Right for You?
There are a few basic rules to follow when becoming a client of the Food Works Kitchen. First and foremost, the kitchen is a place to help your business grow. Food products must be for resale and not personal consumption (well OK you can have a taste now and then but you get the idea.)
Secondly, not all food production is created equally. There are Michigan guidelines in place to protect producers and consumers when it comes to food quality and safety. We highly recommend calling our contact Dan Dickinson at the Michigan Department of Agriculture, for a free screening of your product idea. He can be reached at 989.239.1323.
To give you an idea of how products are screened, know that most foods fall into one of four categories:
ACID or LOW WATER ACTIVITY-These foods are easily produced and processed in the Food Works Kitchen, with proper licensing and training. Examples these foods are baked goods, spice mixes, teas, batters, candies, nuts, jams and jellies. Frozen foods, and catered meals made in the kitchen are also acceptable.
ACIDIFIED - These foods have ingredients added that potentially bring them back down to acid based and properly produced. In order to produce acidified foods, there are additional steps to take including a ‘Process Authority Review’, which looks at ingredients and process steps; additional state licensing; and ‘Better Process Control’ training requirements. Please note that there are much more stringent requirements for acidified foods. Examples of these foods include: salsa, pickled foods. Click here for acidified food requirements.
LOW ACID – Our Food Works Kitchen is not equipped to handle processed low acid foods. Specialized equipment, monitoring, and licensing are required to maintain food safety. Examples of low acid foods would be canned vegetables.
MEAT BASED ITEMS-Meat items such as jerky, need federal inspection (USDA) to be wholesaled. Also, any food items containing meat such as spaghetti sauce, pizza, etc. falls into this category. Sandwiches, such as a ham & cheese sub sandwich are exempt from this rule and could be processed in the Foodworks Kitchen.
Third, will you be selling retail or wholesale? Guidelines are somewhat different based on your distribution plans. Again, a phone call screening can clarify these differences.
If the Food Works Kitchen sounds right for you and your business, click on the How to Apply. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping to taste test your product!