The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a Division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, has announced expanded criteria for SMADC’s food testing reimbursement funding.

Launched in the fall of 2021, SMADC’s Reimbursement Funding Initiative underwrites the cost of certified laboratory testing services to verify safety and stability parameters that may be required by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) for ‘retail’ sales of certain farm-produced cottage foods. Eligible reimbursement criteria is now expanded to include value-added processed foods such as pickles, dehydrated foods, further processed honey, etc.

“The cost of lab services in combination with regulatory upgrades for on-farm kitchen compliance or commercial kitchen rental fees often inhibit farmers from exploring the production of processed food products that can add value to their farm-grown fruits and vegetables,” commented Susan McQuilkin, SMADC Marketing Executive. “We hope the lab test reimbursement initiative will help to alleviate the cost burden and incentivize more farmers to consider value-added food production.” 

SMADC will reimburse the cost of certified laboratory tests and process review validation up to $250 for one recipe for up to 10 farmers/producers, on a first come first served basis as funds are available. Reimbursement funding is available to farmers/producers actively farming in one of the five Southern Maryland counties (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s).

Lab test reimbursements for cottage food recipes are limited to certain ‘moist quick bread’ (banana, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.), and icings, glazes, and frosting recipes that are not on the MDH ‘allowable’ Cottage Foods list as they may be considered potentially hazardous. Maryland Department of Health is encouraging cottage food producers to test their recipes if they believe their moist bread or frosting recipes should be considered non-potentially hazardous. Recipes with a verified water activity (aw) result of 0.85 or below and/or a pH of 4.6 or below are considered non-potentially hazardous and allowable under cottage food sales. 

To review eligibility criteria and apply for SMADC food testing reimbursement funding, visit the ‘News’ page at smadc.com.

For more information about Maryland Cottage Food Business Guidelines, testing requirements, Processing and Selling Value Added Food Products in Maryland, licensing and other resources visit Facility and Process Review on the MDH Office of Food Protection website: https://health.maryland.gov/

View the SMADC Testing Reimbursement Criteria and Application Form HERE


Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. One method is to use analytical chemistry to determine the presence of harmful chemicals in the materials. Another approach is to test the materials for leaching, which is when chemicals are released from the FCM into the food.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply