Farmers Market Food Safety Regulations
Farmers Market Food Safety Regulations For Caldwell County
It can be a challenge to understand the food safety regulations that apply to farmers market vendors. Below is a guide to help understand the various regulations as applied to the typical farmers market vendor in Caldwell County.
Unprocessed fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, whole grains, and honey are sold without regulatory intervention.
- Eggs are often marketed under an exemption listed in the NC Egg Law (http://www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/egglaw.htm). The exemption is for eggs sold by the producer. This applies to those who market less than 30 dozen per week. The labeling rules still apply, but the grading does not if less than 30 dozen are being marketed.
- Anyone selling meat should have a “Meat Handlers License” and the packaged meat should have an NC or Federal inspection stamp. For more information visit http://www.ncagr.gov/MeatPoultry/meathandlers.htm
- Low-risk packaged foods (Baked goods, Jams and jellies, Candies, Dried mixes, Spices, Some sauces and liquids, and Pickles and acidified foods) can be made in a home based food business. Anyone selling these products is regulated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA). To learn more about this, visit “Starting a home based food business” and schedule a home kitchen inspection by completing the form at http://www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/homebiz.htm
- High-risk packaged foods (Refrigerated or frozen products, Low-acid canned foods, Dairy products, and Seafood products) must be processed in a commercial kitchen when offered for sale. For more information visit http://www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/commercial.htm
- Non-packaged / pre-packaged food intended to be consumed at time of purchase (food vendors) are regulated by the Caldwell County Health Department – Environmental Health. This activity requires inspection and a sanitation grade.
The main contact for NCDA – Food Program is 919-733-7366 and the contact number for the Caldwell County Health Department – Environmental Health is 828-426-8582. This is an outline of the basics. If there are specific questions please contact one of the regulating agencies or the Caldwell County Extension Center (828-757-1290).