University of Maryland Extension

Food Processing

Welcome to the Food Processing in Maryland Module!

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“Food processing” is the treatment of a food substance to change its properties with the intention of preserving it, improving its quality, or making it functionally more useful.  For example, cheese, ice cream, hamburger, spaghetti sauce, chicken wings, bread, pie, maple syrup, and jam are all processed foods.  Food processing represents a business opportunity for Maryland farmers and entrepreneurs as it builds the state's economy, creates jobs, and gives consumers access to healthy foods. 

Government food safety regulations require all food processing operations and their products to meet specific standards.  Often the facility and/or the operator must be licensed.  Food safety standards are the basis for licensing a food business.  To get a license the applicant must show they meet the standards established in food safety regulations.  Federal, state, and local food safety inspectors interpret and enforce the regulations as they apply to actual circumstances.   Therefore food processors must know the standards they must meet to maintain a license, and the government agencies that have jurisdiction over their license, product, and processing operations.

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