Workshop provides guidance on starting food business

TIFTON, Ga. -- Have you dreamed about starting a new food business? Do you make a barbecue sauce or snack product that everyone enjoys?

If so, the upcoming "Starting a New Food Business in Georgia" workshop on May 15-16 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center can show you how to bring your product to the masses.

Co-sponsored by the UGA Food Science and Technology Extension Outreach Program and the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, this workshop will address many of the concerns of the food entrepreneur just getting started.

"It's a good opportunity for food business entrepreneurs to get answers to their questions and to network with others," said workshop coordinator Dr. Anand Mohan. "Even someone with zero knowledge of the industry would gain the information needed to get a food business started."

The workshop will address many concerns facing food entrepreneurs, such as "Should I produce my product myself or have a co-packer do it?" "What federal and state food safety and licensing regulations will I have to meet?" and "How do I get started?"

Other topics expected to be discussed include writing a food safety plan, sanitation, product testing for safety, packaging, marketing and business plan development, proper canning or bottling techniques, effective record keeping, and handling product recalls.

Representatives from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, UGA Food Science Department, the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, and the Albany SBDC will provide training and participate in the panel discussion.

Pre-registration is required with a deadline of Thursday. Registration is limited to 50 participants. Go to the EFS calendar at http://EFSonline.uga.edu to register online with a credit card. Cost to attend is $150.

A participant from the workshop held in Athens in April stated, "This is a great class that allows you to get all of the food requirements for your product in one location."

Two more "Starting a New Food Business in Georgia" workshops will be offered this year -- Sept. 24-25 in Athens and at the Historic Bamboo Garden near Savannah on Nov. 13-14, 2013. For more information call (706) 542-0272 or email efsuga.edu

Clint Thompson is information coordinator for the University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tifton.