Pasture raised poultry. UF/IFAS Photo by Tom Wright.

Many small farms have poultry as part of their operation to supply eggs and meat for their immediate and extended family.  With recent federal and state rule changes, however, it is now possible to sell both eggs and dressed poultry direct from the farm to consumers.  Eggs and whole, dressed poultry can be sold through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and even direct to restaurants for preparation for consumption.

Florida’s rules about small farm poultry and egg sales changed in July 2014.  Small farm poultry producers can now apply for a Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Permit, which allows for the sale of eggs and whole, dressed poultry directly to consumers or to restaurants for the preparation of meals for consumption.
A Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Operation is defined as a farm-based food establishment which directly produces and offers dressed poultry or whole shell eggs for sale. No additional processing or food preparation of such poultry or shell eggs is allowed under this permit category. These small farm operations are limited to up to 1,000 laying hens annually for production and sale of shell eggs, and/or up to 20,000 poultry annually for the production and sale of dressed poultry. – Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)

With a Limited Poultry and Egg Permit you can sell up to 30 dozen eggs and/or up to 384 dressed poultry in any one week within the state of Florida.  Interstate sales or Internet sales are not permitted, however.  Under these guidelines poultry includes chicken, turkey, duck, goose, guinea fowl, or quail.  Poultry or eggs cannot be sold wholesale to a retail outlet or other vendor under this permit.  The annual permit fee is $110.

UF/IFAS file photo

Egg Sales

Under the Limited Poultry Permit, there are set rules for the sale of eggs direct to consumers.  Eggs must be washed and air dried using an egg washing machine or a three compartment sink using products from the list of “Approved Cleaners and Sanitizers.” Eggs have to be maintained at or below 45° before sale. Eggs must be sold in open flats, not cartons, with at least a 7″ x 7″ sign at the point of sale which reads “These eggs have not been graded as to quality and weight.

Dressed Poultry Sales

Small farms can also sell whole, dressed birds.  Dressed poultry shall be maintained at or below 41° before sale.  There are specific label requirements for dressed poultry that include instructions for consumers on safe handling (see example below). Poultry shall be packaged and labeled with the processor’s name, farm address, the statement “Exempt P.L. 90-492,” and required Safe Handling Instructions.

The “Safe Handling Instructions” on dressed poultry packaging label must include the following phrases:

  • Some food products may contain bacteria that could cause illness if the product is mishandled or cooked improperly. For your protection, follow these safe handling instructions.
  • Keep refrigerated or frozen. Thaw in refrigerator or microwave.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods. Wash working surfaces (including cutting boards), utensils, and hands after touching raw meat or poultry.
  • Cook thoroughly.
  • Keep hot foods hot. Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.
An application for permitting and request for an inspection can be completed through the FDACS Division of Food Safety or by calling 850-245-5520.
For more information, use the following links to fact-sheets on this topic:
Doug Mayo
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