Q:

What are Illinois policies on legumes?

A:

Quick Answer

Legumes fall into seed class D as outlined in the Illinois Seed Law, and processors must label seeds of this type with the name of the seed, the lot number, and the weight and approximate number of seeds per pound. They are subject to the Department of Agriculture's laws on food crops.

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Full Answer

Growers cannot sell legume seeds or their fruits on a large scale without a license from the Department of Agriculture. Having received their licenses, these growers must comply with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act. Congress passed the act in 2010, requiring that growers keep thorough records regarding seeds used, soil type and temperature, water sources, and history of pesticide use. Growers must also record the names of individuals in direct contact with the plants and safety plans.

The Illinois Cottage Food Operation Law permits individuals who grow and sell non-hazardous food in their homes to also sell products directly to consumers at farmers markets without Department of Agriculture licenses. If farmers do not sell more than $500,000 worth of food in a fiscal year and the majority of sales are to consumers or retail establishments within 275 miles of their farms, they are exempt from FSMA regulation.

It is important that legume farmers comply with all legislation, and it is advisable to keep detailed records. Legumes have a low acid content and provide a hospitable environment for bacteria. To reduce the risk of contamination with harmful bacteria, farmers should pay particular attention to their water sources and should avoid the use of manure.

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