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Extension > Food > Food Safety > For Foodservice Industry > Regulations, Policies, and Procedures > Selling or serving locally grown produce in food facilities

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Regulations, Policies, and Procedures

Selling or serving locally grown produce in food facilities

Food facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, food shelves and school lunch programs can legally buy or accept donated produce from a farmers’ market or directly from a grower and offer it to their clients, students, or customers. This fact sheet defines some common terms and provides answers to some frequently asked questions about how food facilities can use locally grown produce safely and legally.


The following terms are commonly used when describing the relationships between businesses who grow or raise food and those who provide food to the public.

Food facility

Food facilities include food establishments, businesses and non-profit organizations such as:


Growers may include:


Sell and sale mean keeping, offering, or exposing for sale, use, transporting, transferring, negotiating, soliciting, or exchanging food; having in possession with intent to sell, use, transport, negotiate, solicit, or exchange food; storing, manufacturing, producing, processing, packing, and holding of food for sale; dispensing or giving food; or supplying or applying food in the conduct of any food operation or carrying food in aid of traffic in food whether done or permitted in person or through others.

Minnesota Statutes, chapter 34A.01, subd. 12

Approved space

Wholesale and retail businesses have different requirements for approved spaces. Here are some examples of requirements:

Frequently asked questions

Can a grower be an approved source?

Yes, food facilities can buy or accept produce directly from a produce grower if the food is grown on a farm or garden occupied or cultivated by the grower. Growers must ensure that all food they sell or donate complies with applicable regulations. These may include:

For more information on these regulations, please contact the MDA at 651-201-6027.

Is a grower required to have a food handler license to sell or donate their produce?

It depends on the situation. People who sell or donate produce from a farm or garden they rent or own are exempt from licensing. This includes whole or processed produce with no added off-farm ingredients.

Minnesota Statutes, chapter 28A.15, subd. 2 and MN Constitution Article 13, Section 7

These situations require a food handler license:

Anyone who produces, processes, handles, or vends food, whether or not they need a license, must comply with other food safety rules and requirements. Additional information on licensing, food safety, and specific product or processing requirements is available from the MDA.

When do I need to use an approved space for processing?

An approved space is not required for processing done in the field or packing shed, such as:

An approved space is required for further processing, such as:

An approved space AND food handler license are required for:

What is the role of the person in charge (PIC) or supervisor?

Everyone working with food shares the responsibility to use safe food handling practices that reduce the potential for foodborne illness.

In retail food establishments, the PIC must:

In food processing plants, competent supervisors must:

What are other purchasing and receiving guidelines for local produce?

What kind of documentation should food facilities get from a grower?

Food facilities should obtain a receipt that includes the following information:


Minnesota Department of Health Food Business Safety

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Food Safety

Food Safety Modernization Act, Preventive Controls for Human Food

Minnesota Department of Health
Food, Pools, and Lodging Services
PO Box 64975
St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
Food, Pools, and Lodging Services
Minnesota Department of Health District Offices

Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Food and Feed Safety Division
625 Robert Street N
St. Paul, MN 55155-2538
951-201-6027 or 1-800-697-AGRI
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

September 2016

To obtain this information in a different format, call 651-201-4500 or 651-201-6000.

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