RE: Farm and Farmers Market Enforcement Actions
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“The Greens Must be Sold Dirty”
The Ohio Department of Health/Department of Agriculture has issued a Notice of Violation to a farmer at a farmers market in Lake County on 7/8/09.
According to the notice, it is a violation to offer cleaned and rinsed “lettuce and mixed greens” in a package at a farmers market. It must be sold dirty, the notice says.
This is due to new rules and the definition of “food processing”. Since the lettuce was cleaned and rinsed with water, the food is defined as “adulterated” because the person doing so is an unlicensed “processor”.
Processors are also subject to home kitchen and farm inspections and seizure of business records. In effect the official notice implies that cleaned and packaged greens are adulterated, while dirty greens are healthier and safer. By their own definitions, dirty vegetables are acceptable, while cleaned and rinsed vegetables are not and are unsafe and “potentially hazardous”.
The official actions of ODH/ODA and their local agent in Lake County gives notice to all farmers markets and farm markets concerning cleaned and rinsed greens, and potentially for other fruits and vegetables.
Since these rules are developed in cooperation with USDA, similar actions are being taken in other states also.
Stay tuned for a farmers response plan for these type of enforcement incidents at farms and markets.
I spoke with Kris, the victim (literally a criminal in accordance with current law), for his side to what happened. He told me the inspector said it would be better yet to sell the greens with the roots on. Kris and his wife have two girls and a boy serving in the U.S. military– fighting for the freedoms we have here at home.
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Also see, State/local Health Depts Close Farmers Markets– the case of the lemonade stand, the hot coffee in a thermos violation and others.
In closing this developing story, I wanted to let you also know that an Amish grower of fine grass-fed beef contacted me last week and told me he was shut out of a Cleveland farmers market because he could not afford to comply with all the new rules, including the mechanical refrigeration. A friend of mine called tonight and told me he cannot sell his USDA organic certified meat on ice and now needs to sell it out of a truck parked down the street from the market.