USDA-MAP to improve cleaning and sanitation practices for goat cheese manufacturing in Armenia
S. S. Zeng
E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, Langston, OK.
In the last 10 years, the USDA Marketing Assistance Program (USDA-MAP) has provided technical and financial assistance to Armenian farmers and agribusinesses in production, technical, and financial assistance to Armenian farmers and agribusinesses in production, marketing, and exporting of food and related products to increase incomes, create jobs, and raise standards of living. Technical assistance to dairy goat farmers and cheese manufacturers was initiated 3 years ago. There are approximately 50,000 dairy goats in Armenia, whith average daily milk production of 2 L/doe. Shelf lives of goat milk, cheese, and other dairy products are short because of sanitation problems in milking and processing. Therefore, a goat milk cheese assignment in 2002 was designed to aid dairy goat producers and cheese manufacturers by enhancing milk quality for improved cheese quality and safety. This assistance came in the form of hands-on demonstrations of making new types of cheese, technical workshops on cleaning and sanitation procedures, and seminars on quality standards and safety regulations. Programs specific for small-scale processing plants were implemented on individual farms and plants to suit their needs. There was instruction in simple yet effective step by step cleaning and sanitation procedures. Good manufacturing practices (GMP) for cheese manufacturing and the concept of HACCP in dairy plants were also introduced to the Armenian goat cheese manufacturers. Recommendations were given to aid in establishing the Armenian goat cheese industry as a viable agriculture segment in the near future. It is a long-term goal of USDA-MAP to improve quality, safety, and marketability of traditional Armenian cheeses and develop new cheese varieties for Armenian and international markets through education and extension services throughout the country.
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