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State Cracking Down On Farmers Markets
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 05:15 PM CDT
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has announced new rules they are intended to ensure safe food that is honestly presented.
Local food producers say it will be more difficult to provide customers with fresh products and will cost them thousands of dollars.
DSHS just recently reviewed Senate Bill 81, which made it easier for vendors at farmers market to obtain temporary permits to prepare food on site, and decided on some amendments.
The bill also protected "farmers market" vendors from state or local authorities, dictating how they maintain safe temperatures for their foods.
The amendments label “farmers market” vendors as a food establishment and require them to maintain documentation onsite, listing the foods and food handling activities that involve bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
Govinada Hough, who farms sprouts, says it cost her 15 thousand dollars and almost a year to get all the licensing needed to meet the new regulation.
“I had to classify my farm as a commercial kitchen. I had to build a commercial kitchen. We had to do all the labeling we had to go through the health department to get the permits, “said Hough.
The changes also label cottage food and agricultural products, as well as eggs and egg products, as potentially hazardous.
DSHS says vendors will have to meet time and temperature control regulations to ensure food safety.
Though the consequences for violations are unclear at this point, vendors say this could lead to less "farmers markets" or less vendors.