December 5, 2016

Chickens From Farmers Markets May Have More Pathogenic Bacteria

A study conducted at Penn State has found that raw, whole chickens from farmers markets throughout that state had "significantly higher levels of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness compared to those purchased from grocery stores in the region." Out of 100 whole chickens purchased at farmers markets, 90% tested positive for Campylobacter and 28% for Salmonella. During the same time period, 28% of raw, whole, organic chickens bought at grocery stores had Campylobacter, and 20% tested positive for Salmonella. And 52% of raw, whole, non-organic, conventionally processed chickens from grocery stores had Campylobacter and 8% had Salmonella bacteria. Dr. Catherine Cutter, professor and food safety extension specialist at the University, said, "some people believe that local food is … [Read more...]

Shopping at a Farmers Market This Weekend? Buyer Beware.

Farmers markets are booming. In the last 40 years, farmers markets around the country have grown by 2000% as demand for local foods has increased. Farmers markets generating at least $1.3 billion in consumer spending every year. We all know that foods purchased directly from the farmer are fresher, taste better, and are more nutritious. But how safe are those foods? State and local laws about these temporary establishments vary, since each state has its own farmers market regulations. Some vendors are completely exempt from health department inspections, others sell food prepared in uninspected homes, and some farmers markets are inspected by authorities. A study published in Food Protection Trends found that food safety behaviors by vendors at farmers markets are inconsistent at … [Read more...]

USDA Aims To Make Shopping At Farmers Markets A SNAP

Shopping at farmers’ markets this summer will get a little easier for some families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) thanks to a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA’s goal is to expand the availability of wireless point-of-sale (POS) equipment in farmers’ markets not currently participating in SNAP to make it easier for shoppers to redeem their benefits electronically. About 1,500 of the 7,100 farmers’ markets nationwide currently use electronic benefit transfer, and SNAP purchases at farmer’s markets have increased 400 percent of the last four years, according to the USDA. "This funding will help SNAP customers increase their opportunities to access healthy, local foods," Kathleen Merrigan, USDA deputy … [Read more...]

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