Potential Food Safety Hazards in Farmers Markets.
Food Safety Hazards which include Microbiological Hazard can be extremely unbearable. Microbiological hazard is typically a state when food substances get contaminated by microbes found in the air, food, water, soil, animals and the human body in totality.
Chemical Hazards. Chemical hazards can occur at any point during harvesting, storage, preparation and service
Consumers often view foods sold at farmers markets as healthier and
safer than foods produced and shipped long distances and sold in stores.
However, outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have occurred from products sold at farmers markets. Studies in the U.S. have shown that rules regarding farmers markets and the
food products allowed for sale vary from state to state.
A survey of farmers market managers found that few have written food safety plans for their market, and many managers do not ask questions of growers or vendors as to how products are produced or processed. Products in U.S. markets include fresh produce and products made in small businesses, many of which may be operated in home kitchens under cottage food regulations.
Studies indicate that threats to the safety of products sold in farmers markets can be categorized into threats from the environment, threats due to the infrastructure or facilities and threats from people—both vendors and customers.
Observations have included a lack of handwashing and sanitation, lack of
refrigeration, pets in the market, vendors eating and drinking while handling foods
and other issues that could put customers at risk. Regulatory personnel and Extension
food safety educators responding to a survey indicated that it is prevalent to very
prevalent for owner/operators (55–74%) with whom they work to view their products
as unlikely to cause illness because their businesses are small, local or organic.
However, respondents noted a lack of food safety knowledge, including knowledge
of allergens, required labeling and other regulatory requirements among these vendors.
These and other practices could put customers in farmers markets at greater
risk for foodborne illnesses.
Studies have identified the potential for food safety hazards to exist in farmers markets.
Self-reported data as well as direct observations have noted problems with
hand hygiene, sanitation, temperature control and animals in the market place.
Surveys of regulatory personnel and food safety educators have identified a perceived
lack of knowledge among vendors with whom they work about food safety risks associated with products being produced and sold, a lack of understanding about regulatory requirements and licensing that may be needed and a lack of knowledge related to food allergens and allergen labeling.
Risky behaviors have been widely observed in markets across the U.S. as well as in other countries. This raises questions and concerns about products that consumers view as more nutritious and safer than those sold in grocery stores.