Food safety regulations influence everyone along the food supply chain, from suppliers to retailers. On average, foodborne pathogens plague at least 48 million Americans every year, with about 3,000 consumers from these illnesses. That’s why food safety regulations remain so critical.
Agencies at every level of government – from the feds to the local board of health – enforce food safety regulations, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) serving as the two most significant policy setters and are tasked with implementing food safety legislation passed by Congress.
Among other things, the FDA is responsible for “protecting the public health by assuring that foods (except for meat from livestock, poultry, and some egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled; ensuring that human and veterinary drugs, and vaccines and other biological products and medical devices intended for human use are safe and effective.”
State and local regulators are allowed to tweak the federal standards, but any changes must be more rigorous than the federal minimums.
These multiple layers of law and regulations can generate a lot of confusion. Food Regulations 101 cover the basics of food regulations, so employees don’t have to struggle to learn them the hard way.
FDA attorney Marc Sanchez discusses the primary regulatory agencies in the United States, what’s regulated and why, sources of law, and practical suggestions to put that organizational knowledge into practice. Marc represents FDA-regulated companies in the food, dietary supplement, beverage, cosmetic, medical device, and drug industries. He also teaches as a part-time adjunct professor at Northeastern University on regulatory topics, including U.S. and international food law and regulation. With a focus on international trade, he advises clients on the regulatory requirements and strategic corporate considerations that affect the importation, distribution, and exportation of FDA regulated products.