Fermented foods evidence dates back to some of the first writings of man. Imagine having to cast 200 pounds of clay in place of a piece of paper today. This is what the ancient Sumerians did around 4000 BC. What could be so important to write on these 200 pound clay tablets? Beer recipes of course! Fermented foods both nourished and protected man over the centuries. Most fermentations leave more nutrition behind than they found. And, its far safer to drink wine or beer than water (especially from a water source that also served as the sewer). Fermentations are a waiver/variance based process under the US FDA model Food Code. A HACCP plan is needed and should be pre-approved before implementation.
For the “very small” food processor, care should be used to ensure they have a safe process and product. Despite the fact that fermented foods have a very good safety record, they are not free of a food-borne illness history. Some of the newer artisanal food processors are fermenting kombucha and plant-based cheese and yogurts. These fermented foods do not have much (if any) published, research-based, food safety controls. It is not considered prudent to assume that animal-based cheeses are safe, then plant-nd a based cheeses must also be safe. And, artisanal processors must use caution when removing safety factors such as salt, lactic acid bacterial starter cultures, and pasteurization. Don’t let marketing hype reverse the fact that dairy products caused 25% of foodbrone illness in 1938 and less than 1% in 2011. Sadly, most of the dairy outbreaks since 2011 were in “raw” unpasteurized milk products.