What permits do I need to sell my products at a farmers' market?
PERMITS required for selling at farmers' market
As reported by Judy Blaisdell of the Maine Dept. of Ag, April 2011
- PHF=“Potentially Hazardous Food”, non acidic processed foods.
- HACCP=Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, see "Cider".
Fruits, berries and vegetables — no permits necessary if unprocessed.
Potatoes — no permits necessary if unprocessed.
Meats of all kinds — Must be slaughtered under Inspection (state or USDA). (A list of slaughterhouses in Maine can be found here.) Will require a retail meat license, label review and a mobile vendor license.
Milk (goat or cow) — requires a Milk Distributor License, will require a mobile vendor license to sell from farmers’ markets.
Pickles, jams, jellies, chutneys, salsa, etc. – Acidified foods, must have process review done by a food processing authority. If the product is determined to be NOT Potentially hazardous it may be manufactured in the home kitchen under a Home food manufacturing license. Potentially Hazardous Foods (PHF) CANNOT be manufactured in the home kitchen and will require a Commercial Processing License. Will require a mobile vendor license to sell from farmers’ markets.
Cider – Will require a cider processing license, possibly a HACCP plan, and will require a mobile vendor license to sell from farmers’ markets. HACCP, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, is a food safety system aimed at identifying and preventing hazards from contaminating food. Cider that is not pasteurized or UV treated needs to be produced under a HACCP plan or be labeled with a warning label.
From the cider processing regulations:
II. Acceptable Processing Methods and Controls
Cheeses (soft or hard; cow, goat or sheep) — Milk Distributor license, and mobile vendor license to sell at farmers’ market.
- Processors of apple juice and cider must use one of the following processes:
- Treatment by ultraviolet light;
- Production under a State of Maine approved HACCP plan; or
- Production in a sanitary environment and conspicuously labeled “Not Pasteurized, Keep Refrigerated”, and “WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized. It may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems” on the principal display panel of the label.
Yogurt, Kefir, Gelatto, etc. — Milk Distributor/frozen dessert manufacturer license, and mobile vendor license to sell at farmers’ market.
Maple Syrup — Maple syrup processing license, will require a mobile vendor license to sell at a farmers’ market.
Honey — Will require a mobile vendor license to sell from Farmers’ markets. Home food processing license if bottling, raw honey comb can be sold with no license.
Baked goods — Home Food Manufacturing license if baking in the home or a bakery license for a commercial location, also requires a mobile vendor license to sell at a farmers’ market.
Eggs — If producers have less than 3000 birds they are exempt from license and inspection. Eggs must be kept refrigerated at 45º F or less and must be labeled properly, which includes your name and address with zip code, quantity declaration, product identity. If packing into recycled cartons, it is necessary to obscure or obliterate any USDA marks of inspection and any other company names.
Prepared, ready-to-eat foods — Food service is licensed through DHHS Health Inspection Program. Please contact HIP at 287-5671 for licensing information.
Fermented vegetable foods (Tempeh, Kim Chi, Sour Kraut, etc.) — will require a process review from a food processing authority. Can be done at UMO food science dept. Contact Dr. Al Bushway at 581-1629, if it is determined this is not a PHF and the process is determined to be appropriate for the home kitchen it may be made under a Home Food Manufacturing license. Otherwise it will require a commercial processing license. In either case a mobile vendor’s license is needed to sell at a farmers’ market.
Fish — Must be from processed in a commercial facility licensed as a commercial food processor. Requires a mobile vendors license to sell at a farmers' market.
Sprouts — defined as a PHF by US FDA, must be grown and processed in a licensed facility, cannot be done in the home kitchen. Requires a commercial food processors license and a mobile vendors license to sell at a farmers' market.
Garden Seedlings — Each permanent location requires a license to sell nursery stock (plants). This would mean the growing location should be licensed, but not each farmers' market location. http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pi/horticulture/licensing.htm.
Ornamental crops (trees, flowers, hanging baskets) — Each permanent location requires a license to sell nursery stock (plants). This would mean the growing location should be licensed, but not each farmers' market location. http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pi/horticulture/licensing.htm.
Wreathes and Christmas trees — It is not necessary to obtain a Maine nursery stock license to sell cut Christmas trees and wreaths. Shipping such items out of state, however, is more complicated. See
Pet Foods — Individuals wanting to sell pet food (dog food, dog biscuits, etc.) need to register each product with the ME Dept of Ag. Here is a link to the application: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/qar/qarforms/FeedSeedApp07.pdf