Georgia Department of Agriculture

Grocery Auctions

Food Safety Guidance for Auctions & Consumers:

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The Georgia Department of Agriculture does not issue temporary licenses. Food sales at temporary events, such as auctions and flea markets, is permissible; provided that event organizers follow these guidelines to safeguard  public health.

Basic Requirements: 

There are some basic rules that must be followed to ensure food sales are in compliance with Georgia's rules and regulations governing food safety. Please review the following information and contact the Food Safety Division with any questions:

1. All food products offered for sale must be from "approved sources." This means:  

  • Dealers, brokers, salvage operators or any sellers at auctions, who hold food products for more than 24 hours at a firm located within Georgia, must obtain a Food Sales License from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. With a food license, these firms can sell their products at auctions, since their activity at an auction is viewed as an extension of their food sales license. 
  • Sellers from out of state need to have a food sales license or permit from their home state. Sellers should be able to provide a copy of their food license upon request.
  • Food products processed from a home kitchen, or a restaurant, are not considered approved sources unless they have obtained a food sales license from the Department.
  • For questions regarding if a seller has a food sales license in Georgia, please call 404-656-3627.

2. All food products offered for sale should be wholesome and not injurious to health.

  • Food products offered for sale should not have been produced, prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth or whereby it may have been rendered diseased, unwholesome, or injurious to health.
  • Food products offered for sale must not have been recalled by their manufacturer or distributor. It is the seller’s responsibility to check the recall status of their food products.

3. Package integrity of all food products offered for sale must be assured.  

  • Can seams must not be dented, nor should they have rust.
  • Canned goods that are puffy, swollen, or have curved or rounded outward (convex) ends must not be offered for sale.
  • For any boxed goods, interior liners that make contact with food must be intact. 
  • Product exposed to the environment due to torn outer packaging material cannot be sold. (Examples: flour, corn meal, sugar.)
  • Safety-seals, or any other tamper indicating packaging or devices, must be intact.
  • Expiration dates, lot or production codes, or any other traceability information must not be removed, obscured or altered.

4. Any products offered for sale labeled "Keep Refrigerated" or "Keep Frozen" must be held at their required temperatures until purchased. 

  • Refrigerated foods must be held at 40 degrees F or less, and
  • Frozen foods must be held at temperatures capable of maintaining the food in a frozen condition.

5. All food products must include the labeling information required by FDA; this includes:

  • STATEMENT OF IDENTITY: The common or usual name of the product, in English.
  • INGREDIENTS STATEMENT: Broken down into their constituent parts.  All colors and preservatives must be identified.
  • DECLARATION OF QUANTITY: In both standard and metric units, and expressed in the correct units of measure.
  • DECLARATION OF RESPONSIBILITY: The physical address of the manufacturer or Co-packer.
  • ALLERGEN DECLARATION: The 8 major food allergens have to be clearly identified on the label. 
  • HANDLING STATEMENT: “Keep Frozen” or “Keep Refrigerated,” if applicable.
  • PRODUCTION CODE: Manufacturing Codes placed on the product  for traceability.

Expiration Dates:

No food products that are required to be dated can be sold past their expiration date. This includes the following items:

  • Infant Formula,
  • Eggs,
  • Pre-packaged Sandwiches,
  • Shucked Oysters, and
  • Milk
  • Products that require time/temperature control for safety of food (or "potentially hazardous foods")
  • Any foods labeled as "Keep Refrigerated" or "Keep Frozen" 

All other foods are considered "shelf stable food products." These products are voluntarily dated and should be evaluated based on food quality characteristics; they may be sold after their stated expiration dates, but only if they appear wholesome and fit for human consumption, with package integrity intact. Examples may include (but are not limited to): soft drinks, crackers, cookies, cereals, potato chips, cans of soup, etc. Dates that appear on packages that are not preceded by language such as “Best Buy,” “Sell By,” “Use By" or any other qualifying statement, are assumed to be expiration dates and should be treated as such.

**Note: The Georgia Department of Agriculture does NOT have regulatory authority over drugs, cosmetics or dietary supplements. These products fall under the regulation of the FDA. ** 


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