In Grey and Bruce counties we have a strong agricultural heritage and a strong trend to buy local. Over the last couple of months we have seen an increase in the number of Farmer’s Markets. Besides offering locally grown or raised products, the Farmer’s Market is also an important part of local life in the community.
During the summer months at least a dozen of weekly Farmer’s Markets could be visited to buy local products. The shift in consumer activity resulted in an amendment to the Food Premises Regulation in 2006. Farmers Markets have been exempt from the requirements of the regulation as long as they comply with the requirements under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. In practice, this means that they are exempt of the Food Premise Regulation requirements, but are still required to operate in a safe manner, for example the sale of uninspected meat, unpasteurized milk or ungraded eggs is not permitted. To qualify for this exemption, a Farmer’s Market exists when 50 % + 1 of the vendors is primarily selling or offering for sale their own grown, raised or produced product.
Public Health inspections have been on-going to assess whether the markets qualify for the exempt status and to check that no health hazards exist.
Public Health will continue to work with Farmer’s Markets to identify training needs and to help them meet their requirements. For more information contact your local Public Health Office.