Retail Concerns

Product Distribution

Anytime a farmer moves finished product to the consumer, it is considered “distributing”. If a customer come to the farm and  bought a large quantity of birds for his own use, but had no way to get them home, the farmer would be allowed to transport them as  a service to the customer.

It is acceptable if a customer comes to the farm and says he wants to buy and slaughter himself a large number of animals, some of which are for his friends. As long as his friends asked him (and he did not ask his friends) it is OK. He should tag each animal with the name of each one of his friends and transport them in that manner. If he does not know the people, he is becoming a distributor, which is illegal.

Product Inventory and Record Keeping

Farmers should anticipate keeping accurate records of sales, deliveries, shipments, and products in inventory. Some of this additional record keeping requirement stems from farmers who complained they were not getting all their meat back. Some of this stems from bio-terrorism record keeping requirements, and some of this is COOL.

Farms should be using lot numbers. They should date product as it comes in. They should track product in and product out, and they should be using a first-in-first-out (FIFO) inventory system. If NYSDAM ever get a complaint because someone got sick on a product, then the more information the farmer can give the inspector, the better it will be for the farmer. Farmers must make sure to use approved and required labeling and good record keeping. As a responsible merchandiser, farmers must keep records and track their inventory.

Premise Registration

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act) directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take steps to protect the public from a threatened or actual terrorist attack on the U.S. food supply. To carry out the provisions of the Bioterrorism Act, FDA published, on October 10, 2003, an interim final regulation, Registration Of Food Facilities, which requires domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States to register with the FDA. Under this interim final regulation, all affected facilities must register.

The following premises are exempt and do NOT have to register:

  • Private residences of individuals, even though food may be manufactured, processed, packed, or held there.
  • Transport vehicles that hold food only in the usual course of their business as carriers.
  • Farms, i.e., facilities in one general physical location devoted to the growing and harvesting of crops, the raising of animals (including seafood), or both. Washing, trimming of outer leaves, and cooling of produce are considered part of harvesting. The term “farm” also includes facilities that pack or hold food, provided that all food used in such activities is grown, raised, or consumed on that farm or another farm under the same ownership, and facilities that manufacture/process food, provided that all food used in such activities is consumed on that farm or another farm under the same ownership. A farm-operated roadside stand that sells food directly to consumers as its primary function would be exempt from registration as a retail food establishment.
  • Restaurants, i.e., facilities that prepare and sell food directly to consumers for immediate consumption, including pet shelters, kennels, and veterinary facilities that provide food directly to animals. Facilities that provide food to interstate conveyances, such as commercial aircraft, or central kitchens that do not prepare and serve food directly to consumers are not restaurants for purposes of the rule.
  • Retail food establishments, such as groceries, delis, and roadside stands that sell food directly to consumers as their primary function meaning that annual sales directly to consumers are of greater dollar value than annual sales to other buyers. An establishment that manufactures/processes, packs, or holds food and whose primary function is to sell food directly to consumers, including food that the establishment manufactures/processes, from that establishment is a retail food establishment and is not required to register.
  • Nonprofit food establishments, which are charitable entities that meet the terms of § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that prepare or serve food directly to the consumer or otherwise provide food or meals for consumption by humans or animals in the U.S. Central food banks, soup kitchens, and nonprofit food delivery services are examples of nonprofit food establishments.
  • Facilities regulated exclusively and throughout the entire facility by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that is, facilities handling only meat, poultry, or egg products.

Facilities can register online via the Internet, by completing a paper form, or submitting to FDA a CD-ROM with relevant registration information. For assistance with online registration: in the U.S call 1-800-216-7331 or 301-575-0156; from elsewhere call 301-575-0156; or send a fax to 301-210-0247. Requests for assistance also may be emailed to

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