State food inspection law has been changed to specifically regulate farmers markets.
Sponsored by Rep. Bob Barrett (R-Lindstrom) and Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), the new law creates a new section in statute that specifically addresses farmers markets. It specifies how food samples and cooking demonstrations at farmers markets will be regulated. Farmers will need to provide regulatory agencies with information upon request such as the source of the food and the equipment used to prepare it.
The law is effective April 12, 2014.
Late in the bill’s path through the Legislature, it was amended to address problems chili cook-off participants were having with health inspectors. Organizations that conduct chili or soup cook-offs are now exempt from statutory food inspections and licensing requirements, provided they meet the following requirements:
- receive approval from the municipality where the cook-off is held;
- develop food safety rules and ensure the participants follow the rules; and
- place a sign by food that is not prepared in a kitchen that is licensed or inspected that states: “These products are homemade and not subject to state inspection.”