- Author: Shermain Hardesty
I erroneously referred to requirements in some recently passed legislation related to direct marketing as "regulations". So I am posting an edited version of the blog. It also includes some additional information.
Recently Passed Legislation Related to Direct Marketing and Food Safety
California's Legislature recently passed several bills related to direct marketing and food safety. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has recently implemented some new requirements related to these bills. While these requirements could increase growers' costs, they also have the potential to foster more favorable market conditions for smaller farms engaged in direct marketing.
Some of the major provisions in these bills and their requirements are summarized below. It would be helpful for producers who direct market to review CDFA's Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines, http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/sffsg.html since they are referenced in all three pieces of legislation. Note that they are guidelines, rather than requirements. CDFA intends to revise them to be consistent with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements, after the FDA has finalized the FSMA regulations (which I have heard could occur around October, 2015.)
Please note that this is NOT a complete listing of the requirements associated with AB 224, AB 1871 and AB 1990. I have added bold and italicized fonts to emphasize specific phrases. If you have any questions or concerns about these new regulations, please email me, Shermain Hardesty, Leader of the UC Small Farm Program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AB 224 CSA Programs (Gordon—signed September 28, 2013)
- Authorized CDFA to adopt regulations establishing a registration program for CSA producers, including those supplying multi-farm CSAs
- $75 annual fee, $25 for each amendment
- Registration form is in the CSA section of: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/cfm.html
- The form requires producers to certify the following: “…to the best of my knowledge and belief, this report is true and complete. I further certify that I am knowledgeable and intend to produce in accordance with good agricultural practices as published by the department. See
http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/cfm.html for a copy of guidelines. I am aware I must also comply with any other local, state or federal laws.”
- Required CDFA to post Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines for crops on its website as mentioned above
- Required CDFA to post Food Safety Guidelines for processed potentially hazardous foods. Such foods fall under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Public Health and local health agencies, rather than CDFA. Thus, this will require inter-departmental coordination and could require significant time because the food safety requirements for such foods vary considerably
- Imposed specific requirements related to the labeling and maintenance of consumer boxes and containers that are used in CSA programs to deliver farm products in order to facilitate traceback
- Label the consumer box or container used to deliver farm products to the consumer with the name and address of the farm delivering the box or container
- Maintain the consumer boxes or containers in a condition that prevents contamination
- Inform consumers, either by including a printed list in the consumer box or container or by delivering a list electronically to the consumer, of the farm of origin of each item in the consumer box or container
- Maintain records that document the contents and origin of all of the items included in each consumer box or container, in accordance with department regulations
- Comply with all labeling and identification requirements for shell eggs and processed foods imposed pursuant to the provisions of the Health and Safety Code, including, but not limited to, the farm's name, physical address, and telephone number
- Specified that a registered California direct marketing producer is an approved source, subject to compliance with specified provisions of the law, and that any whole uncut fruit or vegetable or unrefrigerated shell egg grown or produced in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and food safety guidelines shall be deemed to be from an approved source
AB 1871 Certified Farmers Markets (Dickinson—signed September 26, 2014)
- Raised fee paid by Certified Farmers Markets for their vendors from 60 cents to $2 daily. Only farmers used to pay the fee, but now extended to all vendors, including food and crafts sellers in non-agricultural sections
- Required farmers to register with County Ag Dept. and pay a fee annually
- When farmers get their Certified Producers Certification for selling at Certified Farmers Markets, required them to attest that they are “knowledgeable of and intend to produce in accordance with 'good agricultural practices' (GAPs)--as outlined in CDFA's Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines mentioned above. CDFA will soon be adding a supplemental page to meet this requirement to either its online fill-in form or at the Ag Commissioner's office when producers pick up their certificates
- Required farmers selling at certified farmers markets to post a conspicuous sign or banner at their stand that identifies the farm/ranch by name, the county where the farm/ranch produces the products being offered for sale is located, and a statement that “We Grow What We Sell” or “We Raised What We Are Selling” or similar phrases that clearly represent that the farm or ranch is only selling agricultural products that they themselves have grown or raised on California land that they possess or control. Product sales by different farms at the same vendor stand shall separate the products from each farm or ranch and correspondingly post the required sign or banner in direct relationship with the sales display of the products produced by each farm.
- Authorized use of the term “California grown” and similar terms for marketing, advertising, or promotional purposes only to identify food or agricultural products that have been produced in the state or harvested in its surface or coastal waters, and made the fraudulent use of the term or a deliberately misleading or unwarranted use of the term a misdemeanor
AB 1990 Community Food Producers (Gordon—signed September 26, 2014)
- Defined “community food producers” as an approved source that includes, but is not limited to, community gardens, personal gardens, school gardens, and culinary gardens
- Unless a local jurisdiction adopts an ordinance regulating community food production or agricultural production that prohibits the activity, AB 1990 permits a community food producer or gleaner to sell or provide whole uncut fruits or vegetables, or unrefrigerated shell eggs, directly to the public, to a permitted restaurant, or a cottage food operation if the community food producer meets all of the following requirements in addition to any requirements imposed by an ordinance adopted by a local jurisdiction:
(2) Agricultural products shall be labeled with the name and address of the community food producer.
(3) Conspicuous signage shall be provided in lieu of a product label if the agricultural product is being sold by the community food producer on the site of production. The signage shall include, but not be limited to, the name and address of the community food producer.
(4) Best management practices as described in CDFA's Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines (as mentioned above), but not limited to, safe production, processing, and handling of both nonpotentially hazardous and potentially hazardous foods (see http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/sffsg.html)
(5) Egg production shall be limited to 15 dozen eggs per month.
- Permits a local city or county health enforcement office may require a community food producer or gleaner to register with the city or county and to provide specified information, including, but not limited to, their name, address, and telephone number
Please note that this is NOT a complete listing of the requirements associated with AB 224, AB 1871 or AB 1990.