Cyprus Mail

Changes to public markets law expected

A revised draft of a new law regulating public markets has been submitted to parliament with the debate expected to begin next Tuesday at the House agriculture committee.

The new draft transfers responsibility for the regulation of public markets from the interior ministry to the agriculture ministry and will only allow producers to sell their produce as opposed to both producers and traders selling similar produce as it stands now, sometimes giving an unfair advantage to the latter.

Traders who still have valid licences will be allowed to use them until expiration or until six months after the law amendment comes into effect.

The products available at the open markets will, under the new law, have to meet the conditions of quality, hygiene, and safety as well as the food marketing specifications provided for in relevant EU and national legislation.

The amendment will also provide that a second market comprising traders in certain products will not be allowed to operate alongside a market for producers only.

The products that will be allowed to be sold at the public markets will be plant foods produced by the vendor. It includes plant food collected from nature such as mushrooms.

The list also includes flowers and potted plants, honey and bee products, eggs, foods processed by the producers themselves such as snails wild or farmed fresh fish and processed meat such as sausages that must be made by the person selling them.

Producers who have to enhance their products may use salt, sugar, vinegar and flour as part of the production as long as the finished product was made by them start to finish.

The list also includes wine and spirits that the person selling them has made themselves.

People selling organic products must display their certificates of organic production.

To monitor and oversee the new move, an advisory body will be set up that includes ministry officials dealing with agriculture, health, veterinary health, fisheries, consumer affairs, farmers’ and municipal representatives. They will meet twice a year.

A unit license may be held by a person who is a producer, or a relative of the producer up to the second degree of consanguinity who can replace them at a stall if necessary provided that this person has in their possession written authorisation from the producer.

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