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Michigan Apple to host cider safety training

Contact: Cindy Reisig
(517) 669-8353

(East Lansing, Mich.) – Cider makers across the state are invited to participate in a two-day seminar next month that will train participants on food safety.

“Food Safety for Cider Mills” will be offered March 10 and 11 at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU).   

As part of the plan to retain a non-pasteurization option for cider in Michigan, the Michigan Cider Safety Task Force has worked to upgrade the state's apple cider food safety measures.  In addition to the 50-point Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) that the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) currently uses in an inspection, the Task Force worked, with industry consensus, to implement the requirement that every Michigan cider mill have a certified food safety specialist on premises.  This is now law and enforcement will begin this fall.

By taking the course, offered through the Michigan Apple Association (MAA), a cider mill will be certified for the next five years.  The class will be instructed by Dr. Les Bourquin who has worked with MDA to develop a food safety program specific to cider.  Complete class outline is available at www.MichiganAppleAssociation.com.

Bourquin is an associate professor and food safety specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at MSU.  His research focuses on the impacts of public and private food safety standards, barriers to their acceptance and effective implementation by the food industry, and the potential impacts of these standards on public health.

During the training, Bourquin will be joined by Mike Lally who has worked extensively with cider manufacturers in Michigan.  Lally is the senior food safety inspector with the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Food and Dairy Division.  He has been with MDA since 1990 and holds a B.S. in Food Science from MSU.

At the end of course, a multiple-choice test will be administered, and those who score 80 percent or higher will be sent an attractive, framed certificate of completion for their cider mill retail space.  This will satisfy MDA inspection requirements, and make a strong quality statement to cider mill customers.  Up to six Pesticide Re-certification Fruit Crop Credits will be available for private applicators who attend the training.

Advanced registration is required. Cost of the session is $190 for MAA members, $210 for Michigan growers and $250 for out-of-state growers. 

Discounts are available for cider mills with more than one employee and for mills that belong to the Michigan Cider Guild. 

Registration form may be obtained by contacting Cindy Reisig, MAA education coordinator, at (517) 669-8353 ext. 38 or education@michiganappleassociation.com.  For hotel reservations, please call 1-800-875-5090 and ask for the special Cider Maker rate.