Kombucha Brewer Resources & Strategies in the Time OF COVID-19 Webinar

Presented By:


Katherine Florman
Director of Human Resources for MAG Group


Dave Ransom
Attorney and lobbyist for the kombucha brewers industry, McDermott Will & Emery LLP


Erica Stocker
Public Policy Advisor, McDermott Will & Emery LLP

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION

Join us for a webinar led by HR professional, Katherine Florman, lobbyist, Dave Ransom, and Public Policy Advisor, Erica Stocker to discuss the HR and legal ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This webinar will compare stats and trends across regions, address kombucha’s status as an essential business, identify HR priorities for appropriately addressing our employees and customers, and look at how current and upcoming policy decisions may affect our brewers.  We’ll also check-in with our brewers to see how we are weathering the storm and exchange stories and ideas for remaining productive.

WEBINAR TAKEAWAYS

  • Ways to take care of yourself and your employees.
  • A list of employment policies and procedures to create or review
  • How employees and small businesses can access available aid and stimulus resources
  • How does kombucha qualify as an “essential business?”
  • What policies have been enacted (or are being considered) that may help kombucha businesses?
  • Ideas for pivoting your business model to retain/maximize sales 
  • Links to informational and template resources
  • And much more!

We invite you to listen in and ask questions. FREE for KBI Members & Non-Members

BONUS – Post webinar discussion on how different brands are pivoting or collaborating to ensure customers have access to the foods they need. Skip to the end for the conversation.

WATCH THE REPLAY

April 1st 1:00pm PST

Details

DATE: April 1st, 2020
TIME: 1-3pm PST; 90 min presentation & 30 min Q&A
COST: Free for KBI members & Non-Members
REGISTRATION LINK
Have questions? Please send in advance to admin@kombuchabrewers.org

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Here are some additional resources and websites to monitor for safety tips and updates. Stay safe & healthy!

Coronavirus: Tips for Self-Protection. Be cautious, but don't panic! Prevention is similar to avoiding other illnesses.

Please sign up here to stay in the loop for KKON and all Kombucha industry-related news.

General Information

Draft Kombucha and Taproom Information

Kombucha Brewery Facility Information

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration: COVID-19 Control and Prevention
  • FDA briefing to food stakeholders:
    • There has been NO evidence of the transmission of the Coronavirus from food or food packaging.
    • Food products do not have to be placed on-hold or recalled if an employee at a food facility is diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Personal hygiene, as well as facility, equipment, and utensil cleaning and sanitization procedures that are required in GMPs, are expected to still be appropriate amid this crisis.
    • Now routine domestic inspections will also be postponed and only “mission-critical” inspections will be conducted as necessary in cases where there is Class I Recall, a foodborne outbreak, or COVID-19 related situation.
    • Ensuring a continuous supply of safe food is a critical factor for the US and the FDA and Department of Homeland Security are working together to ensure that is the case. Food facilities involved in this supply, are therefore not subject to the quarantine and shelter in place orders and any issues with this should be addressed to the latter and FEMA.

Small Business Assistance 

Essential Businesses
The definition may vary according to your local ordinance. These businesses may carry your products and/or your facility may be able to offer to pick up or delivery. 

  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets,  farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks,  convenience stores,  and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products).  This  includes  stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and  products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences”
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out – social distancing measures must be practiced
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences

International Information

Join the conversation in the KBI Members Forum

Guidance for Travelers

“Essential Travel” includes travel for any of the following purposes. Individuals engaged in any Essential Travel must comply with all Social Distancing Requirements
Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations

Travelers are encouraged to always exercise healthy travel habits when traveling and to follow guidance issued by official sources of public health information.

Are we missing a vital resource? Please send your link to admin@kombuchabrewers.org so we can share them here.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a sweeping food safety legislation amending the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, was enacted on January 4, 2011.  It aims to ensure the United States food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. As required by FSMA, the FDA implemented the HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) regulation (also referred to as the “Preventive Controls Rule”) for the food industry on September 17, 2015.  Compliance dates were extended for small and very small businesses:

 September 18, 2017: Small businesses (with fewer than 500 full-time employees)

September 17, 2018: Very small businesses (businesses averaging less than $1 million per year (adjusted for inflation) in annual sales 

HARPC is similar to HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls) which is mandatory for certain food categories such as seafood, juice, meat/poultry (USDA) but includes planning for potential terrorist acts or intentional adulteration requiring facility registration with the FDA, controls on transportation inbound/outbound, facility visitor access, etc.

HARPC requires virtually every food manufacturer, processer, packer, and storage facility to:

  • identify food safety and adulteration hazards associated with their foods and processes,
  • implement controls to minimize the hazards,
  • verify that the controls are working, and
  • design and implement corrective actions to address any deviations from the controls that might arise in a food safety plan.

Everything in a HARPC plan must be properly documented and must conform to FDA’s standards and definitions surrounding facilities, controls, hazards, and the adulteration of foods.  HARPC requires each food facility to document all aspects of its plan, periodically review it, constantly maintain it, and document its verification steps.

HARPC represents a substantial new regulatory requirement with an unprecedented level of coverage for the industry that must be taken seriously.  Companies must create their unique food safety plan compliant with HARPC, update it, and produce the documentation to FDA upon request or inspection.

Facility Registration

Domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food/beverages for human or animal consumption in the US are required to register with the FDA and renew every even-numbered year. Registration is easy and free. Follow the prompts at the link below to register your facility. Registered facilities may be subject to random inspections. 

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/ucm2006831.htm

Registration is not required for AP5 Kombucha products (aka Hard Kombucha) as the FDA does not regulate alcoholic beverages.

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP’s) – Preventative 

Controls (Critical components of Step 2 in HARPC)

Plant and Grounds

Facility exterior

  • Shouldn’t harbor pests
    • Grass/weed control
    • No stored equipment within immediate parameter
  • Protected points of entry
    • Sealed, self-closing doors
    • Screened vents at all intakes
    • Walls, roof, foundation must prevent entry of water and pests

Facility Interior

  • Walls, floors ceilings should be durable, impervious,smooth, cleanable, white or light-colored 
  • Adequate floor drainage
  • Screened windows
  • Adequate lighting and shielded bulbs
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Proper waste containment and disposal
  • Handwashing stations with dispensable soap, single-use towels, direct connection to drain, waste receptacles, signage
  • Washrooms, lunchrooms should not open directly to processing areas; negative air pressure in washrooms
  • Plumbing must have backflow devices between potable water systems and sewage lines

Receiving and Storage

  • Transportation inbound – inspect truck and materials for damage or contamination, improper temperature controls
  • Ensure Certificate of Analysis (CoA) if required or conduct inspection/testing to verify ingredients and packaging meet specifications
  • Storage
    • Insure ingredients, packaging materials, product in process, and finished product are properly stored to prevent contamination – proper temperatures, 18” from wall, 6” off floor
    • Chemicals in isolated storage – properly labeled and accessible safety data sheets (SDS)

Equipment

  • Designed, constructed and installed to be accessible for adequate cleaning, sanitation, and maintenance
  • Product contact surfaces should be smooth, non-corrosive, food-grade, non-absorbent, non-toxic, and free from cracks, crevices, and pitting
  • Must have adequate drainage
  • Establish a preventable maintenance program

Personnel

  • Establish and implement training programs for all new employees; 
    • Provide refresher training
      • Personal Hygiene
      • Allergen Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
      • Product and Material Safety
  • Maintain a personal hygiene policy and enforce 
    • Hair and beard restraints
    • Clean clothing and footwear (closed-toe only)
    • Eating, drinking, and smoking in designated areas only (includes gum)
    • No jewelry, watches, earrings; no fingernail polish or artificial nails
    • Proper handwashing practices and signage
  • Only authorized personnel on-site; visitors and contract employees to sign-in
  • Employee health 
    • Inform management of any communicable disease or potential for contamination
      • Diarrhea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal illness
      • Jaundice
      • Open, blistered or infected cuts, wounds, abrasions, or burns

Sanitation and Pest Control

  • Establish procedures for cleaning and sanitation of premises, production areas, equipment, and storage areas.  
    • Document procedures, chemicals used/usage levels, and maintain a log of pre-op, periodic, and post-op sanitation.
  • Interior pest control devices must not contain bait of any kind
  • Exterior pest control devices must be tamper-resistant, locked, labeled, and secured
  • Maintain
    • List of chemicals and pesticides used (including SDS and copies of labels which includes usage/application rates)
    • Schedules/frequency
    • Usage log that lists when and where used, concentration, how it was applied and by whom
    • Location map of devices
    • Activity reports/records for findings and actions
    • Corrective action records

Traceability and Recall Protocol

  • Traceability
    • Maintain documented procedures to ensure all raw materials, product, and packaging materials can be traced to usage dae and/or lot identification
    • Finished products should carry a “use by” or “best by” date and lot number (if multiple lots per code date)
  • Consumer Complaint Log
    • Outlines how complaints are processed, evaluated and investigated
    • Document customer name, contact information, current date, name of item, a description of the product safety and/or quality complaint, the purchase date of item and possible receipt 
  • Recall Protocol
    • Document what is to be done in the event product must be recalled from the distribution system and/or shelf
    • This will allow tracing and accounting for all identified defective products in a quick and efficient manner; managing communications in the event of a recall, and assisting outside agencies by having a predetermined plan and information-gathering mechanisms

KBI will be providing checklists and templates for some of these documents – stay tuned for more resources available in the Member Forum

Municipalities are eager to find new ways to fund their operations and programs. Lately it has been popular to enact a “sugar tax” on non-alcoholic beverages that exceed whatever threshold the municipality has deemed as acceptable. There is a long history of enacting “sin taxes” on products that are perceived or proven to have a negative impact on the health of consumers in an attempt to limit their behavior.

Kombucha is a traditional fermented beverage made from tea and sugar. During the fermentation process, most of the sugars are consumed by the microorganisms present in the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) and converted into trace amounts of ethanol and organic acids. Each producer has their own fermentation process and method as well as their own flavor profile – some of which may skew sweeter in order to attract a certain type of consumer.

However, despite having some sugar present, the fermentation process materially changes the structure of the sugars – the disaccharide sucrose (table sugar) is broken into its monosaccharide components thus creating a lower glycemic impact. Also, the living organisms and nutrition in a living form (trace amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C, amino acids, etc) contribute a net positive effect to the consumer unlike comparable non-alcoholic beverages – i.e. sodas, energy drinks, juices, etc.

Moreover, many of these statutes include exemptions for products such as diet soda which, while their sugar content may be low, do contain known carcinogens. The unintended consequence is that products that are healthier end up taxed while less healthy options cost less and could influence consumer behavior in a negative way.

While KBI has been active in supporting its members who are dealing with these local statutes, ultimately, the decision whether or not to tax Kombucha falls to the cities themselves. Any taxes required are charged at the discretion of those locales and are not in any way under the purview of the Kombucha producer.

REFERENCES

  1. Jayabalan, Rasu, et al. “A review on kombucha tea—microbiology, composition, fermentation, beneficial effects, toxicity, and tea fungus.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 13.4 (2014): 538-550.

Rev.090617 Adopted by KBI Board Oct 2017

Suppliers of Grass-Fed Beef and Premium Meats: U.S. Wellness Meats Supports KKON17

U.S. Wellness Meats is one of the largest suppliers of premium, grass-fed, grass-finished meats in the country. USWM ships to all 50 states. The company is family owned by Northeast Missouri and Western Illinois farmers. They aren’t your ordinary cattle farmers though. In 2000, four families got together with a desire to offer healthier, premium, grass fed and finished beef to the marketplace. This requires attention to more than just the end-product. It starts with sustainable farming practices that have been all but lost through the years. The U.S. Wellness Meats families and suppliers have committed to continually improving and growing these efforts.

More could be said about soil conservation and improvement, organic matter, grazing, quality of forage, and sustainability, but we’ll save that for another time. We’re going to focus on improving health and quality of life in this article.

Healthy Foods VS Unhealthy Foods – Maintaining a Healthy Balance

There are lots of opinions out there on what constitutes a healthy diet. Maintaining a balance of real, naturally nutritious food can be like navigating an obstacle course. There are a few somewhat simple bits of common sense when it comes to eating healthy. Maybe these will help change your paradigm or at the least encourage you to stay focused on better health in 2017.

  1. Know where your food originates and where it’s been.
  2. Know what’s in your food – check your labels and make sure you understand what that 27-letter word really is and if you want to put it in your body. Hint: Zygosaccharomyces is a probiotic present in many Kombucha samples. It’s certainly not the same as the preservative Tertiary butylhydroquinone. Two totally different long winded names with totally different consumption consequences. If you don’t know what it is, Google it! Remember, fewer ingredients are generally better.
  3. Stay away from the inside aisles of the grocery store as much as possible
  4. Learn how to make nutritious food at home – this takes more time and management but at least you know the ingredients.
  5. Eat foods that are either lightly processed or not processed at all.
  6. When dining out, look for light or healthy selections.
  7. If you’re eating meat, consider the diet of your food. What has the animal been fed? Do you want that in your body?
  8. If you’re eating veggies or fruits, consider what has been applied. Have pesticides been used? Are there hidden chemicals lurking in your food?

What Makes Kombucha Good For You?

Kombucha lovers know the benefits of this tasty cocktail:

  1. Beneficial bacteria can improve digestive functions
  2. Anti-oxidants helps strengthen your immune system
  3. Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes offer an energy boost
  4. Amino acids encourage healthy metabolic activity

There are many more health benefits that can be derived from Kombucha. The same can be said for a great many natural foods. This is why it’s so important to know what you’re eating. Know the benefits and the potential contraindications. If you have certain health conditions in your family, it’s incumbent upon you to make food choices that can help prevent sickness or promote better health and wellness for you and your loved ones.

Our Animals Eat Right So You Can Too!

Remember the phrase “you are what you eat?” Consider this when you make food decisions. Our Grass-fed, Grass-finished meats are a healthy alternative to what you find in most grocery store meats.

Our grassfed, grass-finished meats contain:

  1. More CLA (essential fatty acid)
  2. Healthy Omega 6:3 ratio of 3:1
  3. High in branch chain amino acids
  4. More heart healthy, anti-oxidants Vitamins A & E
  5. Fewer calories
  6. NO irradiation
  7. NO animal by-products
  8. NO antibiotics
  9. NO added hormones
  10. NO GMO

Health & Well being Starts With Your Food 

In summary, eat good, clean, healthy food — enjoy better health. Natural foods are just naturally better for us. The tech biz has another formula, GIGO or Garbage In Garbage Out. Choosing high quality inputs in a living form that the body has evolved to recognize will provide a quality of nutrition that is simply lacking in overly processed foods. There’s something to be said for that in relation to our health too.

KombuchaKon 2017: Use Promo Code ‘Scoby’ for 15% Off

US Wellness Meats is offering a special promotion for KKON 2017. Enter Promo Code ‘Scoby’ in your online cart or mention it when you order by phone and receive 15% off your next order. This code is good for up to 2 orders. Excludes orders over 40lbs, sale items, volume discounts and gift certificates. This offer is not valid on previous orders. Offer expires July 31, 2017.

 ORDER TODAY!

What is a HACCP Plan?

A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP Plan is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards (biological, chemical, and physical) throughout the production process to prevent the risk of foodborne illness or other safety concerns. HACCP is based on the following seven key activities:

  • Conduct a hazard analysis
  • Determine critical control points (CCP)
  • Establish critical limits
  • Establish a monitoring system
  • Establish a procedure for corrective action for use when monitoring a CCP indicates a deviation from an established critical limit
  • Establish procedures for verification to confirm the effectiveness of the HACCP Plan
  • Establish documentation concerning all procedures and records appropriate to these activities and their applications

haccp_hazard

Which industries require it?

HACCP should be used in conjunction with other food protection programs and is mandatory for meat & poultry (USDA), seafood (FDA), and juice (FDA), and voluntary for all other food and beverage industries. That is, while HACCP is not technically required for the Kombucha industry, KBI highly recommends that all commercial Kombucha brewers have a HACCP Plan in place.

Why does KBI recommend it?

KBI’s newly established Best Practices list having an HACCP Plan in place as an important action item for commercial Kombucha brewers. These Best Practices have been voted into place by KBI’s own member organizations, which represent the majority views of some of the world’s leading Kombucha producers.

Furthermore, products produced by the Kombucha industry are often raw (unpasteurized) and are consumed by people around the world primarily for their health benefits.  Therefore, it is in the best interest of public health to take as many precautionary measures as possible to produce healthful, safe beverages which meet established food safety standards. As this rapidly growing industry continues to expand, we feel that it is important to operate our brewing companies with integrity, safety, and quality in mind, while also keeping in mind the extra layer of protection a HACCP Plan can offer the public.

In addition, when local, state, and/or federal inspections occur, an established HACCP Plan highlights the company’s efforts to produce safe products and demonstrates/documents all of the key elements required.  HACCP Plans also make it much easier to communicate with inspectors who may not be familiar with Kombucha products and/or the Kombucha industry as a whole.

haccp funnel

How do I develop an HACCP Plan?

Developing an HACCP Plan can be very time consuming and rigorous . Fortunately, KBI has developed a hazard analysis template, which is available to brewery members within the HACCP Plan Docs Forum. To view this template and other HACCP related documents, please join the HACCP forum by visiting our Member Forums page and requesting membership.

Not a KBI member yet?

Whether you’re just starting out or already have an established Kombucha company, we invite you to join KBI to take advantage of our many member’s only resources and benefits, including the HACCP Plan template mentioned above. To learn more about our member benefits, to view our membership requirements or to join KBI, please click here.