Farmers market vendors need to know regulations

Farmers markets are growing in popularity across Kansas and in Marion County. They are an outlet for local farmers and gardeners to sell healthy local produce and other foods directly to consumers.

Retail food sales, including at farmers markets, are regulated by the Kansas Department of Agriculture for food safety. KDA and Kansas State University Research and Extension publish guidelines for what is appropriate at farmers markets.

Restricted foods

Unless properly licensed, farmers market vendors should not sell:

  • Home-canned products other than fruit jams and jellies. Excluded products include home-canned pickles, meats, vegetables, fruits, and tomato products.
  • Home-canned pepper jellies.
  • Home-baked products that require temperature control for safety, including cream and meringue pies, custards, cheesecakes, cream-filled cupcakes or doughnuts, cream cheese-based frostings or fillings, etc.
  • Homemade dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
  • Uninspected meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Sprouts, cut leafy greens, cut produce, or wild mushrooms.

Allowed foods

The following foods are acceptable to sell at farmers markets, even without a license:

  • Baked goods including cookies, breads, cakes, cinnamon rolls, and fruit pies.
  • Fresh uncut fruits and vegetables.
  • Intact salad greens.
  • Dried or fresh, whole or chopped culinary herbs such as basil and dill.
  • Nuts, shelled or in-shell.
  • Honey.
  • Eggs, although they must be kept at less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit and cartons must be clean and properly labeled.
  • Home-canned fruit jams and jellies.
  • Cultivated whole mushrooms, fresh or dried.
  • Foods — such as sandwiches, pizza, and bierocks — prepared off-site and sold ready-to-eat by community groups, provided no staff is paid with proceeds from the food sales and the group sells no more than six times per calendar year.

More information is available from the Kansas Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Lodging Program and Kansas State University Research and Extension. A downloadable guide, “Food Safety for Kansas Farmers Market Vendors: Regulations and Best Practices,” can be found online at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/Item.aspx?catId=201&pubId=17219.

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