Some farmers' markets and vendors are hearing mixed messages from inspectors about upcoming regulations. While there are no new regulations taking effect in 2013, it is important to clarify the existing rules for produce handling. For example, when you have bagged greens are you allowed to close the bag? The official answer is, yes, you can close the bag, but if you do, you must label the contents with an individual label on each bag. On the other hand, if you leave the bag open until after the customers purchases it, no individual label is needed. Lettuce and greens sold as whole leaves (with or without a bag) require the least regulation, where greens that are cut or chopped and bagged must be processed in an inspected kitchen.
FMMN is proactively engaging senior regulators at the state level to learn about any changes in advance. With most regulatory changes there is usually lead time of months or years before any new rules take effect. If and when there are new regulations that may affect farmers' markets, we at FMMN will report it to our members and on this website.
According to Terri Gerhardt, Assistant Chief, Division of Food Safety at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, there are no regulation changes that will be taking effect in 2013 that farmers' market vendors need to prepare for.
If you are hearing about changes from your local inspectors, please refer them to:Terri Gerhardt Ohio Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division
8995 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-3399
Phone: (614) 728-6250 Fax: (614) 644-0720