Farmers' Market Licensing Changes

Farmers' Markets have grown greatly in popularity during the past few years due to the increased interest in healthier foods and lifestyles coupled with an increased understanding of the importance of maintaining sustainable farms on the fringe of urban environments.

Pennsylvania Act 106 of 2010 was designed to strengthen oversight of food safety inspections for all retail food facilities. The Act was designed to improve consumer food safety by updating current laws to:
  • Reflect modern food science
  • Eliminate duplication of inspections
  • Standardize inspections
Act 106 became effective on January 22, 2011, at which time the Health Department began enforcing Pennsylvania Chapter 46. Food Code.

Requirement for Licensure
The main change that affects farmers' markets in Chester County is the requirement for licensure of each individual vendor as opposed to the previous regulations which allowed for an "umbrella" license to be held by the coordinator for the entire farmers' market. The change was made to ensure that vendors would not be impacted negatively by the actions of non-compliant vendors. The entire farmers' market does not need a license unless the operator is supplying all of the retail foods sales.

Vendors at farmers' markets are responsible for the following:
  • Obtain and maintain the appropriate license. Different types of licenses are required for different types of vendors. Contact the Environmental Health Specialist responsible for your area to discuss your proposed operations.
  • Submit all applications and fees for licenses to the Health Department at least 20 days before your first sale date.
  • Vendors are only permitted to sell foods that they are approved and/or licensed to sell. If the vendor is exempt from a license, an exception letter is typically issued.
  • Vendors must meet or exceed the regulations outlined in the Food Code.
  • Maintain an open line of communication with the Health Department and further your education in food safety.
  • If required, submit with application the water test results for total coliform.
Additional information, including application and guidelines, is available on our Farmer's Market page.