Food

Food in the United States

Legal Materials

The National Agriculture Library has a “Food and Nutrition Information Center” and food-related information in its online catalog, both accessible from the NAL Web site .

Food definitions and explanations, there are many good food encyclopedias (for titles, search the New York Public Library online catalog.

The Food Timeline explains how human cuisine has developed over the centuries.

Additives: Food additives are listed, described and discussed in the Food Chemicals Codex by U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP-FCC). See also “FDA Petitions,” below.

FDA Petitions: Food Additive Petitions, Color Additive Petitions, Generally Recognized as Safe Petitions and other FDA filings and documents can be purchased from FOI Services.

Codex Alimentarius: The Codex Alimentarius is set a food safety standards set by theCodex Alimentarius Commission. The Codex is held in many large libraries and is posted in the Official Standards section of the Commission’s Web site.

The main documents for interpreting the Codex are the “Reports” issued by the Commission and its committees. Recent reports are posted in the Meetings and Events section of the Commission’s Web site.

U.S. input to the Codex is handled by the U.S. Codex Office, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington (202-205-7760). If you have questions, try calling the Codex Office at 202-205-7760.

Dietary Supplements: Dietary supplements are substances that are eaten but not “represented as a conventional food or sold as a sole item of a meal or the diet.” They can be vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, etc. The FDA does not regulate their safety, but it does regulate their labeling. You can find information about supplements (what they are, who they are made for, how they are labeled), see the Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD).

Nutrition: The classic reference work on nutrition is Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements (The National Academies Press). The Nutrition Source posts information on healthy eating according to contemporary science.

Prices: For information on the historic price of food in the U.S. see the Food Timeline’s FAQs: historic food prices page.

Recalls: The Food Safety and Inspection Service posts lists of food recalls issued by the U.S. Federal and state governments. The FDA posts guidance on appropriate recall procedures for food suppliers. European Union food recalls are posted in Europa’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. Canadian food recalls are posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts page.

Restaurants: Lists Online links to lists of top restaurants. Zagat.com provides survey-based restaurant reviews for major urban areas. Some cities post databases that summarize the results of their restaurant inspections, including New York, Denver, San Francisco and Washington D.C..

Warning Letters: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warning Letters are posted on the FDA Web site and through a number of Thompson’s subscription products, including the FDA Enforcement Manual.

Kosher Food

You can find kosher restaurants using the Kosher Restaurant Database (www.shamash.org/kosher) or Israelifood.com (www.israelifood.com).

To order Kosher food for mail delivery, try Kosher Cornucopia (www.koshercornucopia.com). For Kashruth information, call the Orthodox Union’s Kashruth Questions line (212-563-4000) and/or Kashrut.Com (www.kashrut.com), which includes Alerts.

Food Law and Policy

The Ninth Circuit is considering conflicting class certification rulings by two Northern District judges – Charles Breyer and Lucy Koh – in three separate cases involving food labeled “natural.” (See Werdebaugh v. Blue Diamond Growers, 2014 WL 2191901 (May 23, 2014); Jones v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., 2014 WL 2702726 (June 13, 2014); and Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, 2014 WL 5794873 (Nov. 6, 2014).) Plaintiffs say that description misled them to pay extra for, among other products, Pam cooking spray (which contains propellants), tomatoes canned with processed citric acid, and almond milk sweetened with “evaporated cane juice” (sugar).

Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola (134 S. Ct. 2228 (2014)), competitors may bring claims alleging that false or misleading labels constitute unfair competition. The FDA used to be the one stop for all food law. That’s changed.

Food producers also are adapting to broad changes in federal regulations as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (Pub. L. No. 111-353) continues taking effect. In January 2015 the FDA gains new powers to shut down producers for safety violations. The law also requires international companies to come up with their own safeguards for food production abroad. These changes may give producers more responsibility.

There is a continuing rise in complaints under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, passed by voters as Proposition 65; it mandates warnings about dangerous chemicals present in products and public places.

Finding the law: Food in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to food, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines food topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.

Finding the law: Food in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to food, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines food topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.

Food

In Legislation

Food in the U.S. Code: Title 21, Chapter 9, Subchapter IV

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating food are compiled in the United States Code under Title 21, Chapter 9, Subchapter IV. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to Drugs (including food) of the United States. The reader can further narrow his/her legal research of the general topic (in this case, Food Safety of the US Code, including food) by chapter and subchapter.

Resources

See Also

Food Law
Food Additives
Food And Drug Administration
Farm Products Statutory Liens
Agriculture
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Water

Further Reading

Food: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Food. This part provides references, in relation to Food, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Food by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Food and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Food or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Food and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Food. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Food should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Food when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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