jamFor those of you who are not aware of etsy.com, it is similar to eBay.com, but it is oriented more towards homemade, handcrafted, and vintage items. Looking for a vintage 5-qt 1960’s lime green club brand pot, it might be a cool place to look. It has a ton of interesting items and lots of artistic flair. I however have a major problem with etsy and eBay, food sales.

Want some online chocolate chip cookies, granola, or jam? Etsy and eBay have them all. Homemade food. My problem becomes, who is regulating these sales.

I understand that regulation can be a barrier to small business, but this is an issue of safety. How can these online sites be allowing people to distribute food without verifying that they are safely prepared and stored?

With a cover-all statement found on their sites:

“Do I need a license to sell edibles on Etsy?

According to Etsy’s Terms of Use, it is up to each seller on Etsy to abide by the appropriate laws, statutes, and regulations relating to your business and selling your products.  However, many laws vary from country to country and from state to state.  For example, many states require that all items intended for human consumption are stored, prepared, labeled, and packaged in a licensed kitchen. Other states require notifying the local health department and filing the respective paperwork for a food permit. Alternatively, a seller may have to secure a licensed kitchen with yearly inspections and a state approved food handlers.  The state may even limit what you can legally produce for sale on and off the Internet. Your first step is to contact your local health department or department of agriculture depending on where you reside.”


“Be sure to follow federal and state laws when listing food items. Here are a few examples:

  • Ingredients: Federal and state laws require labels to state, among other things, the food’s ingredients, nutrition information, and place of manufacture.

  • Food licenses: Almost all states require food manufacturers and sellers to register with or obtain a license from the state.

  • Import/export: Laws restrict the import and export of many food products.

In other-words, make sure you don’t break any laws, statues, or regulations. Also make sure you have every permit you need and make sure everything is up to code.

I’m not buying these cover-all statement.

Etsy and eBay should be forced to verify that these individuals distributing food, have the right to do so.

Some of these items in particular items containing fruits – could be harmful. If went to a major distributor with my homemade jam, you can bet that they would be legally required to verify that I have the proper kitchen, permits, etc. to prepare this item. That major distribution also has to fear distributing a potentially harmful product. Furthermore, not to sound crazy, but if you are selling 100 jars of jam a day and you want to hurt people (for whatever reason) you could have a mass poisoning through your distribution chain for your jam. By the time people figure it out – you may have hurt or even killed hundreds of people (I realize this sounds extreme).

I understand that this can be a barrier for people who legitimately want to sell their products, but this is a recipe for disaster. Mass distribution methods for food need to be regulated for safety.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Ebay

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!