Food Safety is Priority #1 at Farmers’ Markets

by | Sep 15, 2023 | News, Vendor Verification

Food safety is the number one priority for farmers markets and market vendors. Shoppers want assurance that when they are buying local at a farmers’ market, they are buying safe and authentically produced food products.  

The Alberta Farmer’s Market Association (AFMA) also places a premium on food safety, which is why it has included food safety requirements as a part of their new vendor verification program. 

We talked with Christie Fleck, the Executive Director of AFMA, to find out more about why the vendor verification program takes food safety seriously.

“One of the goals of the vendor verification program is to ease the load on farmers’ market managers. Food safety is a very important requirement before a vendor can participate in a farmers’ market. Many vendors are new entrepreneurs and sometimes operate out of a home kitchen. It is critical that they meet health and safety standards.”

Albertans may be aware that Alberta Health Services (AHS) sets the requirements for food safety in Alberta – for restaurants, hotel kitchens, food trucks and for farmers’ markets. According to Fleck, AFMA’s verification process is about confirming that a vendor has met AHS requirements. 

“AFMA is simply collecting the documentation to prove a vendor has met all of AHS’ requirements,” says Fleck.

AHS expects farmers’ market managers to ensure all vendors are meeting food safety requirements. “AFMA felt we could support market managers by collecting and reviewing the required food safety documents as a part of our verification process,” says Fleck. “It lightens the load for market managers and gives the market and its customers assurance that a verified vendor is food safe.” 

As a part of the verification process, AFMA asks vendors to provide documentation demonstrating the vendor has food safety training, food permits, can prove traceability and more. AFMA’s verification program is aligned with the requirements and guidelines of AHS.

When you are shopping your favourite Alberta farmers’ market, look for verified vendors and know that when you support those local farmers, producers and businesses, their products have been confirmed to meet the food safety standards in our province.