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Safe food sampling at farmers markets

Suzanne Driessen

This checklist outlines the requirements of the 2014 Safe Food Sampling legislation (M.S.28A.151). Vendors and food demonstrators preparing and serving food samples must follow the ‘special event food stand’ regulations (4626.1855). No food license is required for product sampling per M.S.28A.151.

Handwashing station Food equipment
Within food stand   Food grade – clean and nonabsorbent  
Insulated food grade thermos – minimum 5-gallons with water (70° – 110°F)   Good repair – working properly  
Water container free flowing via turn or flip spigot off the ground at least 2 feet   Cutting boards – smooth, no deep cuts  
Maintain water level 2 inches above spigot   Single–service items for samples, i.e. cups, utensils  
Soap, nail brush, paper towels, trash container   Clean colanders, cutting boards, peelers, knives, etc. to prepare samples  
Bucket to collect wastewater      
Structure Food temperature control
Overhead protection (tent or canopy)   Hot foods held at 140°F or above  
Flooring if on grass, gravel or dirt   Cold foods held at 40°F or below  
Food and food preparation areas protected from contamination   Thermometer in use (calibrated with range of 0 – 220°F)  
Dry chemical fire extinguisher, if cooking   Hot food samples cooked to required temperatures onsite  
    Temperature control during transport  
Water Resources Options Coolers
Municipal (public) water supply   Durable, insulated, with tight fitting lid and drainage spout  
Private well, tested annually for bacteria and nitrates. Meets safe drinking water and well water standards   Ice packs or dry ice to keep cold food at 40°F or below for 4 hours or less. If greater than 4 hours, mechanical refrigeration required  
Permanent potable water source at market accessed via food grade hose or portable food grade containers   Appliance thermometer in each cooler  
    Cooler for raw animal products  
    Cooler for beverages – if ice is used, drain so top of container is above ice  
    Separate cooler for ice, if serving ice in beverages  
Produce washing station General cleaning
Thermos with clean drinkable water   Bucket with soapy water and cloth to wipe up spills  
Separate catch bucket for produce waste water   Bucket with sanitizer (verify with test strips so bleach concentration is 50-100 ppm or Quats per manufacturer’s directions). If using bleach, check label unscented, EPA registered with directions for use on food contact surface  
All produce washed under running water before peeling, cutting or serving   Wiping cloths stored in sanitizer bucket when not in use  
Firm skinned produce scrubbed with a produce brush      
Storage Dishwashing
Separate raw and cooked foods   Option 1: Bring extra utensils and equipment and don’t re-use a dirty item  
Food, utensils or equipment stored 6” off the ground and in a sanitary manner until needed   Option 2: Wash for re-use at market 3 buckets or tubs:
  • Wash in soapy warm water
  • Rinse in clean water
  • Sanitize in warm water with proper sanitizer concentration (1 Tbsp. regular bleach per 1 gallon water—use test strips to verify concentration is 50 ppm).
Separate chemicals from food and equipment   Dish rack to air dry dishes  
    Extra thermos with hot water  
    Bucket to collect dirty dish water  
Serving samples Waste management
Main ingredient $ndash; product of farm or garden   Garbage container with plastic liner in booth  
Prepared onsite at the market or cottage food from home kitchen or in a licensed food establishment and transported to market   Waste container to collect sample containers and/or utensils  
Free, 3 ounces or less   Wastewater stored in container labeled ‘wastewater only’  
Money and food handled separately   Wastewater/garbage disposed into approved collection systems  
Tongs, spoons, spatulas, gloves used to dispense food   Personal health and hygiene
Sauces, condiments are self-contained squeeze bottles, sealed packs or in single-service containers with lids   Clean clothing  
Protected from customer contamination. No self–service.   Hair restraint or hat  
Sign identifying name of vendor and/or demonstrator   No eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum or tobacco in the booth  
Sign describing sample, i.e. Zucchini bread with nuts   No symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting within the past 24 hours  
Leftover food samples at end of market discarded   Cover cuts on hands and arms with a bandage and wear gloves  
    Wash hands before and after food preparation.  

References: M.S.28A.151, Special Food Event Food Stand 4626.1855; Event Food Booth Self Inspection, City of Minneapolis

Developed by Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator Food Safety Updated July 2016. Reviewed by Sarah Leach, Denise Schumacher, Registered Sanitarians, Minnesota Department of Health; Valerie Gamble, Registered Sanitarian, Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Kathy Zeman, Operations Manager, Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association

For more information contact Suzanne Driessen,, 320-203-6057.

July, 2016

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