WV Small Farm Center

Farmers Market Vendor Guide

Information in this document is current as of July 1, 2009, and may change with LAW. Please refer to your local health department should questions arise .

Download Farmers Market Vendors Guide (PDF)

Baked Goods Meats
Applebutter, Sorghum, and Molasses Poultry
Dairy Products Fish
Eggs Fruits and Vegetables
Honey Chef Demonstrations
Jams and Jellies Sampling
Preserved or Canned Foods  

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), and the West Virginia Farmers Market Association have worked together with other members of the West Virginia Food Safety and Food Defense Task Force to develop this guide. This guide provides consistent information for farmers, food vendors, and sanitarians who work together to provide fresh, safe, and quality food for the consumer. This document is to be used for guidance to determine what food items may be sold and the conditions that must be met at the point of sale. Please see contact information listed at the end of this publication for further clarification.

Depending upon the product sold, a vendor may be required to obtain a permit from the local health department as a Food Establishment. Coordinate with the local health department to determine who will and will not need to obtain a Food Establishment permit and the amount of the permit fee. The definition of a Food Establishment from the FDA Model Food Code, which was adopted by the WV Legislature April 2, 2008 states: “‘Food establishment’ means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food for consumption”. Further clarification of the definition is available on the WV Secretary of State’s webpage, Code of State Rule 64-17, Food Establishment Rule.

Maximum allowable permit fees for Food Service Establishments may be found on the Secretary of State’s webpage, Code of State Rule 64-30, Fees for Permit Rule.

Baked Goods: top

It is acceptable to sell baked goods and candy prepared in a home kitchen so long as they are NOT potentially hazardous. Potentially hazardous baked goods include:

  • Meringue, custard or cream pies
  • Cheesecake
  • Cream-filled cupcakes, donuts, pastries
  • Cream cheese based frostings or fillings

Products that are allowed for sale are cakes, fruit pies, yeast and fruit breads, and candy.

WVDHHR requires that baked goods be pre-wrapped or protected from contamination during display and properly labeled as required by WVDA. The vendor shall register with the local health department before the date of sale. While these products do not present a hazard from a bacteriological standpoint, the food may be contaminated with filth or other extraneous matter. Therefore, the health department reserves the right to inspect the home kitchens if conditions warrant.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name of product, e.g. apple pie, wheat bread
  • Name and address of processor
  • Ingredient list with items in order from most to least
  • Net weight or numerical count, e.g. 1lb, 14 oz, 13 cookies. The weight should be in US and Metric equivalency.
  • Major Allergens listed

Labels for baked goods may be considered provided if a placard is placed on the sales table and not on the individual package. However, if the product contains one of the eight (8) major food allergens (eggs, wheat, fin fish, shell fish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk products or soy) then a label must be provided with each product item. This could be a sheet of paper that includes the appropriate information.

WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Division of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with in determining net weights.

Applebutter, Sorghum, and Molasses: top

These products may be sold at Farmers Markets so long as they are properly labeled as required by WVDA. Due to the high sugar content and the high temperature of the product when it is jarred, the product is not considered to be potentially hazardous. No other products (e.g. pumpkin butter) shall be considered in this category. These products may be processed outside in copper kettles. The vendor shall register with the local health department before the date of sale.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name of product
  • Name and address of processor
  • Ingredient list with items in order from most to least
  • Net weight in US and Metric equivalency
  • Major Allergens listed

WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Division of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with determining net weights.

Dairy Products: top

Pasteurized milk, cheese and other dairy products may be sold at Farmers Markets if the following guidelines are followed:

  • Vendor has an approved Dairy Processing Plant
  • Product is pre-packaged
  • Product is kept at appropriate temperatures in coolers, refrigerated vehicles, or freezers with calibrated thermometers
  • The vendor must have a valid Food Est. Permit from the local health department before the date of sale
  • Products are properly labeled and includes the following information:
    • Fluid milk container must state “Grade A”
    • Common name of product and common name of the hoofed mammal producing the milk shall precede the name of the milk or milk product when the product is or is made from other than cattle’s milk, e.g. goat cheese
    • Net quantity of contents
    • Ingredient list with items in order from most to least
    • Allergens listed
    • Identity of the milk plant-Name and Address or Plant Code

Aged cheese may be made from raw milk (unpasteurized) so long as the cheese is processed in an approved processing facility and aged for at least 60 days at a temperature of thirty-five (35) ºF or greater. Aging time and temperature may vary dependent upon the type of cheese processed. Contact regulatory agency for individual cheese aging requirements.


Eggs: top

Please find in the following links, a guide to marketing eggs in West Virginia, as put forth by the WV Department of Agriculture.
Letter to Egg Marketers
Marketing of Eggs Rule
Application to Sell Eggs
Egg Carton Label Template

This is a summary of those documents linked above. A small producer may market up to one hundred fifty (150) dozen eggs or less per week of their own production. The producer must register with the WVDA.

Small producers must label their cartons with:

  • The name and address of the person producing and selling the eggs
  • The date the eggs are packed
  • The words “Ungraded Eggs” in print of at least five-eighths (5/8) inch

Eggs shall be washed. Eggs shall be transported at forty five degrees F (45F), unless the time for transportation is less than three (3) hours. Eggs are to be stored and displayed at the Farmers Market in cold holding equipment capable of holding forty one (41F) or less. The eggs must reach the forty one degree (41F) temperature within four (4) hours of receipt at the market.

Small producers are permitted to pack in recycled or used cartons when the distributors name, address, expiration date, size and grade are marked out and replaced with the labeling required for small producers. Cartons shall be clean and free of odor or debris. More information may be obtained by contacting WVDA.

Any vendor selling eggs shall have a valid Food Establishment Permit from the local county health department, if applicable in that county.

Reference: 61CSR19 Egg Marketing Rule, 64CSR30

Honey: top

The sale of honey is permitted at Farmers Markets. The Apiarist must be registered with WVDA.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name of the product
  • Name and address of processor
  • Net weight in US and Metric Equivalency

Refer to WVDA for further information. WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Dept. of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with instructions on determining net weights.

Jams and Jellies: top

The sale of home-processed non-dietary jam and jelly is permitted at Farmers Markets as these products are not considered potentially hazardous. Fruits and berries usually associated with jams and jelly are grape, strawberry, raspberry, peach, orange, etc. (Hot pepper jelly must be acidified and therefore falls into the Preserved or Canned Foods category.) Persons wishing to offer jam and jelly products for sale shall register with the local health department before the date of sale. While these foods do not present a hazard from a bacteriological standpoint, the food may be contaminated with filth or other extraneous matter. Therefore, the health department reserves the right to inspect the home kitchens if conditions warrant.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name
  • Name and address of processor
  • Ingredient list with items in order from most to least
  • Net weight in US and Metric Equivalency
  • Major Allergens listed

WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Division of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with determining net weights.

Preserved or Canned Foods: top

The sale of home-canned, preserved, or processed foods, with the exception of non-dietary jams and jellies, is NOT permitted at Farmers Markets unless the products are from an approved Food Manufacturer. The vendor shall provide proof from WVDHHR that they are an approved Food Manufacturer. Persons wishing to offer these products for sale shall register with the local health department before the date of sale. Salsa, pickled vegetables, sauces, and dressings are examples of preserved foods. A food manufacturing” approval” is required to thermally-process or acidify food products that are offered for sale. Contact WVDHHR for more information on being an approved Food Manufacturer. Some requirements are listed below:

  • Separate approved kitchen facility
  • Certificate of attendance from a Better Process Control School
  • Processing methods must be approved and flow charts provided to WVDHHR
  • Registration with FDA
  • Approved label from WVDA
  • Approval to distribute from WVDHHR

Meats: top

Fresh or frozen meats may be sold at Farmers Markets if the following guidelines are followed:

  • All products must be commercially slaughtered under USDA or WVDA inspection, passed, and labeled
  • Raw products must be kept in cold holding equipment capable of holding the product at forty one (41F) or less
  • Meat products must be held, stored, and transported in a clean sanitary environment to keep products wholesome

The vendor shall receive a Food Establishment permit from the local health department before the date of sale. As part of the routine inspection the local health department may coordinate with WVDA and/or inspect the storage space of the product off premises of the sales area. Off premise storage should be in separate designated cold holding equipment that is stored in a clean, safe, and secure environment.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name of the product
  • Net weight of the product
  • Other information as required by WVDA and USDA-safe-handling instructions

Cured, smoked or dehydrated meats for sale at Farmers Markets shall be USDA or WVDA inspected. (See 9 CFR 303.1) The vendor must supply appropriate documentation at the point of sale proving the product has been approved.

WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Division of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with determining net weights.

Poultry: top

The vendor shall receive a Food Establishment permit from the local health department before the date of sale. As part of the routine inspection the local health department may coordinate with WVDA and/or inspect the storage space of the product off premises of the sales area. Off premise storage should be in separate designated cold holding equipment that is stored in a clean, safe, and secure environment.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name of the product
  • Net weight of the product
  • Other information as required by WVDA and USDA-safe-handling instructions

WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Division of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with determining net weights. Refer to CSR19 and WVDA for further information.

Fish: top

Commercially raised and harvested fish may be offered for sale at Farmers Markets. Wild caught fish are NOT allowed. Fish vendors must provide to market managers a certificate of wholesomeness that states for all species of product that the product was farm raised, at what farm it was raised, and whether or not the product was administered FDA approved medication. These documents must be provided every time fish is brought to the market. The required water tests shall be submitted once per year per water source to insure safe water samples. Markets shall keep a copy of these for two (2) years. Additional requirements are:

  • Raw products must be kept in cold holding equipment capable of holding 41º or less
  • Annual Scale certification
  • Fish must be gutted at an approved facility
  • Fish products must be held, stored, and transported in a clean sanitary environment to keep products wholesome

The vendor shall receive a Food Establishment permit from the local health department before the date of sale. As part of the routine inspection, the local health department may inspect the storage space of the product off premises of the sales area. Off premise storage should be in separate designated cold holding equipment that is stored in a clean, safe, and secure environment.

Labels must include the following information:

  • Common name of the product
  • Net weight of the product
  • Other information as required by WVDA

WVDA is able to assist with labeling and WV Division of Labor, Weights and Measures office can assist with determining net weights. Refer to 61CSR23A WV Fish Processing Rules under WVDA for further info.

Fruits and Vegetables: top

Whole, uncut fruits and vegetables may be offered for sale without registering with or receiving a Food Establishment permit from the local health department. Once cut, many fruits and vegetables are considered potentially hazardous foods. Melons and tomatoes are just two examples. These products, once cut, would have to be held below forty-one degrees (41ºF). Therefore, if offering cut fruits or vegetables the vendor would have to receive a Food Establishment permit from the local health department before the date of sale.

Sprouted seeds are NOT allowed for sale at a Farmers Market without having a HACCP plan and variance from WVDHHR and a valid Food Establishment permit.

Wild harvested mushrooms are NOT allowed for sale at a Farmers Market. However, there are several mushroom species that can be commercially grown from spores. The sale of mushrooms cultivated on the farm from spores and are harvested by the grower may be offered for sale at the Farmers Market. Proof of identity of the species and proof that the mushroom is edible shall be displayed at the sales area.

Other foods may or may not be allowed for sale. Approval for questionable products is at the discretion of the Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health or his/her designee.

Chef Demonstrations: top

Any cooking demonstration will be regulated under the guidelines of the 2005 Food Code and 64CSR17 “WV Food Establishment Rule”. A Food Establishment permit shall be required for any type of cooking demonstration in which samples are offered to the public. Please contact the local health department for requirements to operate a food establishment.

Sampling: top

WVDHHR allows the distribution of samples at Farmers Markets given:

  • Hand Washing Station is present
  • Sanitary procedures are followed
  • Proper food storage temperatures are maintained
  • Appropriate tools for dispensing samples are used
  • Adequate trash receptacles are available

Foods that are potentially hazardous such as cut melons, cooked meats, cut vegetables, cut tomatoes, eggs and dairy products may only be offered as samples when the vendor has obtained a Food Establishment permit from the local health department. Non-potentially hazardous foods (foods that do not require temperature control due to pH of <4.6 or water activity of <.85 fall into this category) may be offered as a sample without obtaining a Food Establishment permit.

A sample is defined as a food product where only a small portion is offered. A whole meal, sandwich, or an individual hot dish is not recognized as a sample.

Hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of illness. Therefore, at a minimum, a handwash station shall be located in close proximity to each vendor that is providing samples. The hand wash station shall be equipped with the following items:

  • Five (5) gallon cooler modified with a free-flow spigot or other similar unit
  • Catch basin for waste water
  • Soap
  • Paper Towels
  • Adequate supply of warm water
  • Waste receptacle

Sampling must occur under a roof. A tent or large umbrella may provide adequate cover if the vendor is not under a structure.

Samples may not be exposed to insects or other environmental contaminants. A fan or fly screen may be necessary. No bare hand contact with ready to eat food is allowed. Food handlers must wash their hands with soap and water before using deli tissue or gloves to touch the food. All utensils used must be cleaned and sanitized before use and as often as necessary throughout the day. Hot foods shall be maintained at one hundred thirty five degrees (135ºF) and cold foods below forty one degrees (41F) unless ‘time as a Public Health control’ is implemented. A properly calibrated food thermometer must be provided to check food temperatures. Samples must be served individually on plates, in cups, toothpicks, or similar items. It is vital that vendors control access to samples so that customers cannot touch any sample that is not theirs. Adequate waste receptacles must be provided. Animals shall not be allowed in any food preparation or sampling display area.

Contacts:

WVDHHR— Linda Whaley, Food Program Manager—304-558-6727 Jessica Lucas, Assistant, Food Program—304-558-6999 WVDA— Marketing & Development-Jean Smith-304-558-2210 Labeling—Teresa Halloran, Connie Tolleyl—304-558-2210 Eggs and Aquaculture—Herma Johnson—304-558-2227 Meats-Dr. Pitts, Quinton Jones, Perry Ferguson—304-558-2206 Weights and Measures: Elvin Kelly—304-722-0602 WV Farmers Market Association—Jack Dunbar—304-772-5175 WVU Extension Service—Tom McConnell—304-293-6131

BECKLEY DISTRICT OFFICE 100 East Prince Street Beckley, WV 25801 Telephone 304-256-6666 Fax 304-256-6672

Fayette-304-574-1617, Greenbrier-403-645-1539, Logan-304-792-8630, McDowell-304-448-2217, Mercer-304-324-8836, Mingo-304-235-3570, Monroe-304-772-3064, Nicholas-304-872-5329, Pocahontas-304-799-4154, Raleigh-304-252-8532, Summers-304-466-3388, Webster-304-874-2001, Wyoming-304-732-7941

FAIRMONT DISTRICT OFFICE Office of Environmental Health Services 9395 Middletown Mall, Ste. 200 Whitehall, WV 26554 Telephone 304-368-2530 Fax 304-368-2532

Barbour-304-457-1670, Braxton-304-765-2851, Doddridge-304-873-1531, Gilmer-304-462-7351, Harrison-304-623-9308, Lewis-304-269-8218, Marion-304-367-1746, Preston-304-329-0096, Monongalia-304-598-5131, Randolph-304-636-0396, Taylor-304-265-1288, Tucker-304-478-3572, Upshur-304-472-2810

ST. ALBANS DISTRICT OFFICE 808 B Street, Suite G St. Albans, WV 25177 Telephone 304-722-0611 Fax 304-722-0615

Boone-304-369-7967, Cabell-304-523-6483, Clay-304-587-4269, Jackson-304-372-1093, Kanawha-304-348-8050, Lincoln-304-854-3330, Mason-304-675-3050, Putnam-304-757-2541, Wayne-304-272-6761

KEARNEYSVILLE DISTRICT OFFICE 1948 Wiltshire Blvd. Kearneysville, WV 25430 Telephone 304-725-0348/9543 Fax 304-725-3108

Berkeley-267-7130, Grant-304-247-4922, Hampshire-304-496-9641, Hardy-304-530-6355, Jefferson-304-728-8415, Mineral-304-788-1321, Morgan-304-258-1513, Pendleton-304-358-7565

WHEELING DISTRICT OFFICE 117 Methodist Building 1060 Chapline Street Wheeling, WV 26003 Telephone 304-238-1145/1001 Fax 304-238-1002

Brooke-304-737-3665, Calhoun-304-354-6101, Hancock-304-564-3343, Marshall-304-845-7844, Ohio-304-234-3682, Pleasants-304-684-2461, Ritchie-304-643-2917, Roane-304-927-1480, Wetzel/Tyler-304-337-2001, Wirt-304-275-3131, Wood-304-485-1416

Funding for this guide is provided to the WV Food Safety and Food Defense Task Force through FDA grant # 1R13FD003595-01

Information in this document is current as of July 1, 2009, and may change with LAW. Please refer to your local health department should questions arise.