The food manufacturing industry is a huge market in Tennessee with 1,152 registered processing manufacturers and warehouses and another 145 domestic kitchen permits. When these companies succeed Tennessee’s economy succeeds. Understanding a company’s stage of development is important in order for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) to focus business planning and technical assistance resources to promote their success. Whether the company is a large facility or a small “Mom and Pop” operation, TDA specialists in food safety from the Consumer and Industry Services Division and food marketing from the Market Development Division offer assistance to these businesses.
Processed foods are altered from their natural state for safety reasons and for convenience using methods such as canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration, aseptic and pasteurization processing. To that end, food sold in Tennessee must come from an approved source that is under inspection and permitted by the appropriate regulatory authority with some exceptions.
Types of Processed Foods:
UNLICENSED VENDORS OF NON-POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS FOOD ARE REQUIRED TO PLACE SIGN (8.5" X 11" WITH 3/4" FONT) AT THE POINT OF SALE AND ON THE LABEL WHICH STATES "THESE PRODUCTS(S) WERE MADE IN A PRIVATE HOME NOT LICENSED OR INSPECTED"
The Sale of Other Food Products
Dairy – All dairy products, including ice cream and cheeses, must come from a licensed dairy or composed of pasteurized dairy products from a licensed dairy. In addition, such foods must be stored at or below 41?F (or frozen in the case of ice cream) at point of sale.
Raw milk cannot be offered for sale for human consumption. Raw milk can be transferred through cow share programs. Cow share programs are viewed by TDA as a marketing agreement between the owner of the cow and the contracted share owner: A written herd share agreement should be in place. For more information contact TDA at 615-837-5193.
Farm Eggs – A producer may sell eggs at a farmers market from his own flock of less than 3,000 birds under the following conditions:
Egg License - A permit is required for all egg distributors selling eggs in Tennessee. Contact: Bill Thompson- bill.e.thompson@TN.gov - 615-837-5534.
Honey – All honey sold or offered for sale in this state shall be prominently labeled as honey, along with the name and address of the producer and the net contents. (New regulations for the labeling of honey are being drafted by TDA and will be available in late 2014.) Contact State Apiarist – Mike Studer at 615-837-5342, Mike.Studer@TN.gov
Juice – Because of the potential for pathogenic microbial growth juices and other beverages must be produced in a facility that is licensed, permitted and inspected.
Sorghum Molasses – All sorghum molasses sold or offered for resale in Tennessee shall be prominently labeled as being either 100% pure sorghum molasses or not pure sorghum molasses. All sorghum molasses offered for sale shall come from a permitted, licensed and inspected facility.
Additional Resources for Processed Food Production are listed at the Bottom of the Page. For more information regarding processed food production in Tennessee, contact Mike Brown at 615-837-5177, Mike.F.Brown@TN.gov .
Market Development Opportunities
The Department of Agriculture’s Market Development Division assists Tennessee food companies in networking and connecting with wholesale and retail buyers as well as international markets. The Pick Tennessee Products (PTP) is the state branding program that helps consumers identify and choose Tennessee produced and processed products. Consumers can visit www.pickTNproducts.org to find statewide directories to food manufacturers, farmers markets, orchards, wineries, pick-your-own farms, seasonal farm product recipes, and everything agriculture. We also provide to the public our online store and directory of retail outlets where local products are sold at this same website. Consumers identify with our logo knowing it represents quality standards unique to Tennessee. Members of PTP are provided the logo artwork to display on their products, advertising material and website. Register to Become A Member ...At NO cost.
In addition to these opportunities, Pick TN Products provides statewide advertizing and marketing opportunities through tradeshows, printed ads and news stories, and events that connect buyers with our members. Retailers often conduct their own PTP promotions, build PTP displays or look for products from our member listings and/or those baring the PTP logo. Using our logo on your product is optional but has been found to generate an added appeal to customers. We also provide assistance in exporting and international marketing through the Southern United States Trade Association http://www.susta.org/ . Pick TN Products finds strength in social networking and is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Contact the our processed food marketing specialist, Linda Shelton at 615-837-5345, Linda.Shelton@TN.gov .