In order to comply with regulations mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the Gary H. Richardson Dairy Products Laboratory at Utah State University will shut down production for three months this winter in order to accommodate significant repairs and upgrades to the facility.
The laboratory, which is managed by the Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Sciences Department in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, is scheduled to be closed from Dec. 1 until March 4, 2019.
Notably, the shutdown directly affects the Aggie Creamery, which produces Aggie Ice Cream.
But according to creamery manager Dave Irish, the facility is ramping up production of ice cream and cheese in October and November in order to maintain supplies at the Aggie Ice Cream store and meet customers’ needs during the renovation of the laboratory.
“We have put in-place additional freezer capacity, which will allow us to produce additional ice cream over the next two months,” Irish said. “With the additional inventory we should be able to satisfy the demands for Aggie Ice Cream while we upgrade the processing facility.”
Funding for the project at the Dairy Products Laboratory was provided by a bill that passed through the Utah State Legislature earlier this year. Improvements to the facility include renovated ceilings, walls, lighting, floors, drains and a new air-handling system, while some equipment is being upgraded or repaired.
“Federal mandates require all food processing plants to be designed and constructed in such a way that the operation does not contribute to product contamination,” Irish explained. “Our Dairy Products Lab is large enough and has all the equipment we need for our teaching and research, but these new processing expectations cannot be satisfied in a plant that is more than 40 years old.
“Drains, floors, walls, and ceilings are in need of repair and/or upgrades. The Utah State Legislature recognized the need for these upgrades and has provided the funding for them to be accomplished. We are grateful for their support and seek the understanding of our customers during this important transition.”
Despite the shutdown coming during the holiday season, Aggie Creamery gift boxes will be sold from Nov. 1 to Jan. 10, 2019 either online at aggieicecream.com, or by calling the store at (435) 797-2109.
The Aggie Ice Cream store will be closed Nov. 21-25 for the Thanksgiving holiday, and Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, 2019, for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.