Food Law


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State License and Inspection

Retail and food service businesses are primarily regulated by state and local government. This page introduces some state and local regulations and standards.


Retail and food service businesses are primarily regulated by state and local governments,  One requirement is that the business be licensed and complying with relevant state standards.


Licenses to operate a food processing facility/establishment

This discussion is similar to the state license discussion under processing sector, only this time the emphasis is on state oversight of the retail sector (rather than state oversight of the processing sector).

In addition to the federal registration requirement, many states require food businesses to be licensed. For example in North Dakota, food processing plants and other food establishments are required to be licensed by the state Department of Health; see N.D.C.C. §23-09-01(6) (a state statute).

Example: N.D.C.C. §23-09-16. License - Application. Before any food establishment ... may be operated in this state, it must be licensed by the [state department of health]

The statutory definitions illustrate the breadth of this requirement.

N.D.C.C. §23-09-01. Definitions.

5. "Food establishment" means any fixed restaurant, limited restaurant, coffee shop, cafeteria, short-order cafe, luncheonette, grill, tearoom, sandwich shop, soda fountain, tavern, bar, catering kitchen, delicatessen, bakery, grocery store, meat market, food processing plant, or similar place in which food or drink is prepared for sale or service to the public on the premises or elsewhere with or without charge.
6. "Food processing plant" means a commercial operation that manufactures, packages, labels, or stores food for human consumption and does not provide food directly to a consumer.

Does North Dakota’s definition of food processing plant bear similarities to the breadth of FDA’s authorities discussed previously?

  • The state requires the food processing plant to be licensed; e.g., N.D.C.C. §23-09-26.
  • The license subjects the business to state requirements;
    • e.g., N.D.C.C. §23-09-09. Sanitation and safety. Every food establishment ... must be operated with strict regard for the health, safety, and comfort of its patrons. The following sanitary and safety regulations must be followed: ...
  • The business also is subject to inspection by a state agency; e.g., N.D.C.C. §23-09-11.
  • The business is subject to state enforcement; e.g., N.D.C.C. §§23-09-18, -19, -21, and –22.




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