Food-Manufacturing Laws

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Food manufacturers must comply with various laws and regulations from a wide range of government agencies. Offices such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture all have strict rules regarding how food can be grown, picked, processed and distributed to consumers. These agencies put these regulations in place to ensure the quality of the nation's food supply and to protect both manufacturers and consumers from dangerous practices.

Pest Control

Insects, bacteria and weeds can ruin food crops. Factory farms and manufacturers use pesticides to kill off these pests. However, some pesticides have been shown to be too dangerous for human consumption. The EPA has established regulations on the types and quantities of pesticides that food manufacturers can use. The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 encourages food manufacturers to use pesticides that have minimal impact on the surrounding soil and groundwater, carry a low risk of food contamination and require lower quantities for full effectiveness.

Chemical Additives

Food manufacturers often insert chemical additives in their products to maintain freshness, enhance flavors and improve appearance. Some food additives have been found to induce allergic reactions, illness or death. For instance, the FDA notes that the common food-coloring additive known as FD&C Yellow No. 5 may cause itching and hives in some consumers. The FDA monitors the use of these chemical additives to ensure that they are fit for human consumption and either limits or bans the use of those shown to be unsafe.

Imported Food Products

Thousands of tons of imported food products reach U.S. shores every day. Many of these countries do not have the strict food-quality-control laws that the United States has. Therefore, U.S. regulatory agencies must monitor the quality of imported food products. The Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011 aims to ensure that imported food products meet U.S. safety and quality standards before they enter the country and to establish relationships with food-safety regulatory agencies in the exporting countries.

Meat and Poultry

The Food Safety and Inspection Service acts as the public health agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The FSIS oversees the safety of the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products. The agency also certifies and educates inspectors on what substances to look for in meat products and what quantities of each substance create an unacceptable risk to human health. These substances can include binding agents, anticoagulants, antimicrobial chemicals and additives to improve flavor and color.


About the Author

Living in Houston, Gerald Hanks has been a writer since 2008. He has contributed to several special-interest national publications. Before starting his writing career, Gerald was a web programmer and database developer for 12 years.

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