Food production, processing, and serving are regulated for a variety of public health and safety reasons. Food products are federally regulated by either the United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). These organizations require a variety of licenses and/or registrations depending on the specific activities of the business. For example, under the Bio Terrorism Act, the FDA now requires that food facilities be registered with the agency. This registration applies to owners, operators, or agents in charge of domestic or foreign consumption.
Many states require food industry businesses to obtain a permit from the state health department. This allows the state to ensure that the food is being properly stored, prepared, and serviced. Many local health departments require additional licenses or permits. Most states also regulate how food is manufactured. “Food Manufacturer” can be construed broadly to include any facility or business where food is prepared, e.g., a sandwich shop. The state department of agriculture or the state department of health may license these manufacturers. Additionally, local food-related licenses may apply.