A new state law will standardize how farmers markets are regulated. The Farmers Market Taskforce will work with the Illinois Department of Public Health to come up with a single set of rules and regulations farmers can follow no matter where they sell their products in Illinois. Local health departments currently set the rules for buying and selling food at farmers markets. State Senator Dave Koehler sponsored the legislation. He says the statewide standard will help more farmers participate in more markets:
"We're seeing that more and more people are getting involved. Therefore, we need to have more clear and better understood regulations so people can comply with that. This is not an attempt to try to water those down. It's just trying to streamline it, so people can expect from one county to the other that they're going to be treated in the same way."
Koehler says the new law also requires vendors to label specialty crops or raw agricultural products to inform consumers where food was grown or produced. The deadline for the new statewide standards for farmers markets is December 15th.
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