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Maui small food entrepreneurs gain helpful tips at workshop

Nina Ann Tanabe of Pacific Food Technology shared information with workshop attendees Feb. 11 on product development, project management, and regulatory issues.

Small food entrepreneurs received much needed information on food labeling, safety plans, and distribution and pricing for small businesses during a workshop Feb. 11 presented by Maui Food Technology Center.

According to Luana Mahi, MFTC president and owner of Hawaiian Isles Unlimited LLC, “It’s imperative for small food entrepreneurs to keep abreast of new state and federal regulations regarding food safety and labeling. Businesses also need to have a solid plan in regards to their pricing strategies, sales and marketing. We were pleased to offer this educational workshop to help people navigate through these various topics while providing a number of practical tips that can help them succeed.”

Luana Mahi who has more than 15 years of experience representing local, national and international brands, was joined by other workshop presenters: Nina Ann Tanabe, principal of Pacific Food Technology, LLC, who has 40 years of experience in product development, project management, and regulatory issues; and John Nakashima, owner of Food Safety Services Hawai’i, LLC; who has over 30 years of experience as a food safety education specialist and retired trainer with the Hawaii Department of Health.

Among the various factoids and tips that were shared during the workshops:

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness every year — 128,00 are hospitalized and 3,000 will die.

• The top causes of foodborne illness are poor hygienic practices, improper temperature controls, improper cooking temperatures, food from unsafe/unapproved sources, dirty or contaminated utensils and equipment.

• Those who are most at risk from foodborne illness are young children (elementary school age and younger), pregnant women, older people and those that are immune compromised.

The Feb. 11 workshop was supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

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