Small and medium-sized food processors in the United States have been given a helping hand in complying with environmental regulations thanks to a new website launched this week.
The on-line information centre was rolled out by Purdue University to help companies that may not have the resources to employ specialists to keep up to date with the sheer volume of rules and their legal implications.
Guide to state and federal rules
The site, called the Food Processing Environmental Assistance Center is an “all-encompassing source” for small and medium-sized food processing businesses on “increasingly stringent environmental rules”, said the Purdue Center. It contains federal and state regulations as well as publications aimed at helping processors address issues related to their business.
Kevin Keener, director of the center and Purdue associate professor of food science, said: “Large food processors have full-time staffs devoted to these regulations and activities. The small- and medium-sized processors don't. This is their resource.”
Explaining the complicate nature of the regulatory system, the Purdue Center said: “Most of the rules relate to the treatment and disposal of food processing waste. Often, permitting, monitoring, reporting and other regulatory requirements are implemented by multiple agencies - composting operations may be regulated by the environmental protection agency, department of health and department of agriculture.”
More info to follow
The site gives an overview of the main food processing categories, including meat, poultry, dairy and fruit. In addition to the relevant regulations, the separate sustainability section lays out environmental and compliance guides for food processors in each of the segments
Keener said the website is just the first step and that in the future, the center would offer technical services to processors.
"We're looking to do training, environmental audits checks and workshops on energy efficiency, water use and other topics," he added.
The site also will add industry news to keep processors updated on new regulations or changes in their industry.
The center, has been funded through Purdue, along with nearly $340,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is one of more than a dozen such centers in the country aimed at different industries, such as construction, printing and auto repair.
The site can be reached via the following link