Food and Beverages Law

What Are Food and Beverage Laws?

Food and Beverage Laws pertain to the laws of safety and distribution for the food and beverage industry. While this area of the law obviously has heavy concentration on food safety and distribution, it is also subject to laws such as the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA).

Similarly, a wide array of regulatory agencies monitor the compliance of businesses in the food and beverage industry. These include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and a myriad of state agencies. There are also a wide array of state and local laws that have an impact on the industry

The primary areas of concern for the food and beverage industry, as pertains to the law, are product safety claims, accurate labeling and advertising, and food import regulations. Other practice areas that often cross over with food and beverage law include contract, business laws, distribution networks, agricultural laws, personal injury, international trade laws, and many others.

For more information about food and beverage laws, please refer to the materials provided below. You can also get information about your particular food and beverage law questions by contacting an attorney you found on our website at the Law Firms page.


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Food and Beverages Law - US

  • ABA - Legal Issues in Food Safety

    It seems that hardly a month goes by without a story about American food shoppers falling prey to another nasty pathogen lurking in the local supermarket. Several well-publicized outbreaks of food-related illness have created a rare political alignment. Angry consumers and a food industry haunted by the double specter of bad publicity and lawsuits both appear ready to embrace actions by the federal government to make the U.S. food supply safer, and the federal government has begun to take some of those steps.

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

  • Egg Products Inspection Act

    Under the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), FSIS provides inspection for all poultry products sold in interstate commerce, and reinspects imported products to ensure that they meet U.S. food safety standards.

  • Exporting Food Products from the United States

    Firms exporting products from the United States are often asked by foreign customers or foreign governments to supply an "export certificate" for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Please note that: * FDA does not require that you obtain an export certificate, * FDA is not required by law to issue export certificates (although the agency intends to continue to provide this service as resources permit), and * FDA does not issue certificates for food manufactured outside the U.S. If you export food, it is your responsibility to: * follow U.S. laws and regulations, and * follow the requirements of the countries to which you export.

  • FDA Actions on New Bioterrorism Legislation

    The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act) directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take steps to protect the public from a threatened or actual terrorist attack on the U.S. food supply. To carry out the provisions of the Bioterrorism Act, FDA published, on October 10, 2003, an interim final regulation, Registration Of Food Facilities, which requires domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States to register with the FDA.

  • Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act)

    The FDA's online reference edition of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is based on the publication Compilation of Selected Acts Within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Energy and Commerce; Food, Drug, and Related Law, As Amended Through December 31, 2004, prepared for the use of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, March 2005.

  • Federal Meat Inspection Act

    Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), FSIS provides inspection for all meat products sold in interstate commerce, and reinspects imported products to ensure that they meet U.S. food safety standards.

  • Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA)

    On Sept. 27, 2007, the President signed into law the most recent amendments and reauthorized some existing provisions in what is called the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007. The information below answers some of the more common questions concerning what this critical measure means both to FDA and to the public.

  • Food Contact Notification

    This guidance represents FDA's current thinking on the Administrative Recommendations for preparation of Food Contact Substances. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirement of applicable statutes and regulations. This guidance is being issued in accordance with FDA's Good Guidance Practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115).

  • Food Facility Registration

    To carry out certain provisions of the Bioterrorism Act, FDA has established new regulations requiring that: * Food facilities are registered with FDA, and * FDA be given advance notice on shipments of imported food.

  • Food Inspections and Compliance

    The food industry is responsible for producing safe food. Government agencies are responsible for setting food safety standards, conducting inspections, ensuring that standards are met, and maintaining a strong enforcement program to deal with those who do not comply with standards.

  • Food Labeling Policies

    The Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book, Policy Memorandums, A Guide to Federal Food Labeling Requirements for Meat and Poultry Products, directives and other resource material regarding labeling of meat, poultry, and egg products can be found here.

  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

  • Importing Food Products into the United States

    Under provisions of the U.S. law contained in the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, importers of food products intended for introduction into U.S. interstate commerce are responsible for ensuring that the products are safe, sanitary, and labeled according to U.S. requirements. (All imported food is considered to be interstate commerce.) FDA is not authorized under the law to approve, certify, license or otherwise sanction individual food importers, products, labels or shipments

  • Irradiated Food and Packaging Policy

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating the use of irradiation in the treatment of food and food packaging. This authority derives from the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) where Congress explicitly defined a source of radiation as a food additive (Section 201(s) of the FD&C Act).

  • Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is amending the color additive regulations to increase the permitted use level of bismuth citrate as a color additive in cosmetics intended for coloring hair on the scalp. This action is in response to a petition filed by Combe, Inc. DATES: This rule is effective April 27, 2010; except as to any provisions that may be stayed by the filing of proper objections.

  • Poultry Products Inspection Act

    Under the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), FSIS provides inspection for all poultry products sold in interstate commerce, and reinspects imported products to ensure that they meet U.S. food safety standards.

  • President's Food Safety Working Group (FSWG)

    In his weekly address on March 14, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group to advise him on how to upgrade the U.S. food safety system. The Working Group, chaired by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture, is recommending a new, public health-focused approach to food safety based on three core principles: 1. prioritizing prevention; 2. strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and 3. improving response and recovery.

  • Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts

    This section includes the most significant product actions over the last five years based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk. In this section, you will find a listing of FDA and industry press releases regarding the product recalls.

  • Report a Problem with Food

    If you suspect that a food is contaminated or has made you or someone that you know sick, follow these guidelines to report it.

  • United States Department of Agriculture

    We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.

  • United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, products that emit radiation, and tobacco products.

Food and Beverages Law - International

  • Codex Alimentarius Commission

    The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 by FAO and WHO to develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The main purposes of this Programme are protecting health of the consumers and ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade, and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

  • FAO - Food Quality and Standards

    FAO's Food Quality and Standards is concerned with the maintenance and improvement of the quality and safety of foods at the international, regional, and national levels. It promotes the establishment and operation of national regulatory frameworks compatible with international requirements, in particular those of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. It also provides technical advice for capacity-building of food control systems and programmes at national and local levels to ensure food quality and safety throughout the food chain.

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people.

  • International Portal on Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health (IPFSAPH)

    The International Portal on Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health (IPFSAPH) is an interactive database for users who require official information on food safety, animal health and plant health. IPFSAPH contains standards, legislation, safety assessments, relevant contacts, and other information for users at all international, regional and national levels in order to facilitate information exchange within countries and regions, and to facilitate international food and agricultural trade.

  • World Health Organization - Food Safety

    odborne diseases and threats to food safety constitute a growing public health problem and WHO's mission is to assist Member States to strengthen their programmes for improving the safety of food all the way from production to final consumption. The approaches are outlined in the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety. Food safety – together with nutrition and food security – is one of WHO’s 13 strategic objectives for 2008-2013.

Organizations Related to Food and Beverages Law

  • is a free resource guide. We are not a retail service, although we link (we do not endorse or take responsibility for these sites) to retail sites giving you opportunities for find products and services.

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    CDC′s mission is to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.

  • Food Poisoning Prevention

    This site and its many pages, are dedicated to providing valuable information on How to Prevent and Avoid Food Poisoning and Food-Borne Illness Hazards by giving you, the consumer, the tools you need to identify those situations, facilities, foods and more that pose a risk of Food Poisoning.

  • is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies. According to the Key Findings of the Food Safety Working Group: “The federal government will enhance to better communicate information to the public and include an improved individual alert system allowing consumers to receive food safety information, such as notification of recalls. Agencies will also use social media to expand public communications.”

Publications Related to Food and Beverages Law

  • FDA - Investigations Operations Manual (IOM)

    The Investigations Operations Manual(IOM) is the primary source regarding Agency policy and procedures for field investigators and inspectors. This extends to all individuals who perform field investigational activities in support of the Agency's public mission. Accordingly, it directs the conduct of all fundamental field investigational activities. Adherence to this manual is paramount to assure quality, consistency, and efficiency in field operations.

  • Food Safety at Home Podcasts

    Food safety specialists provide consumers with advice and up-to-date information on how to prevent foodborne illness through the safe handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry, and processed egg products.

  • Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance

    The above named guidance documents were published in the Federal Register on 3/19/03, and are designed primarily as aids for operators of food establishments (i.e. firms that produce, process, store, repack, relabel, distribute, or transport food or food ingredients) and food importers, warehouses, and filers.

  • Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

    This guide is intended to assist the U.S. and foreign produce industry in enhancing the safety of domestic and imported produce by addressing common areas of concern in the growing, harvesting, sorting, packing, and distribution of fresh produce. The guide identifies the broad microbial hazards associated with each area of concern, the scientific basis of that concern, and good agricultural and management practices for reducing the risk of microbial contamination in fresh produce.

  • How Government Responds to Food Illness Outbreaks

    When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne outbreak. Public health officials investigate outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick in the outbreak, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

  • United States Agricultural and Food Law and Policy Blog

    The United States Agricultural & Food Law and Policy Blog is the comprehensive news, research, and information blog resource for the nation’s agricultural community. The Blog is provided through a partnership of the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas and the American Agricultural Law Association, two national institutions that uniquely serve the nation’s agricultural community.

Articles on Related to Food and Beverages Law

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    Cruise ship injuries occur infrequently, but when they do, they are often severe with passengers falling overboard or suffering harm on the ship. Expert witnesses hired for these lawsuits generally explain the dangers of certain areas and how proper safety prevents these incidents from transpiring.
  • Selling or Licensing a Recipe
    When attempting to build a company or business through intellectual property, it is important to know if the invention or process should be initiated by the individual, sold or traded for possible better benefits in the future. It is also important to have a lawyer versed in these matters available to ensure the rights of the owner are protected throughout the procedure.
  • Planning for Setting Up a Franchise?
    Many small businesses consider setting up their business as a franchise. There are several advantages to this model, including the ability to bring in an ongoing revenue stream. This increases the core business’ profitability while also rolling out a successful model to other individuals who dream of being an entrepreneur. The core business often provides a model and ongoing support so that an entrepreneur does not have to start from scratch. Some tips to help lead to a successful franchise include:
  • Gypsy Brewers: Contract or Alternating Proprietorship?
    It's an exciting time for craft beer in Texas, and the industry is growing like wildfire. One of the benefits of being a brewer in Texas is that new laws regarding gypsy brewing have opened the playing field to all comers. But gypsy brewing, like any new business, needs careful structure and contracts in place before the excitement of hops and fermentation takes over. 
  • Legal Considerations when Purchasing a Franchise
    When considering launching a business project, someone may decide to purchase a franchise. However, it is important to understand the legal considerations that must be taken into account when buying a franchise from a larger company.
  • What Should be Done to Fight the Patriot Act Applied to the Food Industry?
    Because of the Patriot Act and other laws that govern the food industry, it is not legal to provide statements and information that could affect the profits and revenue of these companies. However, there are ways to fight the Act and other regulations that are implemented to assist larger businesses.
  • How Businesses Must Properly Label Food Items
    Businesses are accountable for how products are processed, canned, bottled, distributed and labeled. This means that each step in these procedures must be correct before they may be sold to the consumer. If there is a defect or problem at some point, auditors in certain departments need to catch these issues before the product is taken for retailers and grocery stores.
  • Food Poisoning – How to Prove Who Is Liable
    Instances of food poisoning tend to appear in batches with certain types of food or in specific restaurants on occasion. However, when these incidents occur, the question becomes who is to blame and what should happen next with these situations.
  • Licenses and Permits for Opening a Restaurant in Florida
    If you are opening a new restaurant in Florida or are the new owner of an existing restaurant, you are required by law to obtain a business license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants before you can begin operation.
  • Finding Foreign Objects in Your Food
    When you consume food, you usually do not expect to find foreign objects in it. While such action may seem grotesque, whether or not you have a viable case depends on a number of factors. Additionally, pursuing the case involves an even closer analysis.
  • All Business and Industry Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Business and Industry including: agency and distributorship, agency law, business and industry, business formation, business law, commercial law, contracts, corporate governance, corporate law, e-commerce, food and beverages law, franchising, industrial and manufacturing, joint ventures, legal economics, marketing law, mergers and acquisitions, offshore services, privatization law, retail, shareholders rights and utilities.

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