- Animal Products: dairy
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, value added
- Sustainable Communities: public policy
“Artisanal agrifood processing and food safety regulation: Responding to the concerns of small processors and regulators in Michigan” investigates 1) processors’ views of and experiences with regulations and inspections, and 2) food safety regulators’ experiences with and perceptions of artisanal agrifood processing. Both groups agree on the importance of bridging their often differing perspectives. The study takes a qualitative approach, and its implementation and evaluation are guided by an advisory committee representing processors and regulators. Approximately 36 in-depth, semi-structured interviews will be held with processors, and 12 will be held with food regulators. Project timeline is October 2011 to December 2012. Outputs include: 1) processor guidelines to help processors meet regulations cost-effectively 2) regulatory guidelines for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 3) a stakeholder report for practitioners in both groups
Project objectives from proposal:
Short term outcomes: The study will improve processor knowledge about regulatory compliance and inspections; identify ways in which inspector directives and trainings can be improved; increase regulator awareness of small processor educational needs; and improve each group's understanding of the other's perspectives and expectations.
Intermediate term outcomes: It is expected that small processors will achieve more cost-effective compliance with regulations; regulatory inspections, materials, and communication with processors will improve; and food safety policy may change.
Long term outcomes: These changes are expected to improve profitability and sustainability of small processing, stimulate Michigan’s small agrifood sector, and enhance quality of life for agrifood producers, rural communities, and society as a whole.