Food Safety Guidelines

Quick links to Info on Food Safety and Farmers Markets

Farm Direct Bill

Passage of the Farm Direct Bill in 2012 means we now have a firmer legal situation for farmers markets in Oregon.  Farmers markets, CSA drop sites, church bazaars — and any other place that provides space to farmers but does not itself engage in buying and selling food — are clearly not subject to regulation as food establishments or produce peddlers.

Most of the Farm Direct Bill is about what farmers can sell directly with and without a license. Some provisions in the law simply put into law policies that ODA has followed for decades, like not regulating farm direct sale of fresh produce other than to require scale licenses if product is to be weighed.

In some cases, the  law does allow products to be sold without a license that would have been licensed in prior years – and which still must be licensed if the seller is not the grower, or if the products otherwise do not fit the provisions of the law.

In a couple of instances, the law actually gets a bit more restrictive:  unlicensed eggs and honey now require a disclaimer similar to that required for some other deregulated items.

FAQ’s for markets re: Food Safety

For which product categories will your market REQUIRE vendors to carry product liability insurance? Some farmers markets require product liability insurance of all vendors, and other markets pick out categories of product that must have insurance. Risks are not equal across the range of market products. On the other hand, carrying insurance is a good practice that protects vendors, if the costs of doing so are not prohibitive.

Is there food safety training that markets can recommend to market vendors considering products like jams, preserves, syrups and pickles?
Master food preserver classes cover many of the products in the Farm Direct Bill, plus others that can never be sold without a license, like low-acid foods. Some counties offer community food preservation classes that might be a good fit. Eventually, we hope OSU Extension will be able to adapt materials from other states with similar laws. OSU offers a two-day Acidified Foods School for $350 and a four-day Better Process Control School for $600. Applicability depends in part on the product, but these classes go well beyond the needs of farmers experimenting under the new law.

How will customers understand their choices? 
The Farm Direct law requires a disclaimer on certain products, including jams, preserves, pickles, grains, honey and eggs so that customers know they were not made in a licensed facility. The disclaimer for honey and eggs is slightly different than the one for other products.