Best if printed in landscape.
to find information about food safety laws
purpose of this web page is to introduce how to locate laws relative to
food safety. Although our laws are comprised of state and federal
statutes, regulations and court decisions, the focus of this introduction
will be on federal statutes and regulations because much of our food safety
law is based on federal law.
is only an introduction but it will be adequate for this course. Visit
for a more complete introduction to locating laws.
site is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for competent
legal counsel. Seek appropriate professional advice for answers to your
materials are available in both traditional print (books) and increasingly
on the worldwide web (WWW). This introduction focuses on WWW and only
makes mention of printed materials. However, you may find it effective
to use both formats (if you have access to printed law materials).
Law -- Federal Statutes
- The United States
Code (US Code or U.S.C.) contains all federal statutes currently in
effect; it is organized into 50 major topics (titles) and then subdivided
into chapters and sections.
331 of Title 21
in subchapter III of Chapter 9 (Prohibited Acts)
- note the
prohibition against adulterated and misbranded foods
- note the
application of this law to only food in "interstate commerce"
but do not overlook the broad definition of interstate commerce
342 of Title 21 in subchapter IV of Chapter 9 (Adulterated Food)
343 of Title 21 in subchpater IV of Chapter 9 (Misbranded Food)
- note the
encompassing definitions of both adulterated and misbranded foods
- When citing the
US Code, the chapter (and subchapter) generally is NOT noted; instead
just the title and section numbers are used to identify the statute,
e.g., 21 U.S.C.
§331 ( title U.S.C. section ).
- The US Code is
available in several printed multi-volume versions; one version is published
by the federal government; several others are printed by private publishers.
- At the NDSU
Library, the US Code (version printed by the government) can be
found in the Reference room at Ref KF 62 1994.
- The US Code also
is available on the WWW at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/
(Legal Information Institute) and at http://uscode.house.gov/
(Office of the Law Revision Counsel, US House of Representatives)
- The government
printed version of the US Code is updated with supplemental volumes
- Use the Index to
search the government printed version.
- Use keywords to
search the US Code on the WWW; both web sites listed above have search
- Citation format: 21
U.S.C. §331 ( title U.S.C. section )
Law -- Federal
of Federal Regulations
- The Code of Federal
Regulations (C.F.R.) contains all regulations of the agencies
of the federal government. The majority of agencies we will
consider are executive agencies.
- The C.F.R. is available
in printed format (approximately 200 paperback volumes) and on the WWW.
- At the NDSU
Library, the C.F.R. can be found in the Reference room at Ref KF
- On the WWW,
the CFR can be found at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-table-search.html;
- This web
site also includes regulations from previous years -- this could
be important in some situations; for example, if an issue arose
2 years ago that remains unresolved, the regulation in effect
at the time the problem arose would likely apply to the problem,
not the current regulation; therefore, access to the earlier
version of the regulation is invaluable.
- The C.F.R. is organized
by the same 50 titles as the United States Code
- To locate a regulation
in the the printed version of the C.F.R. use the Index; to
locate a regulation in the C.F.R. on the WWW, use the search mechanism
found at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html.
- HINT -- Most
FDA "food" regulations are found in parts 1 through 199
21 of the CFR
- HINT -- Most
FSIS regulations are found in parts
300 to 592 of Title
9 of the CFR; regulations for other USDA agencies (APHIS and
PS of GIPSA) are found throughout Title 9 of the CFR.
- HINT -- Regulations
for additional USDA agencies are found in Title
7 of the CFR; for example, AMS (parts 27 to 209), more APHIS
(parts 300 to 399), FGIS of GIPSA (parts 800 to 899)
- HINT -- Parts
53 to 59 of 7 CFR address livestock, meat, eggs, and dairy;
810 addresses grain standards.
- Citation format: 7
C.F.R. §42.101 ( title C.F.R. section)
- The printed version
of the C.F.R. is updated annually by replacing the entire volume (this
is an ongoing process, that is, by the end of the year, all the volumes
have been replaced and then the process is repeated the following year). The
WWW site for the C.F.R. is updated on the same schedule as the printed
- Since the C.F.R.
is updated on a schedule and each volume is updated once each year,
but regulations are being added or revised on an ongoing basis,
there is a lag between what is published in the C.F.R. and the most
recent changes. The Federal Register is used to "close this gap."
- All federal regulations
are published in the Federal Register as they are finalized; the Federal
Register also contains announcements (e.g., program announcements),
notices, and proposed regulations issued by federal agencies.
- The process of
promulgating a federal regulation involves 1) publishing the proposed
regulation in the Federal Register, 2) allowing time for public comment
and hearing, 3) agency revisions based on the public comment, and 4)
publication (again) in the Federal Register in its "final" form. After
these steps are completed, the regulation takes effect.
- Use the Federal
Register to locate proposed regulations, as well as recently
announced final regulations.
- It may be helpful
to think of the C.F.R. as containing only final regulations; proposed
regulations (those in the process of being finalized) are NOT yet
part of the C.F.R.
- The C.F.R.
does NOT contain recently announced final regulations due to the
time lag in the process of updating the C.F.R.
of interaction between a federal statute and federal regulation.
- Federal Register
is published daily; it is available in printed format and on the WWW.
- To locate information
in the printed version of the Federal Register -- 1) use the end-of-the-year
Index to locate materials from previous years 2) use the January-to-end-of-previous-month
Index to locate materials from previous months of the current year,
and 3) use the last page of the most recent issue of the Federal
Register to locate materials for the current month.
- A search mechanism
is provided for searching the Federal
Register on the WWW. Also use "List of CFR Sections Affected" at
- Citation format: Federal
Register: March 15, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 50) Pages 12154-12155.
to find agency explanations
agencies frequently describe their authorities and their implementation
practices; these explanations provide invaluable insights into the agency's
perception of its role.
example, visit LSU Libraries
Federal Agencies Directory; click on
(since most agenices are in the executive branch)
agencies (note the list of Departments)
of Health and Human Services
- Food and Drug Administration
- Center for Food
Safety and Applied Nutrition
example; start at LSU
Libraries Federal Agencies Directory; click on
- Department of Agriculture
- Food Safety
- Food Safety and
The LSU site is
an excellent place to begin to find any federal agency.
have newsletters and other subscription-based information. They
also often provide educational materials. These are available in
a variety of formats. Examples of web-based sources include
not overlook --
- State statutes
sources of food safety information
The next section provides an overview of US food law; it begins with a general description of the history of that topic.
February 6, 2010