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  Health Inspectors Hold Seminar on Maple Inspection

Producers are reminded that those who sell maple syrup from their farm, farm market or roadside stand may be inspected by their county health departments

 

Judy Fox, Noble County Department of Health, (front row second from left) reviews proper packing techniques for maple syrup during the February 21 seminar and tour of Yoder’s Sugar Bush conducted by the Northeast Indiana Chapter of the Indiana Environmental Health Association.  Fox is joined by (back row left to right) Jerry Thomas, Indiana State Department of Health; Scott Wagner, Whitley County Department of Health; and Rob DeBeck, ISDH. In the front along with Fox are Tom McCue, Allen County Department of Health; Traci Hoover, Huntington County Department of Health; and Jennifer Coleman, Wells County Department of Health.

Members of the northeast Indiana Chapter of the Indiana Environmental Health Association as well as officials from the Indiana State Department of Health met February 21, 2008 at Yoder's Sugar Bush in northern Allen County for a seminar on inspection of maple sugaring operations. Members of the Fort Wayne and Allen County Health Department hosted the event for some twenty-five health inspectors from the 16 counties in NE Indiana.

Judy Fox of the Food and Consumer Protection Division of the Noble County Department of Health and Larry Yoder from Yoder’s Sugar Bush conducted the session.  

As attendees toured the Yoder Sugar House, Ms. Fox explained how, through the use of portable hand washing stations and proper collection and processing of the maple sap, requirements for food safety can be met even in a rustic setting.

The group then visited facilities at the farmstead where the syrup is packed for retail sale.

At the sugar bush the group enjoyed a pancake and sausage lunch topped with fresh maple syrup.

Producers are reminded that those who sell maple syrup from their farm, farm market or roadside stand may be inspected by their county health departments under guidelines issued by the Indiana State Department of Health.  The guidelines provide standards for inspection and help Indiana’s maple industry meet existing statutory requirements according to A. Scott Gilliam, Manager of the Indiana State Department of Health’s Food Protection Program.

It is the responsibility of the producer to inform their county health department about their sugaring operation if they are conducting retail sales from their sugar bush.  Their health department will determine whether or not to conduct an inspection.  Inspection fees are set by each county department. 

The Indiana Environmental Health Association is a non profit organization of professional environmental health personnel who are responsible for various aspects of environmental health for federal, state and local governments, schools, medical care facilities, industries, trade organizations and solid waste districts.

The Yoder Sugar Bush is a popular site for school field trips conducted under the auspices of the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College.  Some 1100 students will visit during the season.