know you have someone to call on to answer questions.”

For more information or to enroll, contact WCMA Communications and Policy Manager Rebekah Sweeney at rsweeney@wischeesemakers.org or via telephone at 608-828-4550.