Farmers’ markets and the law

There are a number of laws which apply to farmers’ markets and this article briefly looks at the main ones.

Planning permission and consents for farmers’ markets

Planning laws are complex and, therefore, if you are planning on starting up a farmers’ market you should check with your local planning authority what their requirements are.

Fire safety requirements for farmers’ markets

It is a requirement, under the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005, that a “responsible person” carries out a fire risk assessment. Following the risk assessment the responsible person is responsible for implementing appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk to life from fire and to keep the assessment up to date. A “responsible person” will normally be the market operator as well as individual stall holders.

Firee certificates are no longer required.

Licences for farmers’ market stalls

The majority of food businesses are required to register their premises, which includes stalls at a farmers’ market, with their local authority. The premises for certain types of businesses need to be approved, rather than registered. These include businesses that produce milk and dairy products, eggs, meat and meat products and fish and fish products.

Food safety and hygiene

A food hygiene certificate is required before raw food can be processed or served. A “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points” is also required where food is to be processed.

There are strict European laws relating to food hygiene which are implemented in England by the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.

Labelling and weights and measures

There are strict requirements relating to the labelling of foods. The Food Labelling Regulations 1996, as amended, applies to most types of foods.

Most food will need to be marked or labelled with the following information:

  • the name of the food;
  • a list of ingredients;
  • an “appropriate durability indication” (i.e. a best before and/or a use by date);
  • any special storage conditions or conditions of use;
  • the name or business name and an address or registered office of either the manufacturer or packer, or a seller established within the European Community or both of them;
  • particulars of the place of origin or provenance of the food if failure to provide such particulars may mislead a purchaser to a material degree as to the true origin or provenance of the food;
  • instructions for use if it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions.

There are additional regulations which apply to certain types of food such as meat and milk products, fruit and vegetables, eggs, jams and breads.

There are also strict requirements relating to weights and measures. There are several pieces of legislation relating to weights and measures, the main one being the Weights and Measures Act 1985.