What is Food Law? | Becoming a Food Lawyer (2022)

Food law is the collection of laws and regulations that govern food production, distribution and consumption. Food laws aim to protect consumers and provide for the efficient growth and use of food in the United States. Food attorneys focus their careers on helping clients comply with food laws and regulations. In addition, they work on behalf of government agencies making or enforcing food laws and policies.

Food laws cover a variety of topics

Most people know that food laws govern pesticide use, tariffs on agricultural imports and restaurant cleanliness. Food law also covers other topics that some consumers may not have considered. For example, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the production of bottled water. Food laws regulate what supplement producers can claim about the effectiveness of their products. The U.S. food stamp program is part of food law and run under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food laws can even cover constitutional law topics like whether the federal government can lawfully regulate local farm production.

Where do food laws come from?

There are federal, state and local food laws. The federal government passes laws like the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act. Through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal government creates additional regulations and takes steps to enforce federal food law. There are also extensive state laws that typically govern topics like packaging, distribution, adulteration and fraud in the food industry.

Food attorneys help their clients comply with food law

How a food lawyer helps their client comply with food laws starts with understanding the client’s business operates. A meat processor and distributor has a different set of laws and regulations to follow than a restaurant. Likewise, a farmer has a different set of laws to follow than a store owner who needs to comply with food assistance laws. Meeting the client’s need requires understanding what laws apply to the client’s industry and activities.

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The Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the federal agency with the authority to regulate food safety. The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act created the FDA in 1938. Congress passed the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in reaction to the death of 100 people from a medicine. The Act defines food, dietary supplements and food additives and then creates laws that govern activities related to food. It creates both civil and criminal penalties for violations of federal food laws. In addition, the Act creates a naming system for food color additives. The FDA also regulates cosmetics and drugs. Their office provides information about how to start a food-related business.

The FDA sees their organization as a protector of food safety in the United States. In addition to protecting the public from natural diseases that can occur in food production and distribution, the FDA must also take measures to protect the public from bio terrorism and other intentional attacks on the food supply. The Administration also works to facilitate the development of new technology that makes food production safer and more affordable for the public.

The Food and Drug Act of 1906

Even before Congress created the FDA, the Food and Drug Act of 1906 prohibited dishonest labeling and manufacturing in food sales. The Food and Drug Act allows federal regulation of a range of products that together make up approximately 25 percent of the U.S. domestic product. The Food and Drug Act of 1906 is the precursor to the United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The Meat Inspection Act of 1906

Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 (FMIA) at the same time they passed the Food and Drug Act of 1906. The Act outlaws misleading labels in meat packaging. The Act calls for strict regulations for meat inspections during the production and packaging process. Meat imports must also follow similar standards. The Act allows officials to perform inspections.

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Nutrition labeling on food products

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) is a 1990’s law that allows the FDA to regulate food nutrition labeling. Under the NLEA, the FDA may regulate what claims food sellers make. For example, the FDA can require producers to meet standards if they want to claim a product is high in fiber or low in fat. Among other things, food sellers must report the trans fatty acid content in their product.

Although the NLEA doesn’t place the same regulations on restaurants that it places on food retailers, many restaurants voluntarily report nutrition information. There are also state laws that require food sellers to report nutrition information under certain circumstances. Attorneys who practice food law must ensure that their clients comply with reporting requirements as they package and market their products.

Pesticide regulations in food law

Another way that the government regulates food production is through the regulation of pesticide use. The Food Quality Protection Act is a 1996 law that standardizes pesticide regulations. The Act changes the way that the federal government approves pesticide use with special protections intended for vulnerable members of society like infants. The law covers testing and risk assessments. The Food Quality Protection Act has led to limitations and complete bans on certain types of pesticide use.

Food recalls and expanded powers of the FDA

The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act expands the power of the FDA to issue recalls. The Act is in response to reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that claim millions of people get sick each year because of food-related illnesses. The Food Safety Modernization Act allows the FDA to take proactive measures to prevent food-related illnesses and deaths before they occur.

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Similarly, the Public Health Security and Bio-terrorism Preparedness Response Act allows federal authorities to seize and quarantine food if they believe that it poses a public safety risk. Food importers must also take steps to protect their products from diseases and other contaminants. Food importers pay a registration fee that goes towards inspection and enforcement activities.

Who practices food law?

Food lawyers primarily work for food producers and government agencies. Any business that’s involved in food production must comply with food laws. Food producers, distributors and retailers rely on attorneys to help them with the many bodies of law that might apply to their work. A business that’s sizeable might employ an attorney as in-house counsel. Attorneys who specialize in food law may also work in private practice and work with their clients on specific matters as they arise.

Food law is largely administrative. It involves compliance. Food producers must ensure that they comply with the law as they conduct business. They must identify the laws and follow them. Food lawyers help their clients with all aspects of compliance. They help their clients react if they’re accused of violating a federal or state law. Lawyers may also work as lobbyists in order to present issues to legislators on behalf of their clients.

Attorneys who specialize in food law may work for the federal government. They may enforce regulations and work with inspectors. Federal food lawyers may take enforcement actions when they believe food producers violate federal laws. State governments also employ food lawyers to work on enforcement actions regarding state laws.

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Food laws are complex, and they come from a variety of sources. Whether an attorney specializes in only food law or includes it in a broader practice depends on the type of clients that they serve. An attorney that works for a large food producer may focus solely on food law issues. On the other hand, an attorney that helps a convenience store with an allegation of food benefit fraud might have a broader practice in criminal law or in a variety of administrative law topics.

Why Become a Food Lawyer?

Food law is a large component of operations for any food-related business. Food attorneys are valued by their clients. Attorneys who work in private practice and attorneys who work for a government entity have the opportunity to serve the public good by protecting the interest of their clients. Food regulations in the United States are sizable and significant. There’s a lot of work to do for knowledgeable attorneys who specialize in the field.

Food law and the Legal Profession

There are federal, state and local regulations that impact the production, distribution, marketing and consumption of food. Food regulations touch approximately 25 percent of the U.S. economy. For businesses in the food industry, food law means knowing what laws exist and creating a plan to comply with them. Food lawyers work to help their clients do business lawfully and efficiently.


What is the law of food? ›

The term “food law” applies to legislation which regulates the production, trade and handling of food and hence covers the regulation of food control, food safety, quality and relevant aspects of food trade across the entire food chain, from the provision for animal feed to the consumer.

What is American food law? ›

An early and enduring goal of U.S. federal food law is to assure consumers have adequate information about food products when they are deciding whether to purchase the food. Accordingly, federal law prohibits food from being misbranded; restated, federal law requires that food products be appropriately labeled.

Which of these is considered the first major food law in the US? ›

1906. The original Food and Drugs Act is passed by Congress on June 30 and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. It prohibits interstate commerce in misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks and drugs.

Who is a food lawyer? ›

Food laws aim to protect consumers and provide for the efficient growth and use of food in the United States. Food attorneys focus their careers on helping clients comply with food laws and regulations. In addition, they work on behalf of government agencies making or enforcing food laws and policies.

Why are food safety laws important? ›

Food regulations serve as checks and balances on the food industry to prevent malpractices like adulteration and mismeasuring as well as the consequences of cutting corners. Specific regulations are needed at every step of production to make the process foolproof.

Who regulates the food industry? ›

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA is charged with protecting consumers against impure, unsafe, and fraudulently labeled products. FDA, through its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), regulates foods other than the meat, poultry, and egg products regulated by FSIS.

What are the food laws in the Bible? ›

"`Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it is not to be eaten. You are not to eat any creature that moves about on the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is detestable. Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures.

What is food safety policy? ›

What is Food Safety? Food safety refers to routines in the preparation, handling and storage of food meant to prevent foodborne illness and injury. From farm to factory to fork, food products may encounter any number of health hazards during their journey through the supply chain.

How many food laws are there? ›

The act brought into force in place of the PFA is the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as "FSSA") that overrides all other food related laws. It specifically repealed eight laws which were in operation prior to the enforcement of FSSA: The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

When was the first food law written? ›

The Massachusetts “Act Against Selling Unwholesome Provisions,” passed on March 8, 1785, is widely believed to be the first food safety law enacted by the fledgling U.S. government.

When did food safety become an issue? ›

The beginning of regulation on food safety in the United States started in the early 1900s, when several outbreaks sparked the need for litigation managing food in the food industry.

What job specific skills are required for a lawyer? ›

9 examples of lawyer skills
  • Analytical and research skills. Lawyers rely heavily on their ability to perform deep research into topics related to cases they work on. ...
  • Attention to detail. ...
  • Organizational skills. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Persuasive communication. ...
  • Written communication skills. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Technical skills.

What is a food artist? ›

Filters. A person employed to arrange food in an attractive presentation to be photographed for use on packaging etc.

What is an attorney called? ›

In the United States, the terms lawyer and attorney are often used interchangeably. For this reason, people in and out of the legal field often ask, “is an attorney and a lawyer the same thing?”. In colloquial speech, the specific requirements necessary to be considered a lawyer vs attorney aren't always considered.

What is benefit of food safety? ›

Food safety is important as it helps to protect consumer from the risk of food borne illnesses. It also helps to prevent consumers from risks of health –related conditions such as allergy and even death.

What is the benefit of good food safety? ›

A Food Safety Plan improves consumers's confidence in the product. A Food Safety Plan minimize the possibility of food poisoning. In a long run, a Food Safety Plan lowers production cost on raw material wastage and food recall.

What law is the basis of modern food regulations? ›

The history of modern food safety regulations can be traced back to the Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act, both passed in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt into law.

Is the food code a federal law? ›

The FDA Food Code is not federal law. It is the FDA's best “advice” for ways to ensure that food at retail and in foodservice is safe, properly protected and presented. It is up the agencies that have responsibility for food safety to either adopt or adapt the FDA code to their own jurisdiction.

What is the best food business to start? ›

8 Food Business Ideas for First-Time Entrepreneurs (Make Yummy Profits!)
  • Food truck.
  • Gourmet popcorn shop.
  • Cooking classes.
  • Coffee shop.
  • Meal kits.
  • Baked goods.
  • Jam and jelly.
  • Baby food.
Mar 22, 2022

What did Jesus eat in the Bible? ›

(In other words, he would stick to the Kosher section of the grocery store today.) We know that ancient Israelites ate lamb and goat meat, but meat was probably more of a special treat for Jesus than a daily staple. Instead, he might have relied on legumes, like beans or lentils, and fish for protein.

What did Jesus say about food? ›

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.

What animals Can you not eat in the Bible? ›

Prohibited foods that may not be consumed in any form include all animals—and the products of animals—that do not chew the cud and do not have cloven hoofs (e.g., pigs and horses); fish without fins and scales; the blood of any animal; shellfish (e.g., clams, oysters, shrimp, crabs) and all other living creatures that ...

What are 5 food safety rules? ›

These five simple keys to safe and healthy food are: keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, and use safe water and raw materials. "Following these five keys helps consumers know they are handling foods safely and preventing microbes from multiplying," said Dr.

What are the 4 types of food hazards? ›

Food hazards may be biological, chemical, physical, allergenic, nutritional and/or biotechnology-related.

What are the 4 principles of food safety? ›

Four Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill.

What are the 4 parts of the Food Standards Code? ›

the microbiological safety of food; the composition of food, including contaminants, residues, additives or other substances; and, information about food, including labelling and advertising.

How did food safety start? ›

In 1906, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, which established the duty of the federal government to regulate foods other than meat and poultry, and to prohibit the interstate sale of food misbranded or adulterated with chemical preservatives–a structure that's now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What was the first food safety act? ›

1906. The original Food and Drugs Act is passed by Congress on June 30 and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. It prohibits interstate commerce in misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks and drugs.

Who invented food safety? ›

In the 1860s Louis Pasteur began his work on pasteurization and fermentation, which has made an enormous impact both on the medical world and on food safety to this day.

What is the scope of food safety? ›


Identifying critical points in food processing and handling required for safe food production. Identification of food safety hazards by using the scientific method. Acquaint with the implementation of measures to control these hazards where significant better use of resources.

Who discovered food poisoning? ›

'Food poisoning' as 'commonly understood' was defined in 1935 by Arthur MacNalty (1880-1969), then Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health, as 'an acute gastro-enteritis due to the ingestion of food or drink which either con- tains living bacteria of species capable of setting up an acute inflammation of the ...

How old is the current food safety system? ›

The HACCP concept was first developed in the 1960s by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), working with Pillsbury, to ensure crumb- and pathogen-free food that had extensive shelf-life properties for space travel—the first pathogen monitoring and measurement requirement imposed on the food ...

When was the law the most comprehensive modern food law passed? ›

Pure Food and Drug Act
EffectiveJanuary 1, 1907
Public law59-384
Statutes at Large34 Stat. 768, Chapter 3915
11 more rows

When did food hygiene regulations become law? ›

The Food Safety Act 1990.

What is religious food law? ›

The religious dietary laws of the largest religions known are written down in their relevant religious books, which include information on forbidden, suspicious, or food to be avoided, as well as allowed foodstuffs. From: Handbook of Hygiene Control in the Food Industry (Second Edition), 2016.

What are the laws of nutrition? ›

Abstract. Background: The “Laws of Correct Nutrition”: the Law of Quantity, the Law of Quality, the Law of Harmony and the Law of Adequacy, provide the basis of a proper diet, i.e. one that provides the body with the energy required and nutrients it needs for daily activities and maintenance of vital functions.

What is Republic Act 10611 definition? ›

An act to strengthen the food safety regulatory system in the country to protect consumenr health and facilitate market access of local foods and food products, and for other purposes. RA - 15th Congress. ra 10611.pdf.

What are the food laws in Judaism? ›

Jews will only eat meat which is killed and prepared by their own religiously trained workers and will not take milk and meat in the same meal. A kosher household will also keep meat and milk utensils, crockery and cutlery strictly separate (see the table below for further details on kosher food).

What foods are forbidden in the Bible? ›

Prohibited foods that may not be consumed in any form include all animals—and the products of animals—that do not chew the cud and do not have cloven hoofs (e.g., pigs and horses); fish without fins and scales; the blood of any animal; shellfish (e.g., clams, oysters, shrimp, crabs) and all other living creatures that ...

Do Muslims eat meat? ›

Lamb, beef, goat and chicken, for example, are halal as long as a Muslim kills them and offers a prayer. Fish and eggs are also halal. All products from pork, carrion and blood are forbidden (haram), as are all types of alcohol. In Britain Muslims buy their meat from a Muslim butcher whenever possible.

Can Christians eat meat? ›

The Christian has freedom to eat meat without it being a question of conscience. In fact, not only can they do it, they are blessed when they do it and the source of the meat is not really an issue in the New Testament,” Jamison says. “We are allowed to eat meat from any type of animals.

What is the study of nutrition? ›

Nutrition is the study of the influence that food intake has on the health and well-being of an individual. Nutrition is an applied science, so students who study nutrition can be employed in a variety of scientific roles, including those related to the food industry, public health, or the media.

What is the hidden hunger? ›

Hidden hunger is a form of undernutrition that occurs when intake and absorption of vitamins and minerals (such as zinc, iodine, and iron) are too low to sustain good health and development (Box 3.1).

What are the food regulatory bodies in Nigeria? ›

The National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) is the regulatory authority in Nigeria with the mandate to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drug, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, detergents and packaged water ...

What are the food law in the Philippines? ›

Food law shall aim for a high level of food safety, protection of human life and health in the production and consumption of food. It shall also aim for the protection of consumer interests through fair practices in the food trade.

What is food safety Act of 2013 RA 10611 explain the law and its concept? ›

10611 otherwise known as the “Food Safety Act of 2013”. The law primarily adheres to the Philippine Constitution's declaration to protect and promote the right of the people to health and keep its populace from the threat of trade malpractices and substandard and hazardous products.

What is the main objective of food safety Act? ›

To strengthen the food safety regulatory system in the country, the State shall adopt the following specific objectives: (a) Protect the public from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated foods; (b) Enhance industry and consumer confidence in the food regulatory ...

Can Jews eat chicken? ›

Certain domesticated fowl can be eaten, such as chicken, geese, quail, dove, and turkey. The animal must be slaughtered by a shochet — a person trained and certified to butcher animals according to Jewish laws. The meat must be soaked to remove any traces of blood before cooking.

Why can't Jews eat meat and milk? ›

Prohibition on mixing dairy products with meat

Others associate it with the general prohibition on certain mixtures set out in the Torah, such as that of coupling animals from different species. Yet others see it as symbolic: the refusal to mix life (milk) and death (meat).

Can milk be kosher? ›

All dairy products, like milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese, must come from a kosher animal. All ingredients and equipment used to produce it have to be kosher, too. Pareve. This is the category for kosher foods that aren't meat or dairy.


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