University of Maryland Extension

Food safety

Nicole Cook, B.S., J.D., LL.M., Environmental and Agricultural, Faculty Legal Specialist, Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI), University of Maryland Eastern Shore

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Food safety is an area of significant legal risk for farmers, and a culture of food safety must be a priority on your farm. Although federal regulation is a large component of the food safety picture, particularly for food products that travel across state lines, state governments have a great deal of authority to design flexible legal regimes with more appropriate regulations for small-scale operators that sell at local markets or within state borders. Federal and state governments share regulatory authority with respect to many aspects of food safety. Some food safety issues are primarily regulated by the federal government (such as meat and poultry inspection), while others are primarily within the state’s jurisdiction (such as farmers market and restaurant regulations).

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