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Supplementary Info on Webinar Discussion

This section provides more detail on some of the issues that are raised and the terms and abbreviations that are used during the webinar.

The section is organized thematically, not in the order that things are discussed.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

MDARD's Food and Dairy Division

Webinar panelists talk about “Food” and “Dairy.” What does this mean?

Food and dairy businesses are licensed and inspected by MDARD’s Food and Dairy Division.

Dairy businesses are licensed and inspected by the Dairy Section. Other food businesses are licensed and inspected by the Food Section.


Overview of Food and Dairy Licenses in Michigan

Many different types of licenses may apply to a business. MDARD’s licensing decision tree can help clarify the licenses needed for specific types of food businesses:,4610,7-125-1569-166988–,00.html

Food establishment licensing info:,4610,7-125-1569_16958_16974—,00.html

Dairy licensing info:,4610,7-125-1569_16958_16960—,00.html

Whom to Contact?

The place to start for both Food and Dairy:
MDARD’s Customer Service Center, 800-292-3939

Regional map of Dairy Supervisors and Inspectors:

To identify your Food Inspector, contact MDARD’s Customer Service Center, 800-292-3939.

Licensing Seasonal Dairy Production

During the webinar, Sue Spagnuolo mentions that she produces cheese seasonally and is “turned off for the winter.”

This means that in the fall, she stops milking her goats and making cheese. Her dairy inspector pulls her license and reinstates it when she starts again in the spring.

The inspector pulls the license because MDARD tests samples from dairy facilities every month. Sue would not be able to meet these testing requirements when she is not in production and has no samples to test.


Panelists discuss specific laws and regulations related to food and dairy in Michigan and the federal Food Safety Modernization Act. There is also mention of organizations whose work relates to dairy standards and regulations.

Food Law

Michigan Food Law:

Process Authority/Process Controller and
Low-Acid and Acidified Foods

Gordon Robinson and Laurie Sorensen refer to process authorities, or process controllers. A process authority is a person whom the FDA recognizes as an expert in processing foods that have low acidity.

High acidity minimizes the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. Foods that have low acid content are therefore considered potentially hazardous. Vegetables–and even tomatoes–tend to have low enough acidity to be considered potentially hazardous.

If processors make food products using vegetables or other ingredients that have low acidity, FDA requires extra steps to ensure food safety. Processors are required to take a process control class, and their process must be reviewed by a process authority. This is also the case for processors who increase the acidity of low-acid foods such as by adding vinegar.

Acidity is measured in terms of pH. There is an inverse relationship between acidity and pH. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity of the food.

Michigan’s Cottage Food Law

An online webinar viewer asks about the Cottage Food Law. The Cottage Food Law is a section of Michigan Food Law. It was passed in 2010 to allow home processors who meet certain requirements to sell homemade foods without obtaining a license:,4610,7-125-50772_45851-240577–,00.html

Dairy Laws

Overview of Dairy Laws

  • Michigan’s Grade A Milk Law
  • Michigan’s Manufacturing Milk Law
  • The FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)

Dairy products in Michigan are either Grade A or Manufacturing Grade.

Grade A requirements are stricter than Manufacturing Grade requirements.

Michigan adopts the FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) as its Grade A Milk law.
Michigan’s Grade A Milk Law also includes all the provisions for licensing, producer security, administrative fines and enforcement, and anything else that is Michigan specific. (Thanks to Gordon for providing this additional information after the webinar.)

Dairy Laws: Grade A

Michigan’s Grade A Milk Law is a set of sanitary standards for minimally processed dairy products:

  • fluid milk
  • yogurt
  • sour cream
  • cottage cheese

Summary of Requirements for Michigan Dairy Processing Plants:

Full text of Michigan’s Grade A Milk Law:

Dairy Laws: Manufacturing Grade

Michigan’s Manufacturing Milk Law is a set of sanitary standards for:

  • ice cream
  • butter
  • cheese
  • dried milk products

Full text of the Manufacturing Milk Law:

Dairy Laws: The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)

The PMO is the FDA’s sanitary regulation for dairy products that are sold interstate:

  • fluid milk
  • yogurt
  • sour cream
  • cottage cheese

Michigan adopts the PMO as its Grade A Milk law.

For example, Gordon Robinson refers to Appendix N of the PMO. So does Sue Spagnuolo when she mentions her lab. Appendix N requires that milk and milk products be tested for antibiotic drug residues. Like some cheesemakers, Sue conducts her own antibiotic tests. She has licensed a small area of her facility as a laboratory and has been trained to conduct these tests.

Full text of the PMO:

Other Information Related to Regulations

The Federal Food Safety Modernization Act

This is the federal-level reform of food safety laws that was passed in 2011:

As mentioned during the webinar, the act is not yet in effect. The public comment period has been extended until September 16, 2013:

3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc.

Gordon Robinson mentions the 3-A Committee. 3-A SSI is a non-profit organization that sets sanitary standards for equipment design for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries.

National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments

Gordon also mentions NCIMS, or the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments. This is a non-profit organization made up of regulators, dairy industry representatives, academics, and others involved in the dairy industry. Its conference is held every other year.

Information About Processors and Processing

Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA)

Sue Spagnuolo mentions the Michigan Farmers Market Association:

Michigan State University Product Center

Sue mentions the help that she received through MSU’s Product Center. The Product Center provides assistance to Michigan’s food and agriculture entrepreneurs:

Farmstead Cheese

Sue is a farmstead cheesemaker. This means that she makes cheese using milk only from her own animals. She does not buy milk from other farmers.

Cheesemaking Course at Michigan State University

Sue also mentions Michigan State University’s cheesemaking course. Dr. John Partridge ( teaches the course each year in March during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week). This article describes the course that was offered in March 2013: