Jan. 20, 2016 ~ Clarification

Good morning! I hope you are having a lovely Wednesday. Suzanne Driessen asked me to post this clarification for you. Apparently there has been some confusion concerning food product testing. Not all of the things you make need to be tested, only things that you might be concerned about. Please read the note and important information below, and remember to Ask An Expert if you have any questions or concerns. The folks at the MDA are very helpful.

Clarification on Food Product Testing by a Commercial Lab

Some participants attending the Cottage Foods session at one of the Farmers’ Market Academy, left the training session with the impression that they are required to have all food products tested by a commercial lab. This is a misunderstanding. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Cottage Foods Team has deemed that 95% of  baked goods, fruit based jams and jellies, and dried foods do not need to be tested by a commercial lab. However, for unusual products that include mixing higher water activity products together, for instance in a frosting or baked item, then it may need to be tested. If in doubt, check it out. You can submit your recipe for review to mda.cottagefood@state.mn.us.

For preserved products, eliminate your food safety and quality worries by using a research tested recipe developed and tested by a University, USDA or canning company. Date of source should be 1994 or newer to make sure you are using the safest process. For ‘old family’ or ‘heirloom’ recipes, compare the list of ingredients and processing times with a tested recipe. If they match, you can safely use the recipe. If they don’t, update your recipe or have your product and process analyzed. The good news is that product testing is fairly inexpensive. A cottage food producer reported she had her antipasto product pH tested for $11.50 at Minnesota Valley Testing Lab (507) 354-8517,  New Ulm, MN.

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