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Mendocino County Approved Source (MCAS) Program

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View current Approved Sources

There are a multitude of benefits derived from the production and consumption of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. This program will allow local fruits and vegetables to be produced in manner that greatly reduces the risk of contamination.

To learn more about the guiding principles for ensuring wholesome food production and handling, see the “Background and Basics” section below.

To help answer any questions you might have, view our FAQ sheets.

The list of required Best Management Practices (BMPs) can be viewed here.



According to Cal Code, retail food and food preparation facilities can only accept food from an “approved source”. The concept is simple: food that will be used to serve the public should be produced in a regulated facility, protected from contamination at all stages of the process, and allow for cradle to grave traceability of a food product should a health related problem occur. In order to enable small local farmers to sell directly to retail facilities, the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and the Agriculture Commissioner have developed a process to allow local producers to become an approved source in Mendocino County. Commercial, home, school, and community gardeners who wish to sell or donate to retail food and food preparation facilities can register here to become an approved source.

The fundamental goal is to ensure that food produced is safe for consumption. With this goal in mind, produce must be grown using best management practices and be traceable to the grower, should a problem occur somewhere down the line. Contamination of fruits and vegetables can occur any time from planting through food preparation. Most pathogens can be killed by cooking, but they can be difficult to remove by washing when foods are eaten raw.

Prevention of microbial contamination is the most effective way to ensure the safety of fruits and vegetables. The best approach to maintaining the wholesome nature of your garden's harvest is to be aware of potential risks and to establish and implement commonsense practices that will minimize contamination. This Mendocino County Approved Source program requires that you implement all of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) listed in the registration process that are applicable to your growing grounds and the surrounding area to help prevent the consumers of your products from getting sick through food borne pathogens.

This program was developed cooperatively with Mendocino county departmental staff (Environmental Health, Dept. of Agriculture, Information Services), Mendocino County Food Policy Council representatives, and local stakeholders. Many public meetings were held where stakeholders provided their expertise and perspective to the process, thereby allowing the program to reflect local production practices while maintaining the desired pathogen reduction minimums. The basic elements of the MCAS center around three broad categories of production where pathogen reduction practices should be addressed: Water, Waste (soil amendments), and Workers. Additionally, the program addresses other issues such as traceability, transport, and other miscellaneous elements.

Continue to register as an Approved Source Produce Gardener.

QUESTIONS? Contact Dave Jensen at (707) 234-6636 or e-mail: mendoas@co.mendocino.ca.us

California Health and Safety Code: Approved Source
(selected code sections)

113735. "Approved source" means a food source allowed under Article 3 (commencing with Section 114021) of Chapter 4, or a producer, manufacturer, distributor, or food facility that is acceptable to the enforcement agency based on a determination of conformity with applicable laws, or, in the absence of applicable laws, with current public health principles and practices, and generally recognized industry standards that protect public health.

113980. All food shall be manufactured, produced, prepared, compounded, packed, stored, transported, kept for sale, and served so as to be pure and free from adulteration and spoilage; shall have been obtained from approved sources (emphasis added); shall be protected from dirt, vermin, unnecessary handling, droplet contamination, overhead leakage, or other environmental sources of contamination; shall otherwise be fully fit for human consumption; and shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law (Part 5 (commencing with Section 109875)).

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