Cross-posted from the Vermillion Area Farmers Market blog.
The Home Processed Foods Bill, which paves the way for small producers to sell certain products direct to consumers at farmers markets and roadside stands without a commercial food vendors license, has passed unanimously out the the House Commerce Committee this morning.
The bill provides for sales of shelf-stable baked goods and home-canned goods (with third party certification of the recipe and method) prepared in producer’s homes to be legally sold direct to consumers, as has been the tradition across the state for many decades.
The bill was a joint effort between members of the Dakota Rural Action Small Farms Committee and the South Dakota Department of Health to alleviate the current strict regulations against all sales of home-produced foods anywhere in the state.
DRA Small Farms Committee approached the Department of Health last season, following surprise inspections at the Black Hills Farmers Market in Rapid City that shut down some long-time vendors, and because of producer questions and concerns about the accessibility and clarity of existing rules and regulations concerning small-scale food production in the state.
Earlier this winter, Small Farms Committee members (myself included), DRA staff, and Dept. of Ag and Health officials met in Pierre to start talking over the needs of small producers and hashing out what the Home-Processed Foods Bill might contain. Work on the proposed bill continued via phone and e-mail through the winter months.
The Home-Processed Foods Bill, or HB 1222, now passes to the full House for consideration.