TRENTON, NJ – In the absence of a national definition of “local,” “locally grown” or locally produced, agriculture officials in New Jersey proposed new rules they say will fill the void.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is proposing new rules that establish definitions, standards for classification and penalties for mislabeling farm products sold in New Jersey as “local”. The proposed rule only applies to the use of the classification standard “local,” “locally grown,” and “locally produced” to describe farm products sold in New Jersey.

“The identification of “local” farm products will help to avoid consumer confusion about the source of “local” farm products they find available in the Garden State,” the agency said. In addition, the proposed new rules will allow farmers to compete effectively in the Garden State’s “local” market.”

Under the proposed rule, farm products for sale in New Jersey must be grown or produced in the state to be labeled, marketed or identified as local. Otherwise, products produced in a locality or state outside New Jersey must be clearly identified.

The agency emphasized that the proposed new rules do not exclude any producers, growers or marketers of farm products from offering their products for sale in New Jersey.