LANSING — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding consumers to use caution when purchasing meat or poultry from a door-to-door salesperson, and to make sure the products come from a reputable, approved source.
“Although door-to-door meat sales can offer the ease of being able to shop at home, these types of transactions can also provide an opportunity for disreputable salespeople to take advantage of consumers,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “Consumers should always do their homework before making a purchase, to safeguard their health and their pocketbooks.”
Consumers should follow these tips when buying meat or poultry from a door-to-door salesperson:
- Be an informed buyer. Know exactly what you are buying and from whom.
- Check to see if they have been approved by MDARD to sell products. An MDARD issued decal must be conspicuously displayed on each side of the vehicle and be visible when in transit and while serving the public. Decals are issued each licensing year in different colors – YELLOW for 2017.
- Make sure all receipts and accompanying documentation are complete and include the seller’s name and address; keep a copy for your records.
- Never buy meat from an unrefrigerated vehicle or from the trunk of a car.
- All food must come from an approved source; have the United States Department of Agriculture seal of inspection; and include a complete and intact label identifying the product and cut of meat, lists all ingredients, and provides the net weight of the product.
- The name and address of the business must be affixed to the exterior side of the vehicle in letters not less than 3″ high x 3/8″ wide and in colors contrasting the background color of the vehicle.
- Many communities require a vendor’s permit to operate door-to-door. This is a business license and is not a replacement for the required MDARD mobile food establishment license.
- Call your local Better Business Bureau to see if you are doing business with a reputable firm.
- Door-to-door meat sales are also regulated by the Michigan Home Solicitation Sales Act, Public Act 227 of 1971, which outlines your rights as a buyer and your right to cancel the sale and return the product within three business days. Details of this law can be found at http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.
If someone comes to your door selling meat and you suspect they are operating illegally, report the company to your local law enforcement agency and to MDARD at 800-292-3939. Any description you can provide regarding the salesperson(s) or vehicle, and the date and time of the attempted sale, will assist law enforcement and regulatory staff in their investigations.
For more information and tips regarding door-to-door meat sales, visit USDA’s website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/p