July 9, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman
PRINCETON, Ky.

New rules on the kinds of homemade products that can be sold at local farmers markets went into effect June 30. These changes will allow farmers to add to their selection of items for sale, but they must meet specific requirements.

Under the legislation there are two types of home processors that can sell their products directly off the farm, through local farmers markets listed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, or from roadside stands certified by the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Under this regulation, home-based processors may sell low risk foods such as apple pies, sweet sorghum syrup, jams, jellies and breads but must register with the Kentucky Food Safety Branch. There is no fee or training required for this type of home processing but there are labeling requirements.

The second category outlined in the legislation is the home-based microprocessor. Foods in this category include salsas, pickled cucumbers and pressure-canned vegetables. Farmers planning to sell these kinds of products will be required to attend special training and will be certified and inspected by the Kentucky Food Safety Branch. There is a $50 microprocessor certification fee.

Before a microprocessor will be certified they must successfully complete a University of Kentucky College of Agriculture microprocessor workshop or an approved “Better Process Control School.”

The first class on home canning basics will be July 21 at the Clark County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. This class is designed for farmers who have little experience canning or need updated information, or who would like clarification on the new rules, said Dr. Sandra Bastin, UK foods and nutrition specialist and coordinator of the HB 391 schools. At this class, which is from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., participants will learn how to safely can jams and jellies, including proper handling of equipment. There is a $20 fee for the class.

Three microprocessor workshops also are scheduled across the state. The first workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton. A second one is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at UK’s Robinson Station in Jackson, with the third set for 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Fayette County Health Department at 333 Waller Avenue. All times are local. There is a $50 fee for the workshop.

Participants can bring their recipes to the workshop and a processing authority may be available to start the review process, Bastin said. All recipes must be reviewed before a processor will be certified.

Anyone wanting to attend the home canning basics class or a microprocessor workshop should contact Bastin at 859-257-1812 or at sbastin@uky.edu.

Items that farmers are prohibited from selling under the new rules include crème-filled pies, custard, custard pies, pies with meringue topping, cheesecake, cream, custard and meringue pastries, raw seed sprouts and garlic-in-oil mixtures. Foods vacuum-packed in anything other than mason-type glass jars and canned, pureed baby foods also are prohibited.

Applications for home-based processor registration and home-based microprocessor certification are available from the Department for Public Health Web site at

http://chs.ky.gov/publichealth/Food-Program.htm, local health departments, or from county offices of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.  Once the appropriate application is completed, the document should be mailed to:  Kentucky Food Safety Branch HS2E-C, Health Services Building, 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, KY 40621.  The application can also be taken to your local health department, which will forward the information to the Food Safety Branch. 

If you have any questions concerning the registration process for home-based processors or the certification process for home-based microprocessors, contact the Kentucky Food Safety Branch at 502-564-7181.

Contact: 

Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278

Source: Sandra Bastin, 859-257-1812