Misunderstanding certifications with permits

Farmaholic

Active member
Oct 7, 2023
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An interesting thing happened at my local farmers market yesterday when a vendor got fined for selling organic produce that wasn't certified. The vendor isn't new to selling, so I'm not entirely sure that I buy the story, but the vendor supposedly believed that having a permit to sell organic food at the market, automatically made the fruit organic. Unfortunately, it's not that simple and depending on your area's regulations, you might need to be certified as well. Some states allow vendors to label their produce as organic, so long as they sell less than a few thousand dollars a year. Other states have more rigid rules and require USDA certification before the organic label can be applied. Just a word of warning that having a permit doesn't usually grant any extra privileges that go beyond its application.
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Location
United States
That's pretty weird, but I've seen similar scenarios happen. My boss is an intelligent, successful businessman, but he wildly assumed that receiving a building permit also meant that his architect designed a home that could withstand the natural disasters that are prominent in our area. He truly thought that the city wouldn't have approved his permit application otherwise. Although some people are bright, they lack common sense.
 
I think the seller in this particular instance has the approval to sell directly to consumers within a specified limit. I know that some states give these exemptions provided your farm has been certified to use organic processes to produce. He or she overstepped the boundaries though.
 
When it comes to produce, it's key that the produce you do grow and sell is certified organic. The risks come in when using pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Organic means not utilizing most of those measures, and I think the point of certification is to make sure that the produce is as organic as possible.

But yeah, don't assume just because you grow organic, that you can go without the certification. Just follow the proper channels and all should be good.
 
I think the seller in this particular instance has the approval to sell directly to consumers within a specified limit. I know that some states give these exemptions provided your farm has been certified to use organic processes to produce. He or she overstepped the boundaries though.
So they essentially overproduced and that's how they ended up penalizing this person? I guess it makes sense. But is a bit annoying that they penalize people in this way. But I suppose when you're not fully permitted or in this case, certified to do such sales, then it makes sense to be penalized. I hope this food vendor is able to get within their legal right to sell more, but they need to make sure they get certified first. That's the #1 thing they need to achieve to move forward.
 
An interesting thing happened at my local farmers market yesterday when a vendor got fined for selling organic produce that wasn't certified. The vendor isn't new to selling, so I'm not entirely sure that I buy the story, but the vendor supposedly believed that having a permit to sell organic food at the market, automatically made the fruit organic. Unfortunately, it's not that simple and depending on your area's regulations, you might need to be certified as well. Some states allow vendors to label their produce as organic, so long as they sell less than a few thousand dollars a year. Other states have more rigid rules and require USDA certification before the organic label can be applied. Just a word of warning that having a permit doesn't usually grant any extra privileges that go beyond its application.
shutterstock_129173978.jpg

Not sure how this went down exactly but I imagine the application materials the vendor filled out for their seller's permit may have included a question along the lines of "do you sell organic produce?" or something like that. I can see how someone getting a permit for one thing (here, a seller's permit) could come to misunderstand what that permit actually authorizes based on the questions/content they encounter during the application process. It certainly takes some degree of self-serving rationalization for people to assume rights and privileges they don't actually have based on limited/incorrect information, but it does happen. There was evidently something about the vendor's seller's permit (like a question in the application, etc.) that made them think the permit conveyed organic certification as well, and they ran with it. It seems totally bonkers but people do the same sort of thing each year with tax credits and deductions, claiming every tax break that's remotely justifiable in their mind. At least the vendor got fined, ensuring that they and others who hear their story are now better educated on the potential legal consequences associated with falsely using the organic label for one's produce.
 
I would like to mention that certifications and permit serve different purposes and based on my observations, certification demonstrate that individuals or organizations have met some specific standards or they have reached some qualifications, while permit is a legal permission to perform certain activities or operate some businesses.
 
When you get a permit for something, you need to see what are the things you are allowed to do within the permit. Sometimes the permit might be so confusing that even the experienced people end up making a huge mistake and that might come as a blow. When it comes to selling food, permits might be so confusing.
 
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