Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do Farmers Markets` Provide Safer Food?

Here is a Washington Post article on food safety at Farmers` Markets.  Thanks to Ray Eckhart for sending it along.

Farmers` Markets seem to be everywhere these days and more and more people are buying their food there. And the scope of products range from fruits and vegetables to raw meat to hoagies to barbeque chicken.   But is that food sold at a Farmers` Markets safer because it comes from a small farm? Evidence would indicate that this is not necessarily the case.

I have a positive view of Farmers Markets` in that they promote local agriculture and get people a little closer to the source of the food (so the kids know their apples are not grown in the grocery store).   However, all it takes is one outbreak related to a Farmers` Market purveyor and that can dampen the enthusiasm of many shoppers. It would be in the best interest of the Famers’ Market coordinators as well as the farmers themselves to ensure the safety of the food sold.   Are purveyors licensed and inspected?  Do they know the basics of food safety including proper cooking temperatures and proper holding temperatures of food?  Are they practicing proper handling of the food they are selling?  If selling raw meat, are they conveying the right information to the consumer that the product must be properly cooked for safety?

How comfortable are you about buying meat or further processed food at a Farmers’ Market when it is 100ºF outside?

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