Food safety short course offered for Alaska producers

March 9, 2017

Contact:

food in jars

Chris Sannito looks forward to helping Alaska food producers understand and comply with a new food regulation, because safer food is good for business. Sannito and Brian Himelbloom, Alaska Sea Grant seafood specialists, will teach the class Preventive Controls for Human Food to Alaska food processors April 12–14 in Kodiak.

The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011, focuses on preventing food contamination rather than responding to it.

“This should make our food supply even safer. For example, there are tighter controls on allergens and import products,” said Sannito. “It will cause producers to be proactive instead of reactive to food safety. Also, under this rule pet foods will become safer.”

The main audience for the Alaska course is commercial food producers, including small, medium and large processors. Eventually all food importers, producers, manufacturers and transporters will need to comply with this regulation, according to Sannito. “But there are delays in implementing and enforcing the rules for small businesses,” he said.

In 2016, Sannito and Himelbloom traveled out of state to attend instructional training to deliver the course.

Food producers who take the course will learn how to develop food safety plans to minimize or prevent hazards. Some examples of preventive controls are sanitation procedures for food contact surfaces, employee hygiene training, environmental monitoring to verify pathogen controls, and a recall plan.

The three-day course will be taught at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, a University of Alaska Fairbanks facility.

Alaska Sea Grant is a statewide marine research, education, and outreach program, and is a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agents provide assistance that helps Alaskans wisely use, conserve, and enjoy marine and coastal resources.