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Graze Safely at your Local Farmers Market

Farmers markets are great! I wish more people would try shopping from local farmers and vendors, before heading to their local supermarket. Farmers market vendors provide seasonal fresh produce and delicious delights. Truly, where else can you go to get just picked fresh produce and unique handcrafted foods and goods, sold directly to you from the entrepreneur manning the stand. As a vendor at multiple farmers markets, it’s wonderful to be able to interact directly with the people who buy your product. I cannot get that type of feedback when my product is at the supermarket.

Buyer beware though, not all items can legally be made from home to sell directly to the public. Food manufacturing has many regulations and not all vendors at farmers markets follow the guideline set forth by the Michigan Cottage Law. Farmers Market managers try to oversee what is being sold, but occasionally items that are unsafe to make at home; mustards, pickles, fresh salsas etc. show up and are sold anyway. (Note: Fessler’s products are manufactured in a licensed kitchen and are sold in supermarkets and online)

The Cottage Law in Michigan clearly specifies the items that cannot be made and sold at local farmers markets and stands. All items should be clearly marked if they are produced in a kitchen that is not inspected by the health department. Your best bet is to ask. When shopping at farmers markets, if you come across any of these items, make sure to ask if they were made in a Licensed Kitchen. If not, you could be exposing yourself to contaminants and processes that are not approved by health standards. Eat healthy, but stay safe and aware.

Potentially hazardous foods that require time and/or temperature control for safety are NOT ALLOWED to be produced in a home kitchen and must be produced in a licensed kitchen.

Some examples include:

    • Meat and meat products like fresh and dried meats (jerky)
    • Fish and fish products like smoked fish
    • Vegetable jams/jellies (e.g., hot pepper jelly)
    • Canned fruits or vegetables like salsa or canned peaches
    • Canned fruit or vegetable butters like pumpkin or apple butter
    • Canned pickled products like corn relish, pickles or sauerkraut
    • Pies or cakes that require refrigeration
    • Milk and dairy products like cheese or yogurt
    • Cut melons
    • Caramel apples
    • All beverages, including fruit/vegetable juices, Kombucha tea, and apple cider
    • Cut tomatoes or chopped/shredded leafy greens
    • Focaccia style breads with fresh vegetables and/or cheeses
    • Food products made from fresh cut tomatoes, cut melons or cut leafy greens
    • Sauces and condiments, including barbeque sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, or mustard
    • Salad dressings
    • Pet food or treats

For more information
Click Here-MI Cottage Food Law Information

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