Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says the Indiana State Egg Board cannot regulate online farmer’s markets as retailers.
In question is Indianapolis-based Market Wagon, an online market that connects farmers to customers.
The state egg board asked the state attorney general if the board had regulatory oversight of the transactions between buyers and sellers of eggs, facilitated by Market Wagon.
In an advisory opinion released this week, Hill said the egg board does not have the authority.
Hill said while Market Wagon does operate a warehouse where eggs exchange hands, the financial transaction is between vendors and customers and that Market Wagon never “assumes ownership of the eggs.”
State law requires a permit to sell eggs at a physical farmers market, but Hill says the law’s concept of a farmer’s market does not include an online platform.
“The board’s statutory and regulatory provisions were not designed to address e-commerce,” said Hill. “For the board to regulate in this area, there would likely need to be legislative changes to extend the board’s authority.”
Hill says if Market Place does collect money at the time of purchase, its share of money is collected as a fee for access to the online marketplace and not for the eggs themselves.