Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tip #230: Refresh Your FSMA Knowledge

If you are in the food industry, chances are you are well aware of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Now that HalloweenThanksgivingChristmasValentine’s Day…Easter is now over, this is a great time for a refresher in this excerpt from RCI's Kettle Talk, written by Michael Koch of Morley Candy Makers/Sanders Candy.

FSMA was designed to shift the focus on food safety from responding to contamination issues to a more proactive approach of preventing contamination before it happens. Through the passing of this law the FDA has gained more leverage in its ability monitor and control the safety of our food supply chain.

In September of 2015 the FDA finally published its “Preventive Controls for Human Food” guidelines. As part of the FSMA it outlines the mandatory requirements being placed on all food manufacturers.
The most important aspect of the law that everyone needs to realize is that it applies to all food manufacturers. If you think your company is too small and these regulations don’t apply to you, please understand you could be making a costly mistake.

As with many of the guidelines that the FDA enacts they have set forth a specific time frame for companies to comply. The timeline is as follows:

Prior to putting a plan together you must identify the individual or individuals in your organization that are going to administer your program. The FSMA requires that your plan be written and managed by a qualified individual. Currently the only way to verify that an individual is qualified is to have your food safety administrator attend a certification course.

Hazard Analysis
Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) is a documented food safety program that you need to develop and implement for your facility. The first step toward developing a HARPC is to conduct a hazard analysis for every food product you handle in your facility—this is not limited to the items that you manufacture. The second step is to put in place preventive controls for each food product to ensure it will not become contaminated and unfit for human consumption.

Verifying the effectiveness of your plan ensures preventive controls are consistently implemented and sufficient. Verification includes evaluating the accuracy of process monitoring, calibrating instruments, such as thermometers, and reviewing records to verify monitoring and corrective actions are completed. Product testing and environmental monitoring by a certified third party are also reliable verification methods.

Recall Procedure
Your plan must contain details on your recall procedures. If a contaminated product is shipped, you must be able to identify where the product has gone and have the ability to perform a recall. A recall plan should include the procedures for identifying the contaminated product. Having important contact information in the plan will help move the process forward. Contacts should include the local health department, local FDA office, news media and anyone else that you may deem important to the process.

The FSMA covers a much greater spectrum of the food chain and more details than covered in this brief article. The realm of information and procedures that you are responsible for also cover such things as your supply chain management, good manufacturing practices, corrective actions and etc. The FSMA is no small task, it is designed to protect the consumer from obtaining contaminated products.

In order to operate a successful candy making business, it is essential that you are knowledgeable on federal regulations and take the proper action to ensure you are in compliance with FSMA guidelines. Visit for more resources and updates.          

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tip # 229: From the Archives: Don’t Overcook Your Creams

During an RCI candy making course in 1971, the instructor discovered two students, although using identical formulas for rolled creams, were achieving vastly different results due to a variation in their cooking time. Keep reading to ensure your cooking time isn’t compromising the quality of your creams and other products.

            Cooking Time for Rolled Creams, By Fred Janssen, SuCrest Corp.
While teaching at the RCI Short Course on Retail Candy Making, it was interesting to learn the following from two of the students who were trying to make the same type of candy. In this case, rolled creams. After questioning the students, an interesting fact was revealed. In one case, the cooking time of the batch was 8 minutes and in the other, 45 minutes. Both were using the identical formulas as suggested by many in the trade and it was quite evident that the student who took the longer cooking time was not getting good results. There was a great deal of variation in the type of product that he was trying to make.

Rolled creams are dependent upon the crystalline structure or the sugar remaining in the cream and with the longer cooking time, excessive inversion took place which reduced the percentage or amount of sugar remaining in the cream, thereby causing a great deal of difficulty for the candy maker.

A good rule to follow in any cooking operation is that all batches should be cooked to its final temperature within 20 minutes. If this is not possible on the equipment, the size of the batch should be reduced so that this cooking time can be accomplished. If larger batches are necessary, consideration should be given to making changes by obtaining better cooking equipment.

It's important to be mindful of cooking times, and not just ingredient formulations, when adjusting batch sizes. The 20-minute rule can help candy makers keep their cooking times in check and prevent excessive inversion.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tip # 228: Get More at RCI’s Annual Convention & Industry Expo

We're giving you more than ever before at RCI's 2017 Annual Convention & Industry Expo at The Westin Lombard! In addition to the same great benefits of attending as a candy maker or a supplier, we're giving you more in terms of education, tours and networking! Keep reading for reasons why you don't want to miss out on this event!

More Education
For as long as RCI has existed, education has played an integral role in the convention experience. This year, attendees can expect a more individualized educational experience with the addition of new one-on-one appointments and interactive workshops.

RCI members looking for solutions to problem candies or to maximize their social media presence, have the opportunity to schedule personal 30-minute consultations during our new one-on-one appointments. Consultations are exclusively available to RCI members registered for the event and are available by appointment only. View for more information on how to schedule a consultation.

Also new for 2017, two interactive workshops designed to equip attendees with the tools needed to successfully engage consumers and to create a pipeline of new and innovative products. Workshops are exclusive to Convention Pass holders, interested parties may reserve their seats when registering. Space is limited.

More Tours
One of the most popular components of RCI events are the behind-the-scenes tours, which take place on the final two days of the week. This June, RCI tours will include eight tour locations.

  • Albanese Confectionery
  • Arway Confections
  • Barry Callebaut
  • Blommer Chocolate Co.
  • Long Grove Confectionery Co.
  • Morkes Chocolates
  • Primrose Candy Co.
  • Savage Bros. Co.

See what chocolate looks like at every step of the process, how state-of-the-art confectionery machinery is built and experience candy production from hand-dipped chocolates to full-scale robotics. Each tour location has been selected to help attendees gain a new perspective of the craft and inspire new ideas to use in their own retail stores.

More Networking
After the conclusion of the first meeting of retail confectioners, attendees recognized the value in connecting with industry colleagues to share ideas and learn from each other. Since that time, these relationships have been a driving force in the continuation of our association.

No doubt, one's 100th anniversary is cause for celebration! We have scheduled more social events to mark RCI's significant milestone anniversary and make it easy for attendees to mingle and build relationships. Make plans now to attend the following new social events for 2017, included in the Convention Pass, 3-Day Pass or A La Carte (as a package or as individual tickets).

New Networking Events For 2017:

   Welcome Reception
   Monday, June 12 | 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
   Reconnect with industry friends and meet new colleagues as we gather together for this
   opening reception to kick off the convention week.

   100th Anniversary Gala
   Wednesday, June 14 | 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM
   Celebrate RCI's rich history in grand fashion during our 100th Anniversary Gala. Relive
   memories of the past through a visual tribute while enjoying a five-course meal, live music
   and dancing.

   The Finale Reception
   Thursday, June 15 | 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM
   Watch the 1920s come to life during this fun, interactive farewell reception and murder
   mystery party! An experience you'll never forget, attendees get the chance to play a role in
   a murder mystery, win prizes at the gaming tables, have their likenesses drawn by a
   caricature artist and more!

Be part of this historic event by celebrating with us! Register at by April 28 and save $100!
Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.