Just wanted to report that I'm pretty sure Kefir products have been for sale for some time in places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc.
I'm in Atlanta, GA. and have even seen Kefir products in our regular grocery stores(Kroger, Publix). I guess it's probably something one may not notice, unless they were specifically looking for it. Don't know even if there is any particular demand for Kefir. In the same vein, don't know how much space, and for how long a time these products would be allowed in a store considering the competition for shelf space and all.
Maybe I misunderstood your last post, but just wanted to let you know that Kefir products can be found.
I have been corresponding with Rosie of Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery LLC. I have also been corresponding with my food inspectors here in Pa. at the Dept. Of Argriculture. So far my food inspectors have no clue about milk kefir and if it is safe to use in drinks or not, especially in a commercial setting. So far they havenít figured out what real milk kefir is, except for their reading on websites about it.
Rosie has been very helpful in helping me. When using milk kefir from the grains it is a lot different than using a factory starter that commercial food processors use. These are some of the emails from Rosie.
Are you refering to using kefir grains to culture the milk, or the factory starter that one can buy to make kefir.
If the factory starter, you should not have any prob. Using pasteurized milk is the only way as they won't let you use raw milk unless it is aged for 60 days!
But they probably will not let you use kefir grains. I had a very difficult time getting through NYS Ag & Mkts.
The factory starter is not as good as the real thing. Not as many good probiotics. That is what all the kefir drinks are made with that are on the market.
Just keep asking your inspectors until they give you an answer!
All the very best to you!!!
My process was very complex. I worked with a professor at Cornell with a SARE grant, and he was also a coop. ext. person. He really helped me get my process approved.
It would not be the same for you. You must work directly with your inspector folks there.
Another email from Rosie how she has problems because she is using her own cows to produce her milk kefir cheese.
Norma, there are a lot of coliform problems with using Kefir.
Just warning you. I have numerous failed milk tests with the milk divison.
You will have to be approved by the state milk inspectors, and you will have to be tested probably monthly. It is very difficult to get kefir to be coliform free.
Not that it is ever a problem for consumption as far as I know, but the state will not tolerate it.
I told Rose that I would be buying my milk for my milk kefir grains from an approved Pa. source.
Another email from Rose.
Norma, dealing with the milk inspectors is a huge bother, and a completely different world.
Let me know how it goes! I know the FDA has been causing lots of problems for the raw milk producers in PA.
I donít know if I ever will be approved to use milk kefir grains to produce milk kefir drinks to sell at market, because using real milk kefir grains is so new. Rosie had to apply for grants and work with a professor at Cornell, get a SARE grant, and work with a coop. ext. person. She had to jump though many hoops to be able to sell her milk kefir cheese. Who knows what I might have to do to be approved. I might never be approved to sell milk kefir drinks. I guess it is good I decided not to try milk kefir to leaven pizza at market. Having to deal with a starter and also going though all this of being approved to sell pizza with milk kefir,would also be a lot. I never knew before starting this thread how beneficial real milk kefir was. I told Rose at some time I am going to try and make milk kefir cheese to eat at home, but so far I havenít found the right recipe, but have seen many on the web.
dwighttsharpe thanks for your help and the link your referenced.