A new international grading system for maple syrup and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new food safety requirements for maple syrup producers will be two of the featured topics at 2014’s Ohio Maple Days.
The workshops are scheduled for Jan. 23 in Morrow County, Jan. 24 for Wayne and Holmes counties, and Jan. 25 in Geauga County. The topics will be the same at each location.
“The laws and regulations to produce any type of food are changing, and maple products are no different,” said organizer Gary Graham, a specialist and educator with Ohio State University Extension. “There’s a mandatory registration process with the FDA, and the grades for maple syrup are changing internationally and nationally.
“Participants will learn all about these changes and will go home with materials to help them bring their operations into compliance.”
The workshops are timed to help producers get ready for the coming season. Both hobby and commercial producers are welcome.
The locations of the workshops are:
• Jan. 23, Morrow County, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lutheran Memorial Camp, 2790 State Route 61, Fulton.
• Jan. 24, Wayne and Holmes counties, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Mennonite Christian Assembly Church, 10664 Fryburg Road near Fredericksburg.
• Jan. 25, Geauga County, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Joe J.S. Miller’s Window Shop, 15020 Shedd Road, Burton.
The topics at each workshop will be:
• FDA’s Food Safety and Modernization Act and how to comply with its new regulations
• How to identify and prevent off flavors. Participants may bring an off-flavored sample from their operation for identification.
• The International Maple Syrup Institute’s new grading system. The system will start with the 2014 season and be phased in over the next three years.
• How to enter a maple syrup and maple confections contest.
• Whether voluntary or mandatory food safety inspection is better for an operation. A key to the decision is what the operation produces.
• How to use and take care of a hydrometer for testing maple syrup.
The speakers at the workshops will be:
• Henry Marckres, chief, Consumer Protection, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, who serves as a maple specialist for Vermont and the entire North American maple industry.
• Dan Milo, food safety supervisor, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety, who is a hobby maple producer himself and has been working with the new food safety regulations.
• Graham, who coordinates Ohio State’s Ohio Maple Program and is the OSU Extension specialist for Ohio’s maple syrup industry.
There will also be a trade show, reports from OSU Extension and the Ohio Maple Producers Association, testing of hydrometers and Vermont Temporary Maple Syrup Grading Kits (participants are encouraged to bring hydrometers and kits for testing; the testing will have a small additional fee), and a session called “Maple Nuggets” for sharing questions, ideas and information.
Pre-registration, which includes lunch, costs $30 and is due by Jan. 13. Payment at the door is $35 and doesn’t include lunch.
Participants should send their name, contact information, and check or money order (made payable to OSU Extension) to OSU Extension, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691.
The workshop flier, which includes a registration form, may be downloaded at http://go.osu.edu/Zbs (pdf).
To receive a copy of the flier and registration form in the mail or for other questions, call 330-263-3831.