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Starting a New Food Business Workshop 2019

Starting a New Food Business hosted its 10th annual workshop September 3-4, 2019 in Marietta, GA. This workshop addressed many concerns of the Georgia’s food entrepreneurs who are just getting started. Workshop participants’ products ranged from pepper jams, roasted pecans, low sugar cakes to delicious salsa. In this two-day workshop, participants learned the best practices for developing their products, branding and marketing strategies,  and including their potential customer demographics.

The first day of the workshop hosted presenters from the UGA Extension faculty and Athens’ Small Business Development Center. Dr. Anand Mohan, Associate Professor and course coordinator, started the course with his presentation, “Am I a Food Entrepreneur”. This presentation listed the characteristics of a food entrepreneur and explained the participants “what is your why” for starting a new food business. Attendees also learned that failure could serve as a teachable option to learn how to better manage your business.

Drs. Koushik Adhikari and Kevin Mis Solval, are food science extension specialist from the UGA Griffin Campus. They presented “Product Development and Acceptability” talk with a hands-on group project.

Participants were grouped into 5 sub-groups and tasked to develop 3 different products: BBQ Sauce, Fresh Salsa, and Jam. Their task was to create a plan to develop their product. One of the group’s biggest takeaways was to advertise their food to companies outside of their food category. Dr. Adhikari gave the example of a prominent drink brand using tailgating commercials to promote not only their drink but also BBQ sauces on meat and salsa and chips. These pairings can be very beneficial for both businesses.

The third session of the day was comprised by Dr. Ben Campbell of UGA’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and David Stob of Athens’ Small Business Development Center. Dr. Campbell’s pricing formula gave participants a new perspective on how to price their products. The method of having all of the components balancing each other out would bring great profit, however, if the product costs less than the amount of money to make it, the product will fail and the producer will not make any profit. Mr. David Stob gave participants ten fundamental steps of creating a business plan.

To end the day, our Program Coordinator of Technical Services, Derell Hardman, facilitated a microbiology lab. This was a hands-on demonstration of employee personal hygiene experiment. Participants learned steps to clean, wash, and sanitize their hands before touching and handling food products and ingredients. For this hands-on demonstration, attendees were given three petri dishes. The first petri contained an imprint of fingers that had not been washed. Next, participants washed their hands and place their fingers on the second dish. Lastly, participants wash their hands and sanitize their hands and imprinted on the third petri dishes. Attendees were surprised to watch bacteria growing on imprinted microbiological plates  with their un-washed and washed hands.  Although they do not know the results, the knowledge gained has encouraged them to wash their hands and sanitize before they enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner sponsored by Chef Jesse Spikes of Jesse James Outlaw BBQ. He served his infamous ribs, chicken wings, cole-slaw, and potato salad.

Day two started with Mr. Derell Hardman’s presentation on “Food Quality and Shelf Life”. This presentation showed the importance of getting a shelf life test for their product so that microorganisms do not disrupt the quality of the food. Mr. Hardman emphasized to attendees that an analysis as simple as a shelf-life test can determine when a product will lose it’s quality and compositional integrity.

Our next speaker, Linda Mahan and Jeannie Powell, talked about “Getting Your Product into the Marketplace”. Both Mahan and Powell emphasized the importance of labeling products correctly while also being eye-catching. The pair additionally introduced many to the program “Georgia Grown” which was started by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. Mahan and Powell explained the requirements to be an official Georgia Grown member which would allow the logo to be placed on their products.

Next on the agenda was Natalie Adan from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She assured the attendees that the GDA is in place to help them, not to be their enemy. Adan urges them to use the GDA as a resource to stay in compliance with their regulations. She also broke down the different departments of the agency and offered insight on obtaining a cottage license for our attendees who produce non-potentially hazard products.

Dr. Kent Wolfe of UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development presented demographics and statistical figures of consumer preferences on food products in “Knowing Your Customers”. This presentation of comparing millennials and baby boomers allowed participants to understand who would be the main consumer of their products. “An Overview of Intellectual Property” by lawyer Matthew Hoots detailed the twelve trademark regulations that attendees should be aware of before they try to trademark their band. Mr. Hoots was able to show real life examples from his clients as well as other known brands. Lastly, the workshop ended with Julie Farr of Shared Kitchens, Doug Marranci of PrepAtlanta, and Lauren Hatcher with UGA Extension, in the roundtable discussion. They were able to answer questions about the benefits of using a shared kitchen and co-packer. Hatcher also offered advice for using UGA’s FoodPic lab for consumer testing.

The workshop ended with “Taste of Georgia” where participants get to try each other’s products and vote for a People’s Choice. This year, we had three first place winners: Celebrity Fit Lifestyle, Chef J, Nonna’s Nuts, and Old Mountain Top Farms. Our next Starting a New Food Business Workshop will be held April 7-8, 2020.

View workshop pictures here:  Workshop Pictures

Food Science and Technology Extension express their sincere thanks to Cobb County FACS Agent Zohregul Soltanmammedova (Zoe), Jeff Miller (Extension Coordinator – Northwest District), Kisha Faulk (FACS Program Development Coordinator, Northwest District) Asha Mathis and Derell Hardman for their valuable contributions.

Bison meat and E. coli outbreak

Ground bison meat has been linked to an E. coli outbreak in seven states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-one people in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have been infected with the E. coli O103 and O121 strains. CDC and FDA has launched an investigation into cases of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O103 and O121 strains.

According to CDC, 21 people infected with the outbreak strains and eight of those people were hospitalized. So far, no deaths or cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, have been reported.  HUS is a disease condition that can occur when blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged and cause clots to form in the vessels. The clots in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure, which could be life-threatening. Some of the initial stage sign and symptoms  of HUS may include:

  • Diarrhea, which is often bloody
  • Abdominal pain, cramping or bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Food contaminated with E. coli O121 and O103 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die. If you known someone who may be experiencing similar, please ask them to talk to their healthcare provider, write down what they ate in the week prior to becoming sick, report their illness to the health department and assist public health investigators by answering questions about their illness.

FDA has posted the details of Food Recall Warning on their website. The FDA also posted photos of the bar code labels on its website. They show the products, packaged between February 22 and April 30, under the names of Fossil Farms, Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch and SayersBrook Bison Ranch. Please visit:

For your information: FDA regulates bison meat because the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) has NOT been assigned authority to inspect bison meat under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

What you should do?

If you are a food service and/or food processing operation and believe that you have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated meat products in your facility, you should:

  • Contact your local health department and let them know regarding your possible exposure to a pathogen.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and counter-tops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods;
  • Sanitize everything all contaminated all food contact surfaces with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.


PHOTO: Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. of St. Leonard, Quebec is recalling its Bison Burgers & Bison Ground because they have the potential to be contaminated with E. coli: O121 and O103.


Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli 103 Infections

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed 17 cases of E. coli O103 infection in Georgia. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the number of cases is expected to increase. These illnesses are part of a multistate E. coli outbreak sickening nearly 100 people in five states. There are no reports of death in the outbreak.

A specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of these infections.

People usually get sick from E. coli O103 an average of 3-4 days after swallowing the germ. Symptoms of E. coli O103 include diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing complications from E. coli infection.

CDC, several states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 infections. This investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections.

Highlights of the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 Outbreak:

Ways to prevent E. coli infection include:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats properly.
  • Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Keep raw meats separate from foods that won’t be cooked before eating.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with soap after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and other dairy products, and unpasteurized juice.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

For more information about E. coli O103 log on to

For more information about safe food handling and preparation log on to

Hygienic Zoning for Sanitation Preventive Control

Zoning or segregation of food processing areas presents a unique environment for the food processors to identify area of potentially risk for microbiological cross-contamination. The facility design outlines offers risk-based hazard assessment to determine potential sources of contamination, traffic patterns, employee hygienic practices, and suitable preventive control measure for these areas.
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