Producers of fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs are allowed to sell in California without any permits. The law applied in 2015 and it says anyone growing those food products on land that is not zoned as agricultural as a “community food producer” and the law requires these producers to follow safe food handling practices and labeling requirements.
However, the safety and labeling requirements still apply to all community food producers, regardless of registration exemptions.
The following fruits and vegetables must be packed and sold in containers of specific dimensions:
Labeling Requirements When selling produce to a retail food facility, containers carrying produce must have the following information:
• Apples • Apricots • Artichokes • Avocados • Cabbage • Cantaloupe • Cauliflower • Celery • Cherries • Citrus fruits • Grapes • Lettuce • Melons • Honey ball melons • Nectarines • Peaches • Plums • Fresh prunes • Sweet potatoes • Tomatoes • Baskets of fruits
• Name, Address and ZIP code of the producer, • Name of the produce in the package, and • Quantity of the produce in the package.
The following checklist of recommendations should be considered during crop production, harvest,
processing and transport.
Prior to Planting
Keep records of all farm activity, especially food safety practices.
If manure will be used as a fertilizer, apply untreated manure in the fallow period after the
last harvest and incorporate it as soon as possible.
Be sure that there is a buffer between the production field and manure/compost storage,
concentrated animal feeding operations, grazing or open range areas, surface water,
sanitary facilities and composting operations.
Test irrigation water and, if contaminated, find the source and fix it or request that your
water supplier do so.
Train your employees about hygiene (handwashing, etc.) and other aspects of food safety
that apply to them. Do follow-up training during the growing season.
Evaluate fields for evidence of animal entry. If you see animal signs use mitigation
procedures (fences, noisemakers, etc.).
Assess adjacent lands for possible sources that might contaminate the production field and
take corrective actions if needed.
During the Growing Season
Provide proper sanitation and hand washing facilities in an area outside of the field.
Provide an area outside of the field for eating, breaks, smoking and storage of personal
Do not allow pets or other domestic animals to wander in the field and continue to look for
signs of wild animals. Minimize standing water in the field because it attracts wildlife.
If you side dress with composted manure try to minimize manure contact with the crop and
incorporate it, if possible.
Clean and sanitize tractors and other implements that were used in manure application and
incorporation prior to entering the field.
Test irrigation water as close to point-of-use as possible at least once during the growing
season, and more often if you use surface water.
Ensure that water used for spray applications of pesticides and fertilizers is not
Consider using drip irrigation wherever possible. It minimizes the risk of contamination
because above-ground plant parts are not directly wetted.
Sick employees should not have direct contact with produce. Assign them other duties
while they are sick or send them home. Employees who cut themselves should wear gloves
and use bandages until the wound is healed.
Continue to emphasize worker hygiene, monitor employees for symptoms of illness and for
Clean and sanitize harvesting equipment at least once a day or more often, if needed.
High-pressure wash, rinse and sanitize all crop production bins.
Cover clean bins to avoid contamination.
Do not allow workers to stand or place personal items in bins.
Remove field soil from the outside of bins prior to moving them into packing areas.
Emphasize hygiene to U-Pick customers.
Use clean water and ice made from clean water during field processing.
Remove or prevent the harvest of any potentially contaminated produce if signs of animal
intrusion are detected.
Postharvest Processing and Storage
Clean facilities, equipment and food contact surfaces thoroughly and then sanitize just
before the first use and then once a day during use or more often, if needed.
Provide sanitary and hygiene facilities and an area for smoking, meals, breaks and
personal item storage for employees away from processing and storage areas. Continue to
Use a potable water source for processing and use ice made from potable water.
Wash, rinse and sanitize storage facilities.
Fix or fill in any cracks or defects in the processing and storage building to keep out pests.
Establish an ongoing pest control program (rodents, birds etc.).
Ensure that refrigeration equipment is working properly. Measure and record temperatures
at least once daily.
Do not wear field clothes, especially shoes and boots, in the packinghouse.
Use chlorinated water and other labeled disinfectants to wash produce.
Store packaging materials in a clean, covered area.
Do not load refrigeration rooms beyond their cooling capacity.
Ensure that transport vehicles are clean and sanitary.
Be sure that vehicles that have carried live animals or harmful substances (pesticides, etc.)
are thoroughly washed, rinsed and sanitized before shipping produce.
Use refrigerated trucks when possible.
Be sure that each package leaving the packing area can be traced to the field of origin and
date of packing.
This is very important in documenting the steps you take to ensure that you have complied with food
safety recommendations. Some of the important things that need to be recorded are:
Planting date(s) – varieties, suppliers, etc.
Applications of fertilizer, pesticides or any other inputs.
Water testing dates and results.
Employee training – type of training (general safety, food safety etc.), dates, who was
trained, follow-up training.
Animal entry – dates when checked or observed, type(s) of animal signs, what action(s)
you took to try to solve or mitigate the problem.
Equipment maintenance – dates, type of maintenance, which piece of equipment, cleaning.
Harvest date(s) – sanitation of harvest implements and harvest containers.
Cleaning schedule for processing and storage facilities.
Pest control program in processing and storage facilities – who does the program,
treatment or trapping dates.
Maintenance of refrigeration equipment and temperature of storage rooms.
Dates of farmers’ markets or other marketing options.
To prevent field and packing shed workers from contaminating crops:
They should be trained in hand washing – use plenty of soap and water, wash for at least
20 seconds, clean under fingernails and between fingers, rinse under clean water and dry
hands with a single-use towel. Wash hands before they start work, after each break, after
handling unsanitary items such as animals, manure, etc. and after using the toilet.
They should not eat, chew gum, use tobacco, spit, urinate or defecate while in
They should use the toilet/hand washing facilities and use them properly.
Workers who show signs of diarrhea, vomiting, fever, jaundice or infected wounds should
not handle fresh produce.
They should use single-use cups or fountains for drinking water.
The grower, packer or labor contractor should also provide signs that reinforce good
hygiene, both in the field and in the packing shed