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Operating Policy for Egg Sales at Farmers' Markets

By MI Dept of Agriculture

A workgroup was put together in 2008 to focus attention on regulatory issues facing vendors selling products at farmers’ markets. That workgroup consists of representatives from Michigan Farm Market Association (MIFMA), Michigan Integrated Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) and MDA.

At the March 31, 2009 meeting, the regulation of shell eggs sold by producers to the final consumer was discussed. A representative of the Office of Attorney General (AG) was present to hear arguments regarding whether or not MDA has the authority to regulate shell eggs sold by the producer to final consumer or first receiver.

MDA has received an Attorney General opinion dated July 17th regarding “Exemption of egg producers from licensing as food establishments”.  The opinion essentially says that Michigan’s specific 1963 Egg Law controls over the more general Food Law of 2000.  Section 13 of the Egg Law states that “All producers shall comply with this act except those selling eggs of their own production direct to consumers or when delivering to a first receiver”.

Based upon the opinion, the department will not license or regulate eggs being sold directly by a producer to a consumer or being sold or delivered to a first receiver (“First receiver” means a person who receives eggs from a producer at any place of business where such eggs are to be candled, graded, sorted and packed or packaged”.  “Consumer “ means a person purchasing eggs for his own family use or consumption).

FDA /USDA regulations would still apply to eggs, where applicable.  Federal egg processing guidelines, created under the federal Shell Egg Surveillance Act, govern the registration and inspection of egg producers who manage large flocks of 3,000 or more hens.

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