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Certified Farmers Market Info

Last modified: 3/5/2012 11:53 AM
Certified Farmers' Market Information




  1. A certified farmers' market (CFM) is a food facility, as defined in Section 27521 of the California Health and Safety Code, and shall not be open for business without a permit to operate issued by Environmental Health Services. The health permit must be posted in a conspicuous place at the CFM.
  2. This location and operation must be certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner and operated as specified in Article 6.5 (commencing with Section 1392) of Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations.
  3. Only agricultural products may be sold or offered for sale at a CFM.
  4. All food sold at a CFM shall be produced, packed, stored, transported, and kept for sale so as to be pure, free from contamination, adulteration, and spoilage; shall have been obtained form approved sources; shall otherwise be fully fit for human consumption; and shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law Division 21 (commencing with Section 26000).
         Proof that each certified and non-certifiable agricultural food product is from an approved source is required. The market manager should maintain a copy of each vendors documentation at the CFM location. This documentation may include a Certified Producer Certificate for certified agricultural products, or proof that processing and storage of non-certifiable agricultural products is done at a location which is under regulation by an authority acceptable to the State Department of Health Services, or the Department of Environmental Health. Such proof would include Food Registration from the State Food and Drug Branch, a local county health permit from the jurisdiction where the production takes place, or a federal inspection certificate.
  5. All food shall be stored at least 6 inches off the floor or ground or under any other conditions which are approved.
  6. Food preparation is prohibited.
  7. Processed foods must be produced and stored in an approved facility and properly packaged and labeled.
  8. Dispensing methods for bulk sales of ready-to-eat, non-certified agricultural products, such as dried fruit and shelled nuts, shall be approved by the Department of Environmental Health. These foods must be transported, stored, displayed and dispensed in a manner which protects the foods at all times from sources of contamination such as dust, insects and customer coughing, sneezing or handling. Approved clear plastic bulk food containers with hinged doors or lids will meet this requirement. Scoops or other similar utensils must be used for dispensing of the product into bags or other containers. Direct hand contact with the food product must be avoided.
         Customer self-service of non-certifiable agricultural products is not allowed.
  9. Approved toilet and handwashing facilities shall be available within 200 feet of the premises of the CFM. For the purposes of this CFM, portable or chemical toilets will not be approved for use.
  10. No live animals, birds, or fowl may be kept or allowed within 20 feet of any area where food is stored or held for sale. Guide dogs, signal dogs, or service dogs when used within the meaning specified by Section 54.1 of the Civil Code are exempt from this paragraph.
  11. All garbage and rubbish shall be stored, and disposed of, in a manner approved by the Department of Environmental Health.
  12. Potentially hazardous food must be stored and displayed at or below 41°F at all times.
  13. All products sold as organic must be grown, produced, processed and labeled in accordance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990, Health and Safety Code beginning with Section 26569.20.
  14. Un-inspected, processed red meat, poultry, fowl, or rabbits may not be sold.
  15. Vendors selling non-agricultural food products are required to have a valid permit from the Department of Environmental Health and are not considered part of the CFM. These vendors must be separated by at least 20 feet from the CFM and the area must be clearly labeled as not part of the CFM.

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The CFM guidelines do not apply to vehicles engaged in food sales activities adjacent to CFMs.
     Vendors selling non-agricultural food products, such as bakery items, form vehicles are required to have a valid permit for each vehicle from the Department of Environmental Health, Consumer Protection Division, and are not considered part of the CFM. These vendors must be separated by at least 20 feet from the CFM or be located in an area clearly identified as not being part of the CFM.
     Article 11 of the California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law shall be applied to these vehicles just as it applies to any other "vehicle" engaged in retail food sales within Santa Clara County, with two exceptions. Vehicles which are specially permitted for, and engaged in, food sales activities only in the general proximity of a designated CFM, and in no other area of the county:

  1. May have a single table located immediately outside the vehicle from which non-agricultural food product may be sold; and
  2. Must have identification signs permanently affixed to each side of the vehicle, OR a single sign located so as to be readily visible to customers, such as on the back of the vehicle or on the sales table.