06/16/2006

The Minister of Health and Long Term Care, George Smitherman, has announced that farmers markets and community events will be able to continue operations as usual while still protecting the public’s health.
The Government has provided clarification to an enforcement issue that had resulted in uneven application of legislation across the province related to farmers markets and community events. The government has exempted farmers markets from rules that apply to restaurants and other commercial establishments through amendments to Regulation 562 (Food Premises) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA). This will ensure that farmers markets are not held to unrealistic standards developed for very different types of retail establishments like grocery stores and restaurants.

The Government has committed to a $1.5 million dollar education campaign that will promote safe food handling and preparation practices at farmers markets and community events.

Recognizing the distinct nature of farmers markets, the government has exempted them from having to follow the requirements of the Food Premises Regulation under the HPPA.  While market vendors are now exempted from the Food Premises Regulation, the HPPA will still apply.

The sale of uninspected meats, unpasteurized milk and ungraded eggs at farmers’ markets continues to be prohibited. Public health inspectors will continue to have the duty and authority to investigate and intervene – on a case by case basis - should a health hazard exist.

AMO is pleased that the Ministry has heard the concerns expressed by our ROMA members and have subsequently implemented measures that recognize the importance and value of community events and farmers markets.