University of Maryland Extension

Standards and Licensing

The main purpose of food processing regulations and licensing is to ensure the safety of the food supply and oversee commerce.  Food processing standards and regulations vary widely based on the type of food being considered and the scale of the operation. Food processing, as regulators define it, can range from cutting a watermelon in half to pasteurizing milk.  A facility may be as simple as your home kitchen, or as complex as a slaughterhouse.  Storage ranges from an open-air basket of baby greens to a humidity-controlled walk-in freezer.  Labeling may be as simple as a handwritten address on a used egg carton, or as complex as the list of ingredients and nutrition information on a jar of spaghetti sauce.  Distributionmay be a self-service store in a farmer’s barn or trucking food across the country.  Food processors must know the standards and regulations in each of these categories, and remain in compliance in order to remain licensed.

Use the menu to the right to explore:  Processing, Facilities, Storage, Labeling, and Distribution.

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