From offices in Boise, Post Falls, Twin Falls, and Pocatello, TechHelp Specialists help Idaho manufacturers, food processors and entrepreneurs improve their competitiveness through continuous product and process innovation.

Winter Newsletter for Food Producers from Dr. J

Hello All and Happy Holidays!

I hope the weather is not treating you too harshly as we enter the holiday season.

We are thrilled to announce that our team has expanded with the arrival of Stuart Walker, a 28-year research and development veteran in the food industry. Stuart joined TechHelp as a Food Specialist in October of 2023 after working for almost 12 years at the renowned Litehouse Food Company in Sandpoint, Idaho. He looks forward to utilizing his extensive food formulation and manufacturing knowledge and background to help solve the current problems being experienced by Idaho food manufacturers. Stuart will be based in Boise but will serve Idaho food processors statewide. 

Contact Stuart at or 208-597-5655 to learn how he can help your company. 

USDA Regional Food Business Center Opens in Our Region

TechHelp is part of the advisory group for the USDA Regional Food Business CentersThe Northwest and Rocky Mountain Regional Food Business Center includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and, most importantly, Idaho. The Centers focus on four themes: 

  • Building Animal Protein Supply Chain Capacity

  • Creating Diverse Markets for Climate-Resilient Agriculture

  • Connecting and Scaling Food Entrepreneurs

  • Supporting Right Size Investing and Infrastructure. 

The Food Business Center will act as a central hub for small and mid-sized food and farm businesses in our region, as well as for local and regional food sector development initiatives. It will support cross-regional collaboration, provide and analyze timely and relevant data, and act as a gateway for USDA programs and other third-party funding opportunities. The Center will focus on underserved farmers, ranchers, and food businesses.

Congratulations to Oma and Popie’s Seasoning Sauces and Spice Blends and Northern Latitude Foods for receiving grants from the Center to attend the Winter Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas in January. These two Idaho food producers will showcase their products in the Incubator Village section of the event. We wish them the best of luck in finding new customers.

We will publish additional grant opportunities from the Food Business Center and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture soon. Keep an eye out for these opportunities, and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. 

Open Enrollment Courses

We are building some great courses for next year. They have not yet been posted to our webpage, but we are diligently working on it. We will have a mix of our standard certification courses, such as HACCP, PCQI, Internal Auditing, and CAPA. We will also include some new ones, such as an Intro to Dairy Micro workshop and courses on sustainability, robotics/maintenance workshops, and free webinars.

For the latest updates, check our calendar at

If you don’t see a course you need, let us know, and we would be happy to help.

Intentional Adulteration Plan

It is time to check that you comply with the Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration. You may know that the FDA has been conducting Quick Checks since March 2020. However, with the National Security Memorandum NSF 16 signed on November 10th, the FDA is transitioning to inspections on compliance to the IA rule. So, instead of just checking to see if you have a signed food defense plan, the FDA will start assessing the adequacy of that plan and your implementation strategies. They will issue a Notice of Inspections (FDA Form 482) to review your Food Defense Plan according to the IA rule. In that spirit, we will offer some Food Defense Qualified Individual (FDQI) courses this year so you can get additional people trained to oversee and maintain that plan. 

For those of you looking for continuous improvement and cost savings strategies, we partnered with the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance to offer a  Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Course beginning January 17 at IMA’s HQ in Nampa. Past attendees have found this course to be very helpful in creating and maintaining a continuous improvement culture. You can learn more or register at

Happy Holidays and Thanks!

I think that’s enough for today. If you need any assistance with a new ingredient, a sanitation issue, preparation or response to non-conformances with a third-party audit (including GFSI) or customer, exploring how automation can help you, struggling with a transportation issue, or any other related problem, please feel free to get in contact with us. We can help you eliminate those pain points.

Thanks to all our friends for working with us this year. We appreciate your business and all you do to make Idaho such a great place to live. 

Happy Holidays

Dr. Janna Hamlett


Have a wonderful, tasty and safe Holiday Season. We look forward to seeing you and working with you in the New Year. Get 2024 off to a tasty start with us at the FARE Idaho Field to Fork Event January 18 at JUMP in Boise. We hope to see you there.

More Upcoming Events