For food processors
Becoming a licensed food processor – acidified foods
There are several steps to becoming licensed to start your acidified food processing business. Different people and organizations are involved in different steps.
What are acidified foods?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an acidified food is a low acid food with added acid or acid food(s) to obtain a pH of 4.6 or below, and a water activity greater than 0.85. Typical products include sauces, salsa, pickles, and some jams and jellies.
Learn what you need to know to run a food processing business safely. Each “operating supervisor,” the person who is in the plant at the time the acidified product is processed and packaged, must be certified. Attending an acidified foods or Better Process Control School provides the necessary certification. There is no expiration on the certification.
- University of Minnesota: Acidified Foods Training for Entrepreneurs and Food Processors to become certified as supervisors.
- Better Process Control Schools (includes acidified): Courses are held across the U.S. throughout the year, so check the listing for a variety of options.
- NC State Extension (online): This course is available online and on-demand and allows one year for completion.
NOTE: Completing an acidified food course online or in-person in another state meets Minnesota requirements.
There are generally three options for producing your product:
- Work with a co-packer
- Rent a commercial kitchen
- Set up your own facility. Check with your city, county and Minnesota Department of Health for applicable licenses and regulations.
You will also need to ensure you have appropriate labeling and nutrition information. A good resource for food product development and labeling in Minnesota is the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). They can assist on labeling requirements and nutrition panels.
Licensing and regulations
- Federal regulations for processing acidified foods
- Selling local food products in Minnesota
- Minnesota Department of Health rules for preparing canned goods for sale
- Grow North - A resource and connection hub for Minnesota's food and agriculture entrepreneur ecosystem
- Guide to Regulations for Local Food Entrepreneurs - Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA)
- Starting a Food Business - Minnesota Department of Agriculture