Laws and Regulations: Food

Authored by: Ike Jeon

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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The food supply in the United States is considered the safest in the world, although chemical residues such as pesticide residues on food have been of great concern to the consumer. Food labels on consumer packages do not contain any statements relative to the pesticide residues or other matters such as insect fragments. This is because foods the consumer buys at supermarkets or grocery stores should be free from these contaminants. In a practical sense, however, producing foods absolutely free from chemical residues or insect fragments is not possible with the practices of modern agricultural production. The U.S. basic food law (Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) allows the regulatory agencies to establish tolerance limits for various food products. A tolerance limit is defined as the maximum quantity of a substance allowable on food. There are two major categories for tolerance limits. One is for poisonous or deleterious substances (e.g., pesticide residues) in human food and animal feed, and the other is for natural or unavoidable defects (e.g., insect fragments) in foods that present no health hazards for humans. These tolerance limits are enforced by the federal government during food processing, packaging, and distribution.

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