Publication Designed to Help New and Veteran Kansas Vendors
OLATHE, Kan. – Many of us have wandered through a farmers market and envisioned ourselves selling produce, baked goods or other foods. Farmers markets are a great way for food producers and value-added food processors to directly connect with their customers, increase sales, and get feedback from customers.
An updated 2015 guide is available to help new, as well as veteran farmers market vendors in Kansas navigate the best practices to ensure the safety of various types of food offered at what for many of us marks the real spring season. K-State Research and Extension, along with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, recently updated “Food Safety for Kansas Farmers Market Vendors: Regulations and Best Practices,” which helps to clarify regulatory requirements and lists recommended best practices to ensure the safety of the types of food offered at farmers markets. It is available for free download at Food Safety for Kansas Farmers Market Vendors: Regulations and Best Practices.
“To protect this valuable outlet for Kansas’ local products, it is essential that the food sold at farmers markets follows food safety best practices and is produced and processed according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture rules and regulations,” said Londa Nwadike, Olathe-based consumer food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “Not only will this ensure that products are as safe as possible, it will also assure your customers that your business, as well as the entire farmers market, has product quality and safety in mind.”
Some of the best requirements for food producers selling at farmers markets include:
- Cook, transport and hold foods at the proper temperatures to prevent rapid bacterial growth. Hot prepared foods must be held at 135 degrees F or higher, cold perishable foods at 41° F or less, and frozen foods must be kept frozen.
- Reduce possible cross-contamination that can transfer bacteria from one food to another. For example, be sure that raw meat does not contact ready-to-eat food or fresh produce.
- Practice good personal hygiene such as clean clothes and clean hands to prevent transferring bacteria to your food.
- Product samples must be offered in a sanitary manner and follow basic guidelines (outlined in the publication).
Kansas farmers market vendors also must comply with the following key regulations:
- All products sold must follow proper licensing, labeling and temperature requirements. More details on the products that require licensing and those requirements are included in the previously mentioned publication.
- Ingredients or food used to prepare food for market must be from safe sources.
- Baked goods such as cookies and breads made in a home kitchen are allowed for sale if they are not considered potentially hazardous. Potentially hazardous food examples include custards, cheesecakes, etc. Potentially hazardous foods require a KDA food establishment license.
- Fresh uncut fruits and vegetables do not require a license for sale; however, if the products are sold cut, a KDA food establishment license is required.
Vendors also should check with the particular market where they are selling, Nwadike said, as some may have more stringent requirements than state regulations.
For a list of area farmers’ markets, visit Explore From the Land of Kansas.