What shouldn’t I do or eat at a farmers’ market?

Farmers' MarketConsider following these tips to decrease the risk of food-borne illness:


• Don’t drink or buy unpasteurized juices, raw (unpasteurized) milk, or unpasteurized cheese.  Fresh, unpasteurized, chemical-free beverages may taste delicious, but they’ve been known to harbor E.coli, which can cause serious illness.


• Don’t snack on fruit until you’ve washed it well.


• Don’t buy canned (jarred) vegetables or garlic-in-oil unless you know these were prepared in an inspected kitchen. 


• Don’t buy bruised produce even if it’s a bargain.  Germs may grow rapidly on bruised items.


• Don’t buy or consume perishable goods unless they’re being kept at the proper temperature (either hot or cold).  Example: Don’t eat a cream-filled or custard-filled pastry or pie if it’s warm. 


• Don’t eat any samples that a vendor hands you with  his/her bare hand(s).


• Don’t eat anything at the market until you’ve washed your hands or used a hand wipe or sanitizer.


• Don’t bring garbage bags or old grocery bags to carry edible products home.  (Garbage bags are treated with mold-inhibiting chemicals and  are not made to hold food that is going to be consumed.  Old grocery bags may be contaminated by the food that was in them before.


• Don’t leave perishable food in a hot car  trunk for hours.  Put your edible purchases inside the passenger section of an air-conditioned car, and  take your purchases home as soon as possible.


Below are some other FAQs about Farmers' Markets that you may find helpful and interesting.  Just click on the question to find out the answer:


Exactly what defines a farmers’ market? 

Why are farmers’ markets so popular?

What should I bring to the farmers’ market?

What time of day is it best to go to a farmers’ market?

What signs indicate a sanitary farmers’ market?

What foods are sold with restrictions at a farmers’ market?

How should I handle produce at home?




Illinois Department of Public Health  “Sanitation Guidelines for Farmers Markets, Producer Markets and Other Outdoor Food Sales Events”


Purdue University Extension  “Food Safety Regulations for Farmers’ Markets”


K-State Kansas State University “Food Safety for Farmers’ Markets” by Karen Gast


Colorado State University “Food Safety for Farmers’ Market Vendors”



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