Food Safety



The United States food regulatory system has developed piecemeal over the last century, generating new rules and regulations in response to emerging food problems. As a result, an organizational structure allocates to various government agencies differing responsibilities for specific food safety concerns. A key to effective regulation within this complex and fragmented system is interagency cooperation, cooperation between these agencies, and public and private stakeholders. Although this overview focuses on federal regulation of food safety, it is important to note that state regulatory agencies also play an important role in food safety regulation, especially in enforcement. Most notably, state regulatory agencies are primarily responsible for food sanitation and safe food handling by food retailers, food service providers, and food vending operations. Read the full overview.

Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA)
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA)
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA)
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA)
Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA)
Swine Health Protection Act (SHPA)


Poultry and Egg Products Regulations, 7 C.F.R. Part 94
Mandatory Meat and Poultry Products Inspection Regulations, 9 C.F.R. Parts 300-381
Regulatory Requirements Under FMIA/PPIA/EPIA, 9 C.F.R. Parts 412-500
Egg Products Inspection Regulations, 9 C.F.R. Parts 590-592
General Regulations for the Enforcement of the FDCA, 21 C.F.R. Parts 1-99
FDA’s Food for Human Consumption Regulations, 21 C.F.R. Parts 100-199
Animal Drugs, Feeds, and Related Products Regulations, 21 C.F.R. Parts 500-599
Tolerances and Exemptions for Pesticide Chemical Residues in Food, 40 C.F.R. Part 180
Processed Fishery Products Regulations, 50 C.F.R. Parts 260-261

Case Law

Case Law Index for Food Safety

Administrative Law Decisions

FDA Dockets Management
USDA Office of the Administrative Law Judges
USDA Office of the Judicial Officer

Center Research Publications

Produce Safety Rule Highlights (Copper & Caracciolo, 2021)
Meat Processing Laws in the United States (E. Rumley & Wilkerson, 2020)
Issue Brief: Organization for Competitive Markets Seeks Judicial Review of USDA’s GIPSA Rule Withdrawal (Lizano & E. Rumley, 2018)
Recent Legal Developments with the Food Safety Modernization Act (Schweichler, 2018)
Cottage Food Laws: Adequately Addressing Food Safety and Economic Opportunity? (Adams & Hall, 2018)
“Cottage Food” Laws (Hall)
FSMA Animal Food Rule – Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Control (Dillard, 2016)
Cattle Traceability: Potential Legal Implications (Rumley & Dowell)
State-Specific Direct Marketing Business Guides (National Ag Law Center & U. IL @Urbana)
3rd Party Food Safety Audits of Specialty Crop Operations (Seideman & Rainey, 2012)
Food Safety and Specialty Crops (R. Rumley)
Legal and Business Guide for Specialty Crop Producers (National Ag Law Center & U. AR Division of Agriculture, 2011; updated 2022)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017
Subjects– published by CRS and made available by NALC:

Food Safety
Animal Agriculture
Produce Safety: Requirements, Implementation, and Issues for Congress (R46706 2021)
Proposed Reorganization of U.S. Federal Food Safety Agencies (IF10974 2018)

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Food Safety:

Food and Drug Law
Fruits and Vegetables – Perishable Agricultural Commodities
Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Fungicides, Fertilizers
Torts, Insurance

Reference Resources

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

What Swine Growers Need to Know about Garbage Feeding

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

A-Z Index for Foodborne Illness
Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases (DFWED)
Educational Materials
Food Safety Office
Food Safety Information for Specific Groups

Department of Justice (DOJ)

Keeping our Food Safe

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Policy Topics: Food Safety
Policy Topics: Food Choices & Health

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Food Quality Protection Act
Food and Pesticides

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
FDA Food Code
FDA Office of Criminal Investigations
FDA Warning Letters
FSMA Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food
Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
Retail Food Risk Factor Study
State Retail and Food Service Codes and Regulations by State Gateway to Food Safety Information

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Food Safety Guidelines Database
Guidelines for the Transportation and Distribution of Meat, Poultry, and Processed Egg Products
Food Safety Agencies & Partners
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Guide
“At Least Equal To” Guidelines for State Meat and Poultry Cooperative Inspection Programs
Meat and Poultry Hazards and Controls Guide
Mobile Slaughter Unit Compliance Guide
Recalls and Public Health Alerts
Food Safety Policy
Regulatory Enforcement
U.S. Codex Office

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Food Safety Research Information Office Database

Congressional Resources

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Reports on Food Safety (Government Accountability Office)

Other Federal Resources

Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: FDA’s Current Activities (CRS In Focus Summary)
National Programs: Food Safety (Agricultural Research Service)
Global Beef Trade: Effects of Animal Health, Sanitary, Food Safety, and Other Measures on U.S. Beef Exports (U.S. International Trade Commission)


Government Repudiation of Americans’ Safety: A Call for Reformation of FDA’s GRAS Notification Program (Soroudi, 2020)
The Park Doctrine and Prosecution of Misdemeanor Violations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Or….Farmer Bill Goes to Jail (Gurwitz, 2016)
Responding to a Client’s Food Safety Issue (Handel, 2017)
The Food Modernization Act What Every Texas Lawyer Should Know (Walsh, 2017)
Food Safety Modernization Act: Inspections, Compliance Strategies and Opportunities for Comment (Practical Winery & Vineyard)

Additional Resources

Consumer Brands Association
Food and Drug Law Institute
Food Fix
Food Safety (IA St. U. Ext.)
Food Safety Posts (NALC’s Ag & Food Law Blog)
Food Safety Resource Center (Organic Consumers Association)
Food Safety Risk Analysis Clearinghouse (Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U. MD)
Institute of Food Technologists
Raw Milk Facts State by State