Food-Specific Business Regulations
- Going to Market Publication from Virginia Cooperative Extension- discusses food regulations for Farmer’s Market vendors
- Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s (VDACS) Handbook for Small Food Manufacturers– details the regulations for all types of food processing, a MUST READ as it covers contacts, inspections, labels, food testing and traceability.
- “Options For Value-Added Food Production” PowerPoint presentation
- “Starting a Food Business in Virginia” PowerPoint presentation
Individual manufacturers are responsible for making sure their labels meet federal guidelines. Resources available:
- The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Labeling Guide
- FDA’s Small Business Nutrition Labeling Exemption
- Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s (VDACS) Basic Labeling Requirements
- Food Labeling PowerPoint presentation
- Basic Labeling single page summary
Jars and Lids
All jars and lids must be suitable for the process they will be used for. Please see our FAQ about containers and closures and confirm your containers are suitable BEFORE production. We keep a 5 oz “woozy” bottle, a 12 oz “BBQ sauce” bottle, and a 9 oz jar and their respective CT lids in stock. These jars are available for purchase from us. Other sources include:
- Fillmore Container is a great supplier out of Lancaster, PA.
- A supplier closer to the Cannery is William R. Hill & Co, based in Richmond, Virginia. This is a good choice if you would like to choose a jar in person or live near Richmond and want to pick up your jars to save on shipping.
Product Development and Process Authorities
Process Authorities are food scientists who can write process approval letters. A process approval is required for every recipe produced in the cannery. For farmers/co-packing clients, we have a short list of basic pre-approved recipes to choose from.
The process Authorities listed below also have extensive resources on their page about product development, regulations, and more. Before you submit your recipe for approval, make sure it is in the appropriate pH range, scaled for production, and accurately measured by weight.
- Virginia Tech’s Food Innovation Program
- NC State’s Entrepreneur Program
- Cornell University’s Food Venture Center
- Recipe Scaling guide from Cornell
- Food Nutrition Analysis Companies
Marketing your Food Business
More product development resources:
- Theresa Nartea’s VSU Marketing Presentation Powerpoint presentation on 2019 Marketing Trends
- If you are an agricultural producer, the VDACS marketing team can help you.
Food Safety and Traceability Guidelines
- All food businesses are bound by the Title 21 of the Federal Code of Regulations, Section 110, and are known as Good Manufacturing Practices. This law is not difficult to comprehend and should be read by every food manufacturer.
- The FDA’s Food Safety Plan Builder is a tool to help design a food safety plan from top to bottom, including traceability and a recall plan.
- Examples of sample recall plans are here and here (download editable version here).
- An exhaustive guide from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Section five deals with manufacturers of food products.
General Small Business Help
- Check out your local Small Business Development Center. They offer counseling and have many resources and free online courses available.
- Check our SCORE, a mentor partnership program
- Virginia.gov has great resources on their BusinessOneStop page.