ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York State Fair officials are asking the operators of the state's 52 county fairs to discourage the selling or displaying of items that could offend fairgoers or pose public safety concerns.

Although the state Department of Agriculture and Markets' message doesn't specifically mention Confederate flags, Thursday's letter from Commissioner Richard Ball was sent just days after a group urged county fairs to prohibit sales or displays of the banners.

Leaders of Delaware County-based Fair For All say the Confederacy's Civil War flags are a symbol of slavery, racism and hate.

Ball's letter urged county fair operators to discourage vendors from "selling or displaying items that run counter to our great state's long history of inclusion for all."

State Fair vendors have voluntarily stopped selling Confederates. The fair opens Aug. 22.