Topic:
FOOD LAW; SAFETY (GENERAL); HEALTH (GENERAL); RETAIL TRADE;
Location:
FOOD PRODUCTS;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


August 22, 2001

 

2001-R-0673

FOOD SAFETY LAWS

 

By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney

Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst

You asked for a brief description of state and federal laws on food safety.

SUMMARY

In Connecticut, intrastate commerce in food is regulated under the state's Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with the definition of “food” patterned after the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The Department of Consumer Protection has primary responsibility for administering this law. State law on misbranding food prohibits deceptive labeling and packaging. Adulteration provisions are designed to ensure that food is not made unfit because of exposure to filthy or unsanitary conditions or placement in a poisonous container. Connecticut has adopted all federal definitions and standards on food identity and quality.

A variety of state laws address specific foods such as shellfish, eggs, dairy products, poultry, potatoes, farm products, honey, frozen desserts, and butter. Slaughterhouses are also regulated for their methods as well as sanitary practices.

Food service establishments and operators must meet certain state standards and requirements. Also, vending machine sale of food and beverage is subject to state regulation.

STATE LAW

Table 1 following summarizes the various state laws and regulations addressing food safety and identifies the responsible state agencies.

TABLE 1- STATE LAWS ON FOOD SAFETY

Product/Activity

State Involvement

State Agency

Legal Authority

Uniform Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

Connecticut has adopted this act, which defines a variety of terms such as food, food additive, color additive, contaminated with filth, label and labeling, natural food, and raw agricultural commodity. Act regulates intrastate commerce in food, drugs, and cosmetics.

Department of Consumer Protection (DCP); also Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station

C.G.S. 21a-91 to 21a-120

Various Prohibited Acts Under Uniform Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

● Sale in intrastate commerce of any food that is adulterated or misbranded

● Adulteration or misbranding of any food

● Receipt in commerce of any adulterated or misbranded food, and delivery for pay or otherwise

● Alteration, mutilation, destruction, obliteration, or removal of all or part of the labeling

DCP

C.G.S. 21a-93, 101, 102, 104

Various Foods (kosher food, oleomargarine, renovated butter, process butter, print butter, sale of equine meat, molasses, honey, vinegar, frozen desserts, quick-frozen food)

General statutory requirements addressing labeling, adulteration, preparation, definitions, brand names, coloring, etc.

DCP

C.G.S. 21a-13 to 21a-67

Vending Machine Sales

Prohibits sale of foods or beverages from vending machines which are adulterated or misbranded. Food or beverage must be clean and wholesome, free from spoilage, and prepared and stored to protect against contamination and adulteration.

DCP,

(see also Department of Public Health (DPH) below)

C.G.S. 21a-39

Aquaculture (Shellfish) Regulation

Grants permits for aquaculture operations

Department of Agriculture (DAG)

C.G.S. 22-11h Public Health Code, 19-13- B64 to 77

Farming

Sets sanitary regulations for agricultural workers

DAG

C.G.S. 22-17b

Eggs

Sets quality and size standards

DAG

Regs. 22-27-B1

C.G.S. 22-40 et seq.

Other Farm Products (Fruits, Vegetables, Honey, Maple Syrup)

Grades products; sets labeling, packaging requirements

DAG

Regs. 22-33-1

Potatoes

Labelling, grading requirements

DAG

C.G.S. 22-35

Livestock Health

Control of communicable diseases

DAG

C.G.S. 22-278 et seq.

Live Poultry

Regulation of movement, inspection, avian disease control

DAG

C.G.S. 22-37, 22-322

Slaughterhouses

Regulation of slaughtering methods

DAG, (see also DPH below)

C.G.S. 22-272a

Apples

Grading, labeling

DAG

C.G.S. 22-540 et seq.

Milk and Milk Products

Quality standards, inspection of milk plants and dairy farms

Milk Regulation Board

C.G.S. 22-127 et seq.

Food Service Establishments

● Regulation of food and drink preparation (approved sources of food, storage of food, spoilage, proper temperatures, etc.)

● Regulation of sanitary conditions of the establishment (water supply, toilet and handwashing facilities, surfaces, rodent control, equipment, garbage disposal etc.)

● Inspections

DPH and local health departments

C.G.S. 19a-36, 36a;

Public Health Code 19-13-B42

Food Operators

Food service establishments must employ qualified food operators; criteria established, testing requirements.

DPH and local health departments

C.G.S. 19a-36, 36a

Public Health Code 19-13-B42

Food and Beverage Vending Machines

Regulation of food and beverages sold in vending machines (labeling, storage, sanitation, dispensing etc.)

DPH

Public Health Code 19-13-B52

Slaughterhouses

Regulation of slaughterhouse sanitation; slaughterhouse construction requirements

DPH

Public Health Code 19-13-B78 and 79

Food Stores

Smoking prohibited

C.G.S. 19a-342

FEDERAL LAW

Principal federal regulatory responsibility for food safety rests with the (1) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); (2) the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); and (3) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other federal agencies and offices involved to a lesser degree are DHHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH); and USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

The FDA is charged with protecting consumers against impure, unsafe, and fraudulently labeled food other than in areas regulated by FSIS. FSIS has responsibility for ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled. EPA's mission includes protecting public health and the environment from risks posed by pesticides and promoting safer means of pest management. No food or food item can be marketed legally in the U.S. if it contains a food additive or drug residue not permitted by FDA or a pesticide residue without an EPA tolerance or if the residue exceeds an established tolerance. APHIS' primary role is to protect against plant and animal pests and diseases.

Major federal food safety statutes are the (1) Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; (2) Federal Meat Inspection Act; (3) Poultry Products Inspection Act; (4) Egg Products Inspection Act; (5) Food Quality Protection Act; and (6) Public Health Service Act.

U.S. food safety programs are risk-based to ensure that the public is protected from health risks of unsafe foods. Decisions within these programs are science-based and involve risk analysis.

JK/KEM/eh