Communities around Hannibal and Mark Twain Lake area are hosting Saturday farmers markets.

Communities around Hannibal and Mark Twain Lake area are hosting Saturday farmers markets.

Selling tomatoes, fresh produce, fruit, baked goods and jellies and jams, the markets are popular, generally operating on Saturday mornings, such as the longtime market at Mark Twain Landing in Monroe City and around the Paris Courthouse.

Public health officials are reminding consumers and vendors of the rules for ensuring food safety at the markets.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services, vendors at farmers’ markets frequently provide foods that can be separated into two broad categories: foods that can be prepared in uninspected kitchens and foods that if sold must be prepared under inspection.

The Missouri Food Code allows many foods to be sold at farmers’ markets, when prepared in a home or uninspected kitchen if the follow conditions are met:

• The food is a non-potentially hazardous food (NPHF)

• It is not a low-acid canned or acidified food

• The seller is the producer of the food or an immediate family member residing in the producer’s household and familiar with the food

• Foods are sold only to the end consumer

Packaged foods must be labeled according to the code including a statement that the food was made in a kitchen not subject to inspection, or a sign is posted at the stand for unpackaged foods, that they were prepared in an uninspected kitchen.

Some baked goods produced in a home kitchen can be sold at a farmers’ market. These include breads, cookies, cakes and fruit pies. Dry mixes such as soups, spice mixes, cakes and cookies may be sold with properly labeling. Generally jams and jellies may be produced in an uninspected kitchen; exceptions are sugar-free or no sugar added jams or jellies, ones made with fruit juices or jams or jellies made with non-standard ingredients (pepper jelly is an example).

Unprocessed whole fruits and vegetables, in-shell nuts and other whole agricultural products can be sold at a farmer’s market without inspection. Apple butter and other fruit butters may be made in home kitchens. Honey, sorghum, and maple syrup may also be made in an uninspected home kitchen.

Dry pasta, coffee, and dried fruits are examples of other foods that vendors have been allowed to sell because they are NPHFs.

Also, producers of poultry and rabbits may be exempt from inspection if they produce less than 1,000 carcasses a year. Producers must maintain temperature control of the finished product.