Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Throwback Tip #230: Refresh Your FSMA Knowledge

It has been seven years since the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, which also means if you manufacture food and operate with less than $1 million in sales, September 17, 2018 is the deadline to comply with the FDA's regulations. This week's tip offers a refresher on FSMA and its requirements in an excerpt from an article written by Michael Koch of Morley Candy Makers/Sanders Candy for RCI's Kettle Talk magazine.
Click here for further clarification on compliance dates.
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 published its "Preventive Controls for Human Food" guidelines. As part of FSMA, it outlines the mandatory requirements being placed on all food manufacturers to have and implement a written food safety plan.

Before putting a plan together, first, identify the individual or individuals in your organization that are going to administer your program. 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 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.

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.

FSMA covers a much greater spectrum of the food chain and more details than covered in this brief post. 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 and 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. Click here 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.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Surprising Tool to Keep Colored Cocoa Butter in Temper

Using an airbrush to apply colored cocoa butter to your chocolate moulds can help create a dramatic effect. But if you are using several colors at once, it may seem like a juggling act to keep them all in proper temper. 

RCI member, Brian Donaghy with Tomric Systems, Inc, says although colored cocoa butter usually arrives tempered, it is important to heat it slowly and then hold the cocoa butter in a 90℉ environment. Brian recommends using a yogurt maker to retain the temperature over time and help ensure the cocoa butter doesn't lose temper.

With lots of options available online, most ranging in price from $29-$60, this piece of equipment could prevent your airbrushed chocolates from having a dull finish or sticking to the moulds.

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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

3 Ways RCI's Annual Convention & Industry Expo Will Help You Rock Your Candy Business

Wanna ROCK your candy business or chocolate shop? Retail Confectioners International (RCI) is cranking up the volume for the 2018 Annual Convention & Industry Expo in Cleveland, Ohio on June 18 through 22. Keep reading for three ways attending RCI's Annual Convention & Industry Expo will help you ROCK your candy business.

Education That Rocks
Get ready to rock with an energetic, interactive and funny keynote designed for the retail confectioner. Discover how to reinvent and revolutionize your candy business using innovative success secrets that created household names like The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Tina Turner and Aerosmith. Using the same techniques as these bona fide rockstars, attendees will learn how to:
  • Create a grand vision
  • Channel uniqueness into huge growth
  • Use the three keys of awesome teamwork
  • Build an action-oriented culture
  • Drive and lead change
In addition to the keynote session “Opportunity Rocks,” attendees will learn how to outshine the competition through two days of education sessions led industry experts on the subjects of merchandising, product development and hiring. Attendees will also have the opportunity to apply key merchandising concepts during a hands-on workshop.

Game-Changing Insight

RCI takes education to the next level through exclusive behind-the-scenes tours. Gain a new perspective of your craft while touring the following rockstar local businesses, sure to inspire ideas to take home to your own retail shop.
  • B.A. Sweetie Candy Company
  • Gorant Chocolatier
  • Linnea’s Candy Supplies, Inc.
  • Malley’s Chocolates
  • Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates
  • Popped!
  • Sun America LLC
  • Tap Packaging Solutions

Rock Star Networking

Join RCI for a red-carpet after party you won’t forget! Dressed as your favorite rockstar, roll VIP-style with private access to all seven floors of exhibits at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Jam with an 80s tribute band, enjoy a hosted bar, capture memories in photos taken by the “paparazzi” and more!

Simply attending this event will expose you to relevant education, inspiring and insightful behind-the-scenes tours and network opportunities fit for rockstars. Don't miss this great opportunity to learn, connect and discover how we can help you build your sweet business!

Registration by April 20 and save $100 on the Convention Pass! Registration is open to RCI members and non-members with industry credentials. Visit retailconfectioners.org/annual or call 800-545-5381 for more details.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tip #261: How to Fix Burnt Caramel

We’ve all heard the saying “don’t cry over spilled milk,” the same could be said for burnt caramel. Mistakes in the kitchen happen and sometimes there’s nothing you can do but put the mistake behind you and move on. Before pitching the botched batch, here are a couple ideas for salvaging your burnt caramel.
Masahiro Makino / Getty Images
One option would be to try masking the bitterness of burnt caramel by incorporating instant coffee into the mix. There is something comforting about this flavor combination, plus with an extra jolt of caffeine, the only tears shed over this concoction will be tears of joy. Try this recipe for cozy coffee caramels from TheSpruce.com.

If you're feeling adventurous, embrace the burnt flavor and use it as a opportunity to get creative. According to FoodIngredientsFirst.com, burnt caramel is one of the hot new flavor trends for 2018, “A burnt caramel flavor pairs the sweet, milky notes of the caramel with the deep and slightly smoky characteristics of burning the caramel.”

With National Caramel Day on April 5, you might just have to burn a batch of caramel “on accident” to celebrate! Share in the comments below if you have other solutions for fixing burnt caramel.

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.