Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia Food Laws

Question: I'm a food vendor - what do I need to do to be compliant with Virginia law?

We list the current Virginia food laws below. The portions that we believe are relevant for those not required to have inspections are extracted and listed below. It is important to note that vendors must still comply with the Virginia labeling laws (they mirror the federal USDA laws).

§ 3.2-5121. Authority to adopt regulations; conformity with federal regulations; hearings; enforcement of article; review of regulations.

A. The Board is authorized to adopt regulations for the efficient enforcement of this article, unless that authority is specifically granted to the Commissioner. The Board may make the regulations adopted under this article conform, insofar as practicable with those adopted under the federal act. Notwithstanding any other requirement under the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) to the contrary, the Commissioner may adopt any regulation under the federal act without public hearing. Such regulation shall be effective upon filing with the Registrar of Regulations. The Board, at its next regular meeting, shall adopt the regulation after notice but without public hearing unless a petition is filed in accordance with subsection F.

B. The Board may adopt any edition of the Food and Drug Administration's Food Code, or supplement thereto, or any portion thereof, as regulations, with any amendments as it deems appropriate. In addition, the Board may repeal or amend any regulation adopted pursuant to this subsection. No regulations adopted or amended by the Board pursuant to this subsection shall establish requirements for any license, permit or inspection unless such license, permit or inspection is otherwise provided for in this title. The provisions of the Food and Drug Administration's Food Code shall not apply to farmers selling their own farm-produced products directly to consumers for their personal use, whether such sales occur on such farmer's farm or at a farmers' market, unless such provisions are adopted in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

§ 3.2-5130. Inspections required to operate food establishment.

A. It is unlawful to operate a food manufacturing plant, food storage warehouse, or retail food store until it has been inspected by the Commissioner. This section shall not apply to:

1. Food manufacturing plants operating under a grant of inspection from the Office of Meat and Poultry Services or a permit from the Office of Dairy and Foods in the Department; and Grade A fluid milk manufacturing plants and shellfish and crustacea processing plants operating under a permit from the Virginia Department of Health; - 16 -

2. Nonprofit organizations holding one-day food sales;

3. Private homes where the resident processes and prepares candies, jams, and jellies not considered to be low-acid or acidified low-acid food products and baked goods that do not require time or temperature control after preparation if such products are: (i) sold to an individual for his own consumption and not for resale; (ii) sold at the private home or at farmers markets; and (iii) labeled "NOT FOR RESALE - PROCESSED AND PREPARED WITHOUT STATE INSPECTION." Nothing in this subdivision shall create or diminish the authority of the Commissioner under § 3.2-5102;

Click HERE to download the Virginia Food Laws 2008

Click HERE to download the Virginia Dept of Health Application for Temporary Food Event Permit

Note: This page is published for the guidance only based on information we have received and Tappahannock Farmers' Market cannot be held responsible for any vendors compliance or violation. If you are aware that this is not the case or we have made an error in our guidance notes please advise us immediately.


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