Farmers Markets: A Special Food Topic

Training Overview

  • Audience: Public health and food safety professionals charged with enforcement of retail food-related laws and regulations in Massachusetts
  • Format: Online, self-paced
  • Price: Free
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Contact hours: Massachusetts CHO, RS, National Environmental Health Association REHS/RS
  • Competencies: Basic Public Health Sciences, Food Protection
  • Learning Level: Awareness
  • Prerequisites: Food Protection Programs for Regulators
  • Companion modules: Temporary Food Establishments: A Special Food Topic
  • Supplemental materials: A Facilitator’s Guide is available if used in a classroom setting

Farmers markets have become increasingly popular across the country and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports a continuing growth and demand for these markets. The same popularity has been observed in Massachusetts. Along with their rising popularity, there has been an increase in the variety of products sold. This training will focus on farmers markets that sell products other than whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables and includes a number of guides and other resources. Local Board of Health (LBOH) should identify all farmers markets in their community and work in partnership with vendors to ensure safe food handling practices and compliance with all applicable Massachusetts food regulations.

Before you begin this training, you should have completed Food Protection Programs for Massachusetts Regulators.

Enroll To receive a certificate of completion. This requires registration to establish a learner profile and completion of pre- and post-tests
Audit To view as an online resource without a certificate of completion

What you’ll learn

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define farmers markets according to Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) policy
  • List the five fruits and vegetables that are associated with the majority of all produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States
  • Classify farm products into one of three categories – permit required, permit not required, exempt from permit
  • Describe four LBOH functions to ensure farmers markets are in compliance with Massachusetts food regulations
  • Summarize seven key food safety parameters for farmers markets
  • Choose the appropriate LBOH enforcement action when given example situations

Subject Matter Experts

  • Diane Bernazzani
    Retail Food Safety & Training Coordinator
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health

  • Kathleen MacVarish
    Associate Professor of the Practice
    Director of Practice Programs at the Activist Lab
    Boston University School of Public Health


This training and all related documents and materials has been developed by the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts through a contract with the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program. The New England Public Health Training Center (NEPHTC) also contributed to the training. NEPHTC, managed by Boston University School of Public Health, is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB6HP27877. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program, HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.