The Penn State Extension is offering two educational events for the food industry in April 2024. The first event, a webinar on April 9, will help dairy processors prepare for third-party audits. The second event, an in-person workshop in New Holland, Pennsylvania on April 29, will help discuss small-scale commercial canning of acid and acidified foods.

On April 9, 2024, Penn State Extension will host a free webinar, titled, “Preparing for a Third-Party Audit,” intended for small or medium-sized dairy-foods processors or those who are interested in value-added dairy-foods processing. Although aimed at the dairy industry, any food processor can benefit from attending. The webinar will guide attendees through the process of preparing for a third-party audit, also covering topics like the types of third-party audits and the basic components evaluated by an audit. Additionally, the webinar also will address the process of being audited and the importance of corrective action to respond to negative audit findings. Attendees must register by April 9 to attend.

On April 29, 2024 Penn State Extension will offer a day-long intensive workshop, titled, “Commercial Canning of Acid and Acidified Foods.” The workshop will take place from 8:30 A.M.–4:30 P.M. at Yoder’s Country Market Restaurant and Buffet, 14 S. Tower Road, New Holland, Pennsylvania. Preregistration is required by 11:45 P.M. on April 15. The $50 registration fee includes an onsite buffet lunch.

The course is aimed at smaller-scale commercial processors of shelf-stable acid and acidified foods packaged in glass jars or bottles; individuals considering starting a new food business; growers interested in adding value to their annual harvest; and educators and organizations with programs to support entrepreneurs starting new food businesses. Participants will learn about:

  • State and federal canning regulations
  • Microbiology relevant to food processing
  • Acidification methods for food preservation
  • Thermal processing techniques such as hot-fill-hold and water bath methods
  • Requirements for containers, closures, and labeling
  • Production techniques for jams, jellies, dressings, sauces, fermented foods, and low-acid foods
  • Skills to ensure the safety and quality of shelf-stable products
  • Strategies to enhance food processing capabilities
  • Methods to add value to annual harvests for growers.
  • Insights into entrepreneurship in the food sector.