|The Alabama Farmers Market Authority has been working with the
Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to allow the sale of
home-processed foods at farmers markets. While ADPH does not directly
regulate Farmers Markets, they do, however, have authority to regulate
food establishments and food processors that may be operating within a
farmers market. They also have authority to prohibit unpermitted food
establishments and food processors from operating in the State. And,
they have broad authority to prohibit the sale of processed foods that
have not been processed in a permitted establishment.
FMA and ADPH agreed upon a proposed regulation change to exempt home
kitchens that process certain foods for farmers markets from the
definition of food establishments, thereby in effect establishing an
exception to ADPH rules by allowing certain home-processed foods to be
sold at farmers markets without any concern of intervention by ADPH.
The State Board of Health approved the amendment to Chapter 420-3-22-.01
of the Rules of Food Establishment Sanitation to clarify the definition
of food establishment, specifically, what is exempted from regulation as
a food establishment.
Chapter 420-3-22-.01 now
excludes a kitchen in a private home from the definition of food
establishment if only food that is not potentially
hazardous (time or temperature control required for
safety) is prepared for sale or service at a function such as a
charitable, religious, civic, or not-for-profit organization's food
sale, or at a state sanctioned farmers markets, and if
the consumer is informed by a clearly visible label, tag, or placard at
the sales or service location that the food is prepared in a kitchen
that is not inspected by a regulatory agency.
This exclusion shall not be construed as allowing the
sale of low acid foods in a hermetically sealed containers (i.e. such as
home-canned vegetables) when such food is not prepared in a permitted
establishment. Effective date is April 23, 2009.
This effectively excludes
farmers markets from regulatory requirements of the ADPH regarding
non-potentially hazardous home processed foods. Certain
home processed foods, for example baked breads, rolls, cookies,
cakes, brownies, fudge, and double-crust fruit pies; traditional fruit
jams, jellies, marmalades and relishes; candy; spices or herbs; snack
items such as popcorn, caramel corn and peanut brittle, may be
sold at farmers markets with appropriate labeling.
Home-processed vegetables cannot be sold at farmers
markets unless prepared in a permitted establishment.