Issue: Current law states that farmers who wish to sell eggs produced on their farm are exempt from retail food licensing requirements, so long as those eggs are sold directly on the farm where they are produced or at a registered farm product auction, and the producer maintains 500 or fewer birds annually. Farmers only need to have a free inspection done by ODA to legally sell their own eggs in this situation. The same exemption does not exist, however, for those selling their own eggs at a registered farmers’ market. In order to legally sell their own eggs at a farmers’ market, a producer must obtain a temporary or mobile retail food establishment license from their local health district, in addition to having the free ODA inspection performed. Handling and storage requirements and the costs for these licenses vary widely, but often are prohibitive to a farmer looking to direct market their products.
OHIO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION STATE POLICYCurrent OFBF State Policy regarding Issue (if any)Policy #253 Farm and Farmer’s Markets (Pg. 2-10) in general.
Specifically, Lines 13-14, “We support creating tiers of inspection fees at farmer’s markets for meat, poultry and eggs.”
Discussion Questions:• Is there a reason to have different legal requirements for selling eggs on the farm or at a registered farm product auction versus selling eggs at a registered farmers’ market? Should the licensing requirement or exemption apply to all outlets of sale for eggs?
• Does the licensing requirement for farmers’ markets ensure food safety, or does it unfairly limit producer participation in farmers’ markets?
• Instead of an exemption, is a different category of license and fee appropriate in the case of farmers’ markets? Or, should there just be a full exemption for farmers selling their eggs who annually maintain less than 500 birds?