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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, pron. EM-dard

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.

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Laws and Licensing

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.

Michigan food and dairy laws are listed at,4610,7-125-50772_45851_61711—,00.html.

Whom to Contact?

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

Food and Dairy Laws and 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


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

A webinar participant online 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

  • Michigan’s Grade A Milk Law (fluid milk, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese)
  • Michigan’s Manufacturing Milk Law (ice cream, butter cheese, dried milk products)
  • The FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO, FDA’s sanitary regulation for Grade A dairy products that are sold interstate)

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

Michigan adopts the FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) as its Grade A Milk law.

Grade A requirements are stricter than Manufacturing Grade requirements. 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.)

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.

Testing Milk and Milk Products for Antibiotic Residues

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.

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:

FSMA was not yet in effect when the webinar took place.

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, academics, dairy industry representatives, and others involved in the dairy industry. Its conference is held every other year.

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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.

Cheese Making Course at Michigan State University

Sue also mentions Michigan State University’s Artisan Hands-On Basic Cheese Making Workshop,

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