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Farm Direct FAQ

When is the Farm Direct law effective?


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What kinds of businesses are covered?

  • The new law and rules implementing it cover agricultural producers (farmers) selling crops, eggs and honey that they produced directly to retail customers. Farm direct products cannot be commingled with those of other agricultural producers.
  • Farm direct venues include farmers' markets, roadside stands, community supported agriculture (CSA) drop sites, buying clubs, church bazaars and any other venues where the sales are direct from farm to retail customer.
  • Farm Direct rules do not change licensing requirements for selling through stores, restaurants and institutions. Licensing is still required for wholesale activities.
  • Farm direct marketers may consign a limited number of farm products to another direct farm seller under certain conditions assuring their traceability (See Can agricultural producers sell items under consignment?).

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What farm products can an agricultural producer sell directly?

  • Fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes and seeds.
  • Eggs and unadulterated honey.
  • Pickles, sauerkraut, preserves, jams, jellies and syrups under certain conditions.
A detailed list of those products that can be sold without licensure and inspection and the conditions on their sale can be found in Attachments A & B accompanying this document.
 

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Can I sell my own meat, poultry, or fish without a license?

  • No. Farm Direct Marketing Rules contain no exemption from licensure for the sale of meat, poultry, fish or dairy in any form.
  • Under separate rules there are exemptions from licensing for a person who slaughters not more than 1,000 poultry per year and meets other requisites outlined in the Poultry Bill

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Can I make preserves in jars and sell them without a license


Yes, the Farm Direct Marketing Rules cover a number of value-added, shelf-stable products that are bottled, canned or packaged. These items include: syrups, jams, preserves, jellies and canned fruit. Other products that may be produced and sold under the exemption include: pickles, chutneys, relishes, sauerkraut, and some salsas.
  • The foods above must be producer-processed, acidic and labeled with the statements, "This product is homemade and is not prepared in an inspected food establishment," and "Not For Resale."
  • There is a gross annual sales limitation of $20,000 for these foods.  

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What do the Farm Direct Rules mean by "acidic food?"

  • An "acidic food" is a bottled, packaged, or canned food that meets any of the following requirements:
    • Product has a naturally occurring equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below. 
    • Product has been lacto-fermented to decrease the equilibrium pH of the food to 4.6 or below.
    • Product has a water activity greater than 0.85 and had been acidified to decrease equilibrium pH of the food to 4.6 or below

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Do agricultural producers need to grow the principal ingredients?

  • Yes, agricultural producers must grow all the principal ingredients, such as strawberries for strawberry jam, in order to be eligible for the exemption. No commingling of principal ingredients is allowed. Agricultural producers are not required to produce the sugar, pectin and lemon juice for the jam.
  • Farm Direct Marketing rules limit the additional, non-principal ingredients that may be added to foods processed under these rules to herbs, spices, salt, vinegar, pectin, lemon or lime juice, honey, and sugar.
  • Processed products must be producer-processed-meaning that the agricultural producers making the products also grew the principal ingredients. Agricultural producers who have another licensed processor manufacture their product for them are not eligible for the Farm Direct Marketing exemption.

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Can I purchase and use garlic, onion, or celery in my product?


No. Garlic, onion and celery do not meet the definition of a "spice" (21 CFR Part 101.22(a)(2)).  The garlic, onion and celery would need to be grown by the farm direct marketer.

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What is the gross annual sales limitation?


There is a $20,000 sales limitation on producer processed acidic products under the Farm Direct Bill.
  • If an agricultural producer's gross sales of jams, jellies, pickles and other acidic foods exceed $20,000, the producer must either obtain a license for his or her own facility or transfer production to a licensed co-processor.
  • The $20,000 cap is calculated by adding together the gross sales of all acidic products produced under the farm direct exemption during a calendar year. The exemption does not apply individually to each separate product.
Do I need to maintain production records?

Processing and production records for products having a water activity (aw) greater than 0.85 and having been acidified to decrease the equilibrium pH of the food to 4.6 or below will show that the process and product formulations comply with all critical factors mandated by a recognized process. These records include:
  • Providing batch-by-batch finished product testing.
  • pH meter calibration records.
    • Colorimetric methods including, but not limited to, indicator solutions and indicator paper may be used if the equilibrium pH of the product is 4.0 or lower.
Farm direct marketers will maintain sales records of acidic foods processed under the Farm Direct Marketing Bill that include the following information:
  • Product(s) sold
  • Price
  • Quantity sold
  • Current, rolling total of year-to-date sales.
Copies of all production and sales records must be maintained for a period of three years and made available to the ODA upon request.
​​

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Do I need to maintain production records?


Processing and production records for products having a water activity (aw) greater than 0.85 and having been acidified to decrease the equilibrium pH of the food to 4.6 or below will show that the process and product formulations comply with all critical factors mandated by a recognized process. These records include:
  • Providing batch-by-batch finished product testing.
  • pH meter calibration records.
    • Colorimetric methods including, but not limited to, indicator solutions and indicator paper may be used if the equilibrium pH of the product is 4.0 or lower.
Farm direct marketers will maintain sales records of acidic foods processed under the Farm Direct Marketing Bill that include the following information:
  • Product(s) sold
  • Price
  • Quantity sold
  • Current, rolling total of year-to-date sales.
Copies of all production and sales records must be maintained for a period of three years and made available to the ODA upon request.
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Do I need to maintain production records?


No. Canned goods must have a pH at or below 4.6. Non-acidic or low-acid canned foods with a pH higher than 4.6, such as peppers, green beans or sweet corn, pose a substantial risk of botulism and other food safety concerns, and must be processed by a licensed and inspected processor.
 

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Do I need to maintain production records?


Agricultural producers must ensure that all canned products they produce are acidic and have a finished pH at or below 4.6. Canned products with a pH at or below 4.6 inhibit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, and are generally considered to be safe as long as the product is heat treated to destroy any harmful vegetative cells. Monitoring of pH levels in tomato-based foods is especially important since certain varieties of tomatoes may not be sufficiently acidic to produce a safe product without additional acid, such as vinegar.

Producers must monitor and record the pH (acid level) of each batch of acidified foods, as is required by administrative rule, to ensure the safe production of canned products. A pH meter or potentiometer is a standard way to determine product pH, but if the equilibrium pH of the product is 4.0 or lower, colorimetric methods such as indicator solutions and indicator paper may be used instead. Cornell University has a helpful guide to purchasing a pH meter. Acidified foods must be processed using a published process and product formulation that has been approved by a recognized process authority. Examples of published processes and product formulations that have been approved by a recognized process authority can be found in:
  • United States Department of Agriculture Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2009 Revision;
  • Pacific Northwest Extension publications. The Pacific Northwest Extension publications are produced cooperatively by Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the University of Idaho; or
  • So Easy to Preserve, 5th Edition, which is offered by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
Agricultural producers can instead send a proposed process and sample for approval by a recognized process authority. Contact a process authority through Oregon State University, Department of Food Science and Technology Extension Service.


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Can I sell canned foods other than acidic foods?

  • Yes. All state and federal labeling requirements still apply, even to foods produced under the farm direct exemption. State and federal labeling laws require that the information on the label includes: a list of ingredients, net weight, and the name and address of the agricultural producer.
  • Additionally, the principal display panel for certain products such as jams and pickles must bear the following two statements: "This product is homemade and is not prepared in an inspected food establishment," and "Not For Resale." Please see Attachment A to determine which products require this additional labeling.
  • Dried fruits, vegetables and herbs, including those dried as part of normal post-harvest handling do not require the "homemade" disclaimer on the label. 
  • The labeling requirements above differ slightly for honey eggs, legumes and grains (see below).

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How will I know if my canned products are safe?

  • Yes. Farm Direct Marketing Rules allow agricultural producers to sell fruits, vegetables and herbs they have grown, harvested and dried without a license. No commingling is allowed.
  • A license is not required to sell nuts grown, harvested, cured or dried, and cracked by agricultural producers.
  • Drying farm produce such as garlic and potatoes as a part of post-harvest handling does not require a license.

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Are there labeling requirements?

  • Agricultural producers can grow and process for farm direct sale a variety of products: whole, hulled, crushed or ground grains, legumes and seeds, plus parched or roasted grains-if of a type customarily cooked before consumption. No commingling is allowed.
  • These products must bear a label stating: "This product is not prepared in an inspected food establishment," and "Not For Resale."

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Can I dry what I grow if I want to sell it without a license?


The Farm Direct Marketing Rules allow the sale of farm-produced honey. However, the following rules apply to honey producers:
  • Producers selling only to retail customers (end users) do not need a Food Safety Program license, regardless of the number of hives owned.
  • If a honey producer has more than 20 hives, then all honey must bear a label that states: "This product is not prepared in an inspected food establishment," and "Not For Resale."
  • Honey producers still need an apiary registration with the Commodity Inspection Program of ODA if they own five or more hives.
  • Producers who have more than 20 hives and are wholesaling honey need a Food Safety Program license.
How do the rules affect the sale of eggs?
The Farm Direct Marketing Rules allow the sale of farm-produced eggs. However, the following rules apply to egg producers:

  • Producers selling only to retail customers (end users) do not need a Food Safety Program license, regardless of the number of eggs sold.
  • Eggs must bear a label that states: "This product is not prepared in an inspected food establishment," and "Not For Resale.
  • Eggs can only be sold under consignment if the agricultural producer selling the consigned eggs has an egg handler license.
​​

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Can I direct-market grains and legumes that I have grown?

The Farm Direct Marketing Rules allow the sale of farm-produced eggs. However, the following rules apply to egg producers:

  • Producers selling only to retail customers (end users) do not need a Food Safety Program license, regardless of the number of eggs sold.
  • Eggs must bear a label that states: "This product is not prepared in an inspected food establishment," and "Not For Resale.
  • Eggs can only be sold under consignment if the agricultural producer selling the consigned eggs has an egg handler license.
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How do the rules affect the sale of eggs?


Farm Direct Marketing Rules allow an agricultural producer to roast the producer's own peppers, nuts and corn-on-the-cob and to pop the producer's own popcorn at farmers' markets, if the foods mentioned above are processed after purchase and are not sold for immediate consumption. If an agricultural producer wishes to pop or roast his/her own commodities for immediate consumption, he/she should contact the County Health Department to discuss the requirements for a temporary restaurant license.

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How do the rules affect the sale of honey?


Under Farm Direct Marketing Rules, consignment means selling products for another agricultural producer who is from either the same or an adjoining county as where the seller is located.
  • The agricultural producer doing the selling must represent the consigned goods as property of the agricultural producer who produced them, and must ensure that the products are clearly labeled with the name, business address, and county of the agricultural producer who produced the products.
  • Consignment is limited to farm direct sales of: fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, unshelled nuts, honey, plus items like garlic and potatoes that are cured or dried by the agricultural producer as part of routine post-harvest handling.
  • Eggs can only be sold under consignment if the agricultural producer selling the consigned eggs has an egg handler license.

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How do the rules affect the sale of eggs?

  • Although the bill primarily addresses activities of agricultural producers (farmers), one section of the bill does address the characterization of farmers' markets and other organizations (such as church bazaars or CSA drop sites) where farm direct marketing takes place.
  • Organizations that manage a group of farm direct marketers and the spaces upon which their stands are set up are not required to be licensed as food establishments when the organizations' activities are limited to hosting farm direct marketers.
  • If an organization that manages a site where farm direct marketing takes place were to operate in the same manner as a grocery store - buying and selling food - it would need to be licensed as a food establishment.
  • Organizers and/or managers of sites where farm direct marketing takes place should make sure that the products offered for sale meet one of the following three requirements:
  1. The food is in the category of fresh fruits and vegetables grown by the agricultural producer.
  2. The food is otherwise exempted under the Farm Direct law or rules; or
  3. The food is produced and/or sold by a licensed establishment.

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How do the rules affect the sale of eggs?

Attachment A: Foods Included in the Farm Direct Bill

Food Item
No Sales Limit
$20,000 Sales Limit
"Not Inspected" Labeling Requirement
Allowed For Consignment*
fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs
 X
 
 
X
dried fruits, vegetables, herbs
 X
 
 
 +
grains, whole or cracked
 X
 
 X
 
parched or roasted grains
 X
 
 X
 
fresh legumes and seeds 
X
 
 
 
dried legumes and seeds
 X
 
 X
 
flour
 X
 
 X
 
nuts in shell
 X
 
 
 X
shelled nuts
 X
 
 
 
eggs in shell
 X
 
 X
 X*
natural honey, no additives
 X
 
 X
X
canned fruit, syrups, preserves, jams, jellies
 
X
X
 
salsa and hot sauce
 
X
 X
 
sauerkraut or lacto fermented vegetables
 
 X
 X
 
pickles
 
 X
 X
 
*Consignment allowed only when the agricultural producer selling consigned eggs has an egg handler license.
+Not unless part of routine post-harvest handling.

Attachment B: Conditions of Sale

Unlimited Sales

  • fruits, vegetables, herbs (fresh and dried)
  • grains, whole or cracked
  • parched and roasted grains
  • legumes and seeds, fresh and dried
  • flour
  • nuts, shelled
  • nuts, unshelled
  • eggs, in shell
  • natural honey, no additives
  • popcorn, popped (prepared on-site; not intended for immediate consumption; packaged to take home.)
  • nuts, roasted(prepared on-site; not intended for immediate consumption; packaged to take home.)
  • peppers, roasted (prepared on-site; not intended for immediate consumption; packaged to take home.)
  • corn-on-the-cob, roasted (prepared on-site; not intended for immediate consumption; packaged to take home.)

Subject to $20,000 Annual Gross Sales Limitation and extra labeling requirements

  • canned fruit (acidic, fruit-based)
  • syrups (acidic, fruit-based)
  • preserves (acidic, fruit-based)
  • jams (acidic, fruit-based)
  • jellies (acidic, fruit-based)
  • salsas that are naturally acid, or made acidic by addition of ingredients
  • sauerkraut, kim chi, and other lacto fermented fruits and vegetables
  • pickles in vinegar (fruit or vegetable)
  • pickle relish, acidified
  • chutneys that are naturally acid, or made acidic by addition of ingredients

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