Howard County is working with small businesses to help local food producers achieve and exceed compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) through the help of homegrown technology.
In Maryland, farming and agriculture is the 5th largest economic driver, with 335 farms in Howard County alone. The AgTech program, under the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), was created to assist these farms and small producers with agriculture-related legislation, business development and advancements in agriculture technology.
Howard County Economic Development Authority’s (HCEDA) AgTech Division awarded their first ever grant to MCE resident NextLOGiK for the development and implementation of remote temperature monitoring devices. New FSMA regulations include strict temperature reporting requirements and compliance deadlines are fast approaching. If a farmer is selling their meat at a local farmer’s market, they must record the food storage container’s temperature in intervals and provide this log to federal regulators.
Realizing that most producers, especially the small businesses in Howard County, record these temperature readings by hand, NextLOGiK created a device that records temperature and reports it directly to a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. These temperature readings are tied directly into their compliance application, CompWALK, which can alert users by email or text if temperatures approach or fall out of an acceptable range. This method of temperature monitoring for food safety falls directly in line with FSMA’s shift in focus from reaction to prevention.
“The new FSMA regulations mean timely, laborious recording and reporting for small farms and producers. These temperature monitoring devices enable our farmers to meet the new mandated federal regulations, save time and money and continue to provide the quality products that have kept them in business for so long.” Kathy Johnson, Agricultural Development Manager.
Food producers, distributors and retailers utilizing these temperature monitoring devices know the status of their food storage containers at all times, vastly reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses and inventory loss. They are ensuring a safe product for consumers while saving time reporting temperature readings.
“While technology innovation is prevalent in food safety, solutions for farms and agriculture are still costly and unjustifiable. Our temperature devices provide an affordable solution for the food industry as a whole, which allows our local farmers and distributors to be proactive in their food safety efforts and deliver the highest quality products” said Kirk Couser, CEO, NextLOGiK.
NextLOGiK will be launching its temperature monitoring devices at the Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference and beginning field trials with local Howard County food service providers.