Food Regulations for Minnesota Farmers’ Markets
With Pre-Ordering and Online Sales Platforms
ATTENTION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, MDA is using its discretionary authority to waive licensing for these models. After the pandemic is over, and the market wants to continue with a model that requires a license, the market will have to buy a license.
This document is intended as background information for farmers’ markets as you develop new methods of connecting vendors and customers. These regulations pertain to food products only. Looking at offering alternative models such as pre-ordering and online sales is highly encouraged during this COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve outlined three basic models:
Cottage Foods has its own section below due to the restrictions for that exemption from food licensing.
1. Markets provide services to support pre-ordering by customers (No license needed by the market)
Food license for the market is NOT required in this scenario because:
2. Market provides services to support pre-ordering of food products by customers. Market accepts payments from customers for food products. (Food broker license typically required. This licensing requirement is currently waived by MDA during pandemic. If markets continue this model after pandemic is over, license will be required.)
Food license required: Food Broker ($150/year)
3. Market provides services to support pre-ordering by customers. Market handles payments from customers. Market assembles customers' orders and/or makes deliveries to customers. (Wholesale Food Handler or Retail Food Vehicle/Portable Structure or Cart Licensing typically required. This licensing requirement is currently waived by MDA during pandemic. If markets continue this model after pandemic is over, license will be required.)
The ability to make and sell cottage foods in Minnesota is through an exemption from licensing under certain restrictions, so cottage food producers have unique requirements if selling via markets offering online platforms for vendors and customers.