City of San Marcos
Community Services - Environmental Health


Samples of food may be prepared and distributed without a permit at a farmer's market and are not regulated by the local health department.

Vendors shall provide sample portions only and not a full serving to costumers.


Sample - is defined as a bite size portion of a full serving.


To provide samples of food at a farmers market the following sanitary conditions shall exist:

  • Samples shall be distributed in sanitary manner

  • Person preparing samples on-site must wear clean disposable plastic gloves when preparing samples or perform proper hand washing immediately before preparing samples

  • Any produce intended for sampling shall be washed prior with potable water to remove any visible dirt or contamination

  • Use disposable or smooth, nonabsorbent, and easily cleaned utensils and cutting surfaces for cutting samples

  • PHF's must be kept at 41°F or below and samples of food prepared during demonstrations must be disposed of no later than two hours after cutting or preparing.

Proper Hand Washing

  • Vigorous friction on the surfaces of the lathered fingers, finger tips, areas between the fingers, hand and arms for at least 10 to 15 seconds

  • Thorough rinsing under clean, running warm water

  • Immediately follow the cleaning procedure with thorough drying of cleaned hands and arms with disposable towels

Cooking Demonstrations

  • No permit is required to conduct a cooking demonstration or for providing samples of food if the demonstration or provision of samples is conducted for a bona-fide educational purpose (cooking demonstrations made in good faith or made with intent to instruct and educate). Demonstrators must comply with all safety and food handling regulations when providing samples (not full servings) prepared during a demonstration.

  • All samples shall be disposed of within two hours of preparation.

  • Farmer's market cooking demonstration requires that a person with a certified food manager's license supervise the demonstrations.

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