Only On 6: Farmer's Market Inspection

Only On 6: Farmers Market Inspection

What Texomans like most about the Wichita Falls Farmer's Market is that you can find fresh produce straight from the farmers garden.

But have you ever stopped to wonder if the produce you're buying is completely safe? Well, There's someone who makes sure it is.

While Texoma fruit and veggie lovers were busy looking around the area for the best local produce, Bryan Railsback, an inspector for the Wichita County Public Health District was looking beyond what was on the tables of vendors at farmer's market. He only has one thing in mind, your health.

"Make sure nothing is spoiled or rotten. If we see anything like that we ask them to discard it and then we just kind of go and see what their processes are," said Railsback.

Selling rotten food is just one of a laundry list of rules that Railsback needed to make sure vendors were not violating, so he jumped right into his first order of business.

"Hey, how are you doing? Do you guys have a food handler's card?," said the inspector.

Railsback said at least one person at the stand needs a food handler's card if they're planning on cutting or preparing food. In fact, not having the card is the biggest violation vendors commit.

Vendor Diana Aderholt was also put to the test. She quickly searched for the card in her wallet only to find out she didn't have the card with her.

Railsback didn't issue a citation because she wasn't serving samples. However, he still gave her a suggestion in case she decided to serve them in the future.

"We'll be back next week to check. Just make sure you find it. If not contact the health department," said Railsback.

The handler's card proves vendors have taken food safety courses and know what they need to do and need to have to prepare samples.

"What I have been making them do is wear gloves and a hat and then we have a cover," said one of the vendors.

And Railsback answered, "For the samples? Ok, perfect. And they like you to have a disposable cutting board."

Vendors also need to keep anything that needs to be cooled at 41 degrees or below.

"We just want to make sure people are doing what's sanitary. That they're washing their hands, that they're sanitizing the utensils so the transmission of diseases is not going from the person selling the food to the person buying the food," said the inspector.

Inspectors also take a very close look at canned goods. In fact, it is the only item on the table that requires a label. On there, farmers should write their address, the date, when it was canned, and a telephone number.

The same thing goes for baked goods. Railsback noticed one of the vendors missed a requirement.

"Part of the labeling laws is we need to know where it was canned so if you can just put an address. Everything else looks great," said Railsback.

He decided to just give the vendor a verbal warning because it was a minor detail.

"We always look at how critical it is. Is it something that can make someone really sick?" said the inspector. "We can always stop them from doing what they're doing, telling them they can't sell anymore until they get everything corrected."

If he decided to write up a fine, it could be for $350 or more but Railsback said the health district hasn't found any major problems at the farmers' market so far.

The Wichita County Public Health District conducts inspections at farmer's market once or twice a month.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6