New guide offers overview of Iowa food marketing rules

A growing interest in local foods and how to get locally raised fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, honey, eggs and dairy products into the hands of more consumers has prompted development of a new guide from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Iowa Local Food and Farm Initiative (ILFFI).

“Iowa Food Marketing Regulations: A Guide for Small-Scale Producers” is available on the Leopold Center’s website,

The guide offers an overview of various licenses required for selling food in Iowa and state regulations that govern those sales, which are based on type of food, where it is sold, how it is processed, scale of operation and type of customer. The guide also directs readers to the appropriate agency or official who can answer specific questions about an operation or how to begin the process of obtaining each license.

“We receive many questions about food marketing rules and regulations, which are quite detailed and sometimes can be confusing,” said Craig Chase, who directs local food programs for the Leopold Center, Iowa State University Extension and the statewide ILFFI. “This is by no means a substitute for legal advice, but it should help direct people to the appropriate departments and agencies for further discussions.”

The guide has been in development over the past year, and was written by Tufts University graduate student Joanna Hamilton, who was an intern with Chase at the Leopold Center in 2011. All information in the guide was reviewed by a team of people who work with small-scale producers as well as officials that administer food marketing regulations in the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Chase said the guide is modeled after similar resources available in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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