Regulation of food production has been an important aspect of the food industry since the Pure Food Act of 1906. Regulations ensure the safety and quality of the foods that we eat. By setting a safe standard for food production, consumers are able to trust producers, and producers benefit when “bad apples” aren’t allowed to spoil the reputation of other producers.

Regulations are different from laws. While a law can direct people and businesses with very fine detail, most laws leave the details open to interpretation of the governmental agency charged with enforcing the law. For example, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) states that standards for produce safety should include, “with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, packing, and storage operations, science-based minimum standards related to soil amendments, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animals in the growing area, and water.”
The FSMA regulations take that guidance from the law and establish detailed regulations after making a scientific assessment and receiving public and industry input. Using the example of agricultural water, it states that water testing is not required if water from a public water system. Further, water from a public water system should not be held as ground water or surface water, which would expose it to potential contamination.

Food production regulation is made at various levels of government with the most common being at the federal level and state level. Sometimes regulations depend on where a product is to be sold. For example, if a meat product is intended to be sold across state lines, the animal is required to be slaughtered and processed in a USDA inspected facility.


Laws, Rules, and Regulations – Indiana State Department of Health
This site has links to laws and regulations that apply to specific food products like beverages and acidified foods. The links go to the Code of Federal Regulations, Indiana Code, and Indiana Administrative Code.

Food Safety Regulations for Farmers’ Markets – Purdue Extension (EC-740)
This publication offers information to market masters and vendors on keeping consumers safe by examining food safety regulations.

Licensing, Regulatory, and Tax Requirements for Indiana Businesses: A Checklist Guide for New Businesses – Purdue Extension (EC-733)
This guide was developed to make the daunting task of identifying the requirements for new businesses easier. It serves as a comprehensive checklist that identifies the regulatory requirements that must be satisfied in order to operate a new business in Indiana. While the guide was developed with food and agricultural entrepreneurs in mind, the information provided can be applied to any business.