JENIFER BUCKLEY
Policy, Research, Outreach: Environment, Food & Biosecurity
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Policy Implications of the Research

Fostering trust and mutual understanding between processors and their inspectors has considerable potential for improving the regulatory process for small and medium food processors in Michigan. The quality of the rapport between a producer and inspector appears to be as important in improving food safety and achieving regulatory compliance as is the producer’s knowledge of regulations.

As policymakers seek regulatory responses to accommodate small-scale and localized agrifood trends, this research suggests that they focus on the potential benefits of these interactions and not only on the substance of regulations.

I found that the regulatory process worked well for both artisans and inspectors when each party had sought to understand the other’s ways of working, and had developed a rapport involving give-and-take and open communication in resolving differences. Most of these artisans described their inspectors as resources and allies. They gave specific examples of instances in which inspectors had improved artisan operations by improving food safety and assisting with problem-solving. Most of the inspectors described their roles as those of teachers, and they expressed appreciation and curiosity when discussing artisan processing.