The Associated Press reports that federal and state laws require that most food sold to the public be made in licensed facilities open to government inspectors.

But as more people become interested in buying local food, a few states have created exemptions for amateur chefs who sell homemade goods at farmers markets and on small farms.

The exemptions have touched off a debate about how to balance the need for food safety with a dose of regulatory common sense.

Supporters say they recognize food safety regulations designed for big commercial food handlers can be a burden for small-time cooks who just want to make a few extra bucks selling canned goods or other specialty products.

Opponents say that without regulation, the public is at risk for food-borne illnesses.

Photo by AP.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on June 30, 2010 in Ideas.

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