Business Digest

February 14, 2005

On-farm processing of some foods OK'd; training slated

In an effort to provide more economic opportunities for Maryland farmers, the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has revised its regulations governing food processing to allow farmers whose primary income is from farming to process certain foods on their farms.

The new regulations, which go into effect this month, were developed with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland and local agricultural organizations.

Eight-hour food-processing training sessions to meet licensing requirements will be held next month in Howard, Frederick, St. Mary's and Talbot counties.

Once licensed, a farmer will be allowed to process a limited selection of foods in a home or domestic kitchen on the farm for commercial sales and distribution to wholesale and retail outlets.

Examples of permissible foods are cakes, muffins and cookies; fruit pies; canned acid foods; herbs in vinegar; honey and herb mixtures; and dried fruits and vegetables.

A training session will be held at the Howard County Fairgrounds from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 7. The cost is $15. Registration is due by March 1. No registration will be taken at the door.

To request a registration form: Ginger Myers, 410-313- 6500, or www.cha.state.md. us/ofpchs.

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