Safe Food Options at TN Farmers Markets

Shopping at the farmers market is a wonderful way to support your local economy, meet the farmer who grows your food and the baker who bakes your bread. Like any food product you purchase at a grocery store, it is important to know what the labels mean so you can make informative decision about the foods you buy for your family.

The TN Department of AgricultureâTMs Consumer and Industry Services issued a farmers market state compliance guide for vendors who sell their products at TN farmers markets. In the guide it states:

Processed foods in any form and packaged for resale offered at a farmers market must come from a licensed and inspected facility unless it is nonâpotentially hazardous food prepared in a domestic kitchen. (T.C.A. § 53â1â208).

"Nonâpotentially hazardous food" means jam, jellies, candy, dried mixes and other such food that do not meet the definition of potentially hazardous food. (T.C.A. § 53â8â117(a)(2))

Unlicensed vendors of nonâpotentially hazardous food are required to place a sign (8.5''x 11" with 3/4'' font) at the point of sale and on the label which states âThese product(s) were made in a private home not licensed or inspectedâ (T.C.A. § 53â8â117).

Beginning in July 2018, the Department of Agriculture will no longer be inspecting domestic kitchens since the foods made in domestic kitchens are all foods that do not pose a risk to the public. In the long run this will save tax dollars and prevent regulations from impeding on direct sales entrepreneurs.

To learn more about how and where the product was made, you can talk with the farmer at your local farmers market. If your farmer is selling a potentially hazardous food, the label should note that it was made in a licensed and inspected kitchen.

"Potentially hazardous food" means any food that consists in whole or in part of milk or milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, edible crustaceans, or other ingredients which is in a form capable of supporting rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms, home canned foods other than jams and jellies, or any food that requires temperature control for safety.â (T.C.A. § 53â8â117(a)(3).

Canned foods, other than jams and jellies, can only be sold if processed by a licensed and inspected operation. These kinds of processed food are classified as âformulated acid foodsâ and âacidified foods.â There are specific regulations for each, and it is best to avoid canned goods that are not made in a proper facility.

Farmers markets are a wonderful option for buying your weekly groceries from people you trust to grow and bake your food, and TN markets are striving to conduct business with the best food safety possible. Know your farmer and know that you have the ability to safely and affordably feed your family with locally made and grown TN food!