Draft and Proposed Rules - Retail Food Establishments

Legislative Updates

Senate Bill 617

SB 617 amends Texas Health and Safety Code (HSC) 437.020 and 437.0065 to accomplish the following:

  • The bill changes the definition of farmers’ market from a location “primarily” for farmers to a location at which “a majority” of the vendors are “farmers or other food producers.” 

  • The bill adds to HSC 437.020 a definition of food producer that is broad enough to include both farm- and non-farm-related food businesses.  It defines a “food producer” as “a person who grew, raised, processed, prepared, manufactured, or otherwise added value to the food product the person is selling. The term does not include a person who only packaged or repackaged a food product.”
    • N.B.: “Food producers” who bring into farmers’ markets food that has been prepared elsewhere are subject to all applicable regulatory requirements, including approved source of the food and appropriate permitting or licensing of the production facilities.   

  • The bill amends HSC 437.0065(b)(2) to include “food producers,” under the new definition, in the same category of permitting requirements for farmers’ markets as already set for farmers in HSC 437.0065(c).  Both farmers and “food producers” are now eligible for the $100.00 per annum fee for a farmers’ market permit.

  • The bill adds language at HSC 437.0065(c)(3) to stipulate that the $100.00 per annum permit for a farmer or food producer to vend at a farmers’ market must apply to all farmers’ markets within the jurisdiction. 
    • N.B.:  This does not mean that the farmers’ market will cover a “food producer” selling at venues that do not meet the definition of “farmers’ market.”  Such vendors will still have to obtain the usual permit required by the regulatory authority—e.g. a Temporary Food Establishment permit.

  •   Finally, the bill adds new HSC 437.0065(d) and (e) to allow farmers and food producers to file suit against governmental entities that do not comply with the permitting requirements set forth in HSC 437.0065(b) and (c).  SB 617 is effective immediately and will require amendment of 25 TAC 229.702.

House Bill 1276

HB 1276 amends HSC 431.2211 and adds new HSC 437.026 to accomplish the following:

  • The bill allows the sale by a permitted Retail Food Establishment of surplus, unprepared food products and ingredients—e.g. meat, poultry, produce, etc.—to retail customers.

  • The bill requires that all products come from approved sources.  Meat and poultry must come from sources that have been inspected and that bear the USDA or TX MSA mark of inspection.

  • Packaged products must bear labels that comply with TFER requirements.

  • A retail food establishment is exempt from the requirement to obtain a Food Manufacturer License (DSHS or Local) for packaging/repackaging and labeling products that fall under HB 1276. 
    • N.B.:  Activities that fall outside the scope of HB 1276 will still trigger the requirement for a Food Manufacturer License from DSHS.

  • All products must be of sound condition.  TCS products must have been held at 41°F or below.

  • HB 1276 is effective immediately.  It will not require amendment of TFER or the GMPs.

House Bill 2213

HB 2213 amends HSC 433.006 as follows:

  • The bill exempts from inspection “exotic animals exclusively for donation by a hunter to a nonprofit food bank.”
  • Slaughter and preparation may be conducted at the owner’s premises, the premises where the hunter killed the exotic animal, or at a processing establishment.
  • Transportation is limited to moving the meat to and from the locations listed above and the nonprofit food bank.
  • The uninspected exotic meat must not be combined with inspected meat or poultry products.
  • The bill is effective September 1, 2021

Last updated August 10, 2021