PA 10-103—sHB 5419
AN ACT CONCERNING FARMS, FOOD AND JOBS
SUMMARY: This act (1) allows the preparation and sale of acidified foods on residential farms under certain conditions; (2) makes the agriculture commissioner responsible for inspecting certain poultry producers and processors and designates processors meeting certain criteria as approved food sources for certain consumers and entities; (3) specifies that money collected by the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board is not considered state funds and that the board is within the agriculture department for administrative purposes only; and (4) expands the definition of a farmer's market.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except that the acidified food product provision takes effect January 1, 2011.
Existing law allows the sale of jams, jellies, or preserves on a residential farm if they were prepared (1) with fruit grown on the farm and (2) in a room on the farm that is used as living quarters. It exempts their preparation from any state or local agency inspection.
The law requires each jam, jelly, or preserves container offered for sale on the farm to have on its label, in ten-point type: “Not prepared in a government inspected kitchen. ” The act adds “acidified foods” to this exemption and labeling requirement. It establishes the following specific preparation criteria acidified food must meet for the exemption:
1. the farm's water supply must come from a public water supply system or a private well that is tested annually, and tests negative, for coliform bacteria; if the local health department or Department of Public Heath (DPH) has reason to believe that a private well may be contaminated with coliform bacteria, the department can require well retesting;
2. a laboratory performs a pH test of the food product after the product recipe is completed;
3. use of the kitchen where the acidified food is prepared is restricted from non-processing individuals, pets, children or any other potential contaminants during preparation;
4. the food preparer has documentation showing successful completion of (a) an examination on safe food handling techniques administered by an organization approved by DPH for qualified food operators documentation or (b) an approved course on safe food processing techniques administered by a Department of Consumer Protection (DCP)-approved organization. Such documentation must be made available to the local health department or DCP upon request.
The act defines “acidified food product” as a food item with a pH value of 4. 6 or less upon completion of the recipe making the product, including pickles, salsa, and hot sauce, produced on the premises of a residential farm. The food product must not include food consisting in whole or in part of milk, milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, edible crustacean ingredients, or other ingredients, including synthetic ingredients, in a form capable of supporting rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms.
The act redefines jam, jelly, and preserves to include products made with vegetables.
The act makes the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) commissioner the state official in charge of inspecting any poultry producer and any producer that also operates as a poultry processing facility. Any inspection must be consistent with the requirements of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act and any applicable federal regulations, including health, sanitary, and safety provisions. Under the act, processing facilities (1) meeting the applicable criteria for federal Food Safety and Inspection Service exemptions and (2) passing DoAg facility inspections must be designated as approved sources for household consumers, restaurants, hotels, and boarding houses.
“Poultry” means any species of domestic fowl, including chickens, turkeys, ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries, waterfowl, and game birds raised for food production, breeding, exhibition, or sale. “Producer” means any person, firm or corporation engaged in breeding, raising, or keeping poultry of not more than 5,000 turkeys or 20,000 poultry of all species in a calendar year for purposes of food production.
CONNECTICUT MILK PROMOTION BOARD
By law, there is a nine-member Connecticut Milk Promotion Board within DoAg. It develops, coordinates, and implements promotional, research, and other programs designed to promote Connecticut dairy farms and milk consumption. It also prepares an annual report for the legislature. The board may use funding available from federal, state, or other sources and enter into contracts to carry out its purposes.
The act specifies that the board is within DoAg for administrative purposes only. It specifies that any money collected by the board must (1) not be deemed state funds and (2) be deposited with the approval of the state treasurer and comptroller in a qualified public depository in Connecticut. Under the act, the funds can be spent by the board to administer the board's recommended budget.
The act expands the definition of a farmer's market to include a cooperative or nonprofit enterprise or association that (1) occupies a given site for any given day or event; (2) operates principally as a common marketplace for a group of farmers, with at least two of them selling Connecticut-grown fresh produce; and (3) sells such products in conformance with applicable regulations and solely to secure household income. Under existing law, a farmer's market must meet these criteria and consistently occupy a given site throughout the season.
OLR Tracking: JK: CR: PF: DF