Guidelines for Farmers Market Sampling

Authorized By Section 8-104.1 (A) of the Columbia Food Code

Vendors of fresh fruits and vegetables, and vendors of inspected farm meats may provide samples using the following guidelines:

  • No self-serving of samples will be allowed without sneezeguards or similar counter protection.
  • Bare hand contact with ready to eat food is prohibited.
  • Tobacco use is prohibited in any food preparation area.
  • Minimum requirements will include immediate access to hand washing facilities. If a permanent pressurized hand washing facility is not available, a container (5 gallon minimum) with a spigot could be allowed. The container must allow water to flow until physically turned off (No pushbutton spigots). A container must be provided to collect wastewater. Liquid soap and paper towels must be available. Overhead protection, and/or fans may be required on a case-by-case basis.
  • All utensils used in food preparation must be stored in a clean water and chlorine solution of a minimum of 50 ppm. If determined as necessary additional pre-wrapped utensils may be required.

Sampling of meats:

  • All meats must come from inspected approved sources. Vendors must be able to show proof of the approved source.
  • Meat items may be served directly from a covered grill using sanitary methods, such as toothpicks or tissues. If foods are cooked and held, the meat must remain above 140 degrees. If time is used as a public health control, it must be declared in writing, and unserved foods shall be disposed of immediately after 4 hours.
  • Foods must be protected from contamination and flies at all times.
  • If condiments are used, they must be available in single service packets.
  • Meats must be in pre-formed patties, or pre-cut portions not requiring preparation.

Temperature Control of Foods:

  • Required internal cooking temperatures for potentially hazardous food are: chicken-165°F, Ground beef and pork-145°F and beef-140°F.
  • Partial cooking of potentially hazardous foods is prohibited.
  • Metal stemmed thermometers accurate to within plus or minus 3°F must be provided to monitor temperatures.

Sampling of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:

  • All fruits and vegetables must be rinsed thoroughly in clean water. Melons must be rinsed in a chlorine solution prior to slicing.
  • Fruits and vegetable sample servings must be protected from contamination at all times.
  • Serving must be done in a manner that protects the sample from any bare hand contact. The use of gloves, single service utensils, napkins or tissues, or toothpicks may be used to sample.

All Processed Foods must come from an approved and inspected kitchen. A Columbia Business license and a Health permit must be obtained from the City of Columbia Finance Business license office prior to selling processed foods at the Farmers Market.

Sampling of processed foods requiring preparation at the site must comply with mobile concession requirements, or temporary food event rules.

Sampling of jams, jellies, salsa and other similar foods may be allowed if limited preparation is required. An example might be a vendor putting a dab of jelly on a cracker, serving it to a customer on a napkin.