What is food law?

Food law encompasses a wide range of food legislation and accompanying regulations that govern the way we cook, process, serve, distribute, and eat food. Food laws affect every single one of us. They impact individuals and organizations, from the family who owns the convenience store down the street to the giant grocery conglomerate, and from the woman running the community kitchen to international food service companies. These laws govern supper clubs, farmer’s markets, restaurants, grocery stores, and food festivals.

There are laws in place that govern food originating from every level of government: federal, provincial, and municipal. Laws aim to control the quality and safety of the food we eat, the training and expertise required of the people that provide food to the public, and the type of entity through which food can be served from (i.e. a restaurant, a food truck, a food cart, etc.), just to name a few.

I also use the term ‘Food Law’ to take into account the legal hurdles that food entrepreneurs, food producers, and those starting new food initiatives have to overcome in order to become viable legal entities. This entails mainly the permitting and licensing processes through which food producers and operators have to navigate.

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