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     The Food Establishments Group is within the Division for Regulatory Services.  

     


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Announcements - Food Establishments Group

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Public Hearing Announcement

The Public Sanitation & Retail Food Safety Group is holding a public hearing for the proposed rules regarding Farmers Markets on March 3, 2014.  The public hearing will be held from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm in Room S-125 at the DSHS Exchange Building. This is an opportunity for the public to make comments on the rules prior to final adoption.

DSHS Exchange Building
8407 Wall Street
Room S-125
Austin, TX 78754

Public Hearing Announcement

The Public Sanitation & Retail Food Safety Group is holding a public hearing for the proposed rules regarding Cottage Food Production Operations on March 3, 2014.  The public hearing will be held from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in Room S-125 at the DSHS Exchange Building. This is an opportunity for the public to make comments on the rules prior to final adoption.

DSHS Exchange Building
8407 Wall Street
Room S-125
Austin, TX 78754

 


Food Employee Reporting Agreement Form and Reporting Sign Now Offered in Spanish

Food Employee Reporting Agreement Form  -- English    (PDF 95KB) - Spanish    (PDF 94KB)

Food Employee Reporting Sign -- English    (PDF 32KB) - Spanish    (PDF 120KB)

Posted March 3, 2010


 

 New Rules - §229.661. Cottage Food Production Operations

During the 83rd Legislature, Regular Session 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 970 that amends the Health and Safety Code (HSC), Chapter 437, by amending provisions for cottage food production operations. This law is effective September 1, 2013.

A cottage food production operation is exempt from the requirements of a food service establishment and does not have to comply with the Texas Food Establishment Rules. Health departments do not have regulatory authority to conduct inspections of a cottage food production operation. However, the Department or local health authority has authority to act to prevent an immediate and serious threat to human life or health through emergency order, recall orders and delegation of powers or duties. Health departments are required to maintain records of all complaints against a cottage food production operation.

A cottage food production operation is defined as an individual, operating out of the individual’s home, who:

  • Produces a baked good, candy, coated and uncoated nuts, unroasted nut butters, fruit butters, a canned jam or jelly, a fruit pie, dehydrated fruit or vegetables, including dried beans, popcorn and popcorn snacks, cereal, including granola, dry mix, vinegar, pickles, mustard, roasted coffee or dry tea, or a dried herb or dried herb mix.
  • Has an annual gross income of $50,000 or less from the sale of the described foods; and
  • Sells the foods produced directly to consumers at the individual’s home, a farmers’ market, a farm stand, or a municipal, county, or nonprofit fair, festival or event.
  • Delivers products to the consumer at the point of sale or another location designated by the consumer.

An individual who operates a cottage food production operation must successfully complete a basic food safety education or training program for food handlers accredited under Health and Safety Code, Chapter 438(D) by January 1, 2014.

A cottage food production may not sell to customers potentially hazardous foods. A potentially hazardous food (PHF) is a food that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogen growth or toxin production. In other words, a food must be held under proper temperature controls, such as refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria that may cause human illness. A PHF/TCS is a food that: contains protein, moisture (water activity greater than 0.85), and is neutral to slightly acidic (pH between 4.6 -7.5).

Foods sold by a cottage food production operation must be packaged and labeled. The food must be packaged in a manner that prevents product contamination, except for foods that are too large and or bulky for conventional packaging. The labeling information for foods that are not packaged must be provided to the consumer on an invoice or receipt. The label must include:

  • The name and address of the cottage food production operation;
  • The common or usual name of the product, if a food is made with a major food allergen, such as eggs, nuts, soy, peanuts, milk or wheat that ingredient must be listed on the label; and
  • A statement: “This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department."
  • The labels must be legible.

Food produced by a cottage food production operation may not be sold via the Internet, by mail order or at wholesale.
The Department of State Health Services is in the process of amending the rule, Section 229.661, concerning cottage food production operations.


§229.661. Cottage Food Production Operations (pdf 261KB)

Frequently Asked Questions - Cottage Food Production Operations(pdf 46KB)


 

Proposed Rule 229 701-704 Farmer Market Rules

During the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session 2011, and the 83rd Legislature, Regular Session 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 81 and House Bill 1382 that amend the Health and Safety Code (HSC), Chapter 437, by creating and amending provisions for farmers’ markets. These laws became effective September 1, 2011 and September 1, 2013.

Farmers’ Markets are exempt from the requirements of a food service establishment and do not have to comply with the Texas Food Establishment Rules. Permits may be issued and temperature requirements are necessary for potentially hazardous foods (time/temperature control for safety (PHF/TCS) food. The Department of State Health Services or local health authority may issue temporary food establishment permits to food vendors who sell potentially hazardous foods. The Department of State Health Services or local health authority may not require permitting for sampling or cooking demonstrations that are conducted for bona fide educational purposes.

For Farmers’ Markets:

  • A farmers' market is defined as a designated location used primarily for the distribution and sale directly to consumers of food by farmers or other producers.
  • Producers are defined as a person or entity that produces agricultural products by practice of the agricultural arts upon land that the person or entity controls.
  • Food is defined as agricultural, apicultural, horticultural, silvicultural, viticultural or vegetable product for human consumption, in either its natural or processed in this state. The term includes:
    • Fish or other aquatic species,
    • Livestock, a livestock product, or a livestock by-product,
    • Planting seed,
    • Poultry, a poultry product, or a poultry by-product,
    • Wildlife processed for food or by-products,
    • Produce
    • A product made from a product described above by a farmer or other producer who grew or processed the product;
  • A farmers' market may serve samples of food if
    • Samples are served in a sanitary manner,
    • Served while wearing clean, or disposable plastic gloves when preparing samples and observing proper hand washing techniques immediately before preparing samples,
    • The produce intended for sampling is washed in potable water to remove soil or other visible material,
    • Potable water is available for use,
    • All potentially hazardous food is maintained at 41°F or below or disposed of within two hours after cutting or preparing; and,
    • Utensil and cutting surfaces used for cutting samples are smooth, non-absorbent, and easily cleaned or disposed of.
  • A person who sells or provides a sample of meat or poultry or food containing meat or poultry must comply with Health and Safety Code, Chapter 433.
  • A person who sells fish must have it processed by a licensed and inspected retail establishment. The fish has to be caught or raised by a person or entity that has a commercial fisherman’s license from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) or an aquaculture license from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

 

  • A potentially hazardous food (PHF) is a food that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogen growth or toxin production. In other words, a food must be held under proper temperature controls, such as refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria that may cause human illness. A PHF/TCS is a food that: contains protein, moisture (water activity greater than 0.85), and is neutral to slightly acidic (pH between 4.6 -7.5).
    The Department of State Health Services is in the process of developing the rule, Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Section 229.701, concerning farmers’ markets.

  • Proposed Rule 229 701-704 Farmer Market Rules
    (pdf 96 KB)

    Frequently Asked Questions - Farmers' Market
    (pdf 189 KB)

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    Last updated February 21, 2014