Regulations, Laws, and Policies

In Massachusetts, 590 defines a food establishment as an operation that stores, prepares, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption. Remember, this definition exempts produce stands that offer only whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables.

MGL Ch128 s1A defines farming, agriculture, and farming, and MGL Ch94 s305C gives MDPH the authority to license wholesale food processors and distributors, but exempts any person who is a purveyor of fresh fruits and vegetables or a farmer who produces and sells raw farm products, including eggs.

In order to balance food safety concerns with the increasing line of products offered at farmers markets, FPP developed a Farmers Market guidance document (No RF-08) (PDF). Print or save this document.  

Below is a summary of permit requirements and exemptions, based on the products for sale at farmers markets.  

Exempt from 590
(by definition)

Produce stands that offer only whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables

No Permit Required
(by policy or MGL)

  • Farm fresh eggs
  • Fresh produce
  • Maple syrup and confections made from maple syrup (i.e., formed maple candy, maple butter, maple cream, maple spread)
  • Unprocessed or raw honey

Permit Required
(by regulation)

  • Balut
  • Certain raw milk products, like cheese
  • Cider and juice (see section below)
  • Finfish and crustaceans
  • Meat and poultry
  • Processed foods
  • Shellfish
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Wine

 See the Glossary of Terms (PDF) for more detail on each of the product categories.

Cider and Juice

Print or save the MDPH Processing Guidelines for Apple Cider (FP-06) (PDF).

Below is a summary of what juice and cider retail and wholesale establishment operators can sell at farmers markets.

Retail Establishment Operators

Can be a vendor at a farmers market and sell unpasteurized juice or cider.

  • If the cider or juice is bottled, it must be appropriately labeled.
  • If the cider or juice is served to order, label information must be available (placard, table tent, or other effective written means).
  • Label requirements are listed on page 5 of the Processing Guidelines for Apple Cider.

Wholesale Establishment Operators

Can be a vendor at a farmers market and sell pasteurized juice or cider that is packaged or has achieved a 5-log pathogen reduction.

  • Wholesale establishment operators are prohibited from selling unpasteurized juice or cider due to federal Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements.



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