This information has been reviewed and adapted for use in South Carolina by W. Scott Whiteside, Extension Associate, Packaging Science; P.H. Schmutz, HGIC Food Safety Specialist; and E.H. Hoyle, Extension Food Safety Specialist, Clemson University. (New 03/02.)
You may know the ingredients used and how it is made, but there is other information about the product you need before deciding to start a food business:
Importance of pH & Water Activity: These are terms and product properties you will need to know in order to communicate with other people in the industry and to understand how your product may be regulated.
Low-acid Foods: Without proper handling, these foods allow the growth of the potentially deadly toxin produced by bacteria know as Clostridium botulinum. Low-acid foods such as meats and most vegetables, have the following characteristics:
Acid Foods: This category includes foods such as fruits, jams and jellies that have a natural pH below 4.6.
Acidified Foods: This category includes foods such as pickles, salsa, relish and barbecue sauces that have the following characteristics:
Identification of Critical Food Components for Quality & Safety: What food components (such as color, texture, flavor, aroma and moisture) are critical for maintaining the quality of this product?
Consider running consumer or trained sensory panels during product development. Consider contacting someone to do an accelerated shelf-life test for you.
Sanitation: Sanitation includes the physical, chemical and microbiological cleanliness of the manufacturing area, buildings, equipment, personnel, water supply, waste disposal, raw product and finished product. There are two important reasons for establishing and maintaining a good sanitation program.
Economic: Poor sanitation can lead to spoilage that results in production losses.
Legal: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to seize products and criminally prosecute any individual or company for unsanitary conditions.
Packaging: The four basic functions of a package are to contain, protect, inform and facilitate the use of the product.
Protect: The package protects the product from the following hazards:
Consider if any of the logos or designs interfere with existing trademarks or trade dress.
Facilitate Use of Product:
It is also important to address environmental concerns related to the package such as ease of disposal, source reduction, and whether the package is recyclable or reusable.
During the development phases, adherence to the laws and regulations that apply to the product is critical. The details of most laws and regulations can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). It is necessary to read through the sections that apply to the product being developed and determine how to comply with the regulations. State regulations will also apply to the product and production process.
All foods are covered under CFR title 21. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for meat and poultry are covered under CFR title 7. Determine if the food product must be registered with FDA, or if it is a meat product, with USDA.
Universal Product Codes (UPC):
These are the bar codes that are scanned for pricing, but they do much more than that. They can also be used for tracking and shipping information, warehouse and inventory control, and other important data. There are standards that must be followed.Page maintained by: Home & Garden Information Center
This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.