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Council to hear pitch on bringing local food vendors in compliance with state law

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Texas food establishment rules and local compliance with current state laws and regulations will be the subject of a presentation that city council will hear this afternoon during its work session meeting.

City staff will give the presentation and discuss proposed changes to local policies to clarify vague language in state codes and bring city practices more up to date. 

The presentation will include a discussion of various food establishment types and what kinds of permits are needed or will be needed in the future for each category of establishment. Fixed food establishments are restaurants, retail food stores and bars. 

Mobile food units include food trucks, trailers and push carts. Temporary food establishments include single events, festivals or other events that operate for no more than 14 consecutive days. “Cottage kitchens” is the category for at-home production of non-potentially hazardous foods, like breads, cakes, pastries and canned jams or jellies. 

Farmers markets are designated locations used primarily for the distribution and sale of food from farmers and other producers directly to customers. 

Among the potential changes staff will discuss are new permits for some types of farmers market food vending activities: selling baked goods, bulk items and prepared samples; selling pre-made food items; and full meal preparation. Director of Neighborhood Services Jeff Caldwell said the permit fees are annual and would be paid by individual vendors, but once a vendor pays the permit fee, that vendor could sell at any farmers market in the city. 

Staff will also discuss solutions for different local organizations, such as the Cottage Kitchen, Sights & Sounds of Christmas and the SMCISD summer feeding program.

Council will meet at 3 p.m. in the City Hall conference room, 630 E. Hopkins St. Council meetings are also streamed online