Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 51. Food and Drink

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 3.2-5100. Duties of Commissioner.

A. The Commissioner shall inquire into the dairy and food and drink products, and the articles that are food or drinks, or the necessary constituents of the food or drinks, that are manufactured, sold, exposed, or offered for sale in the Commonwealth.

B. The Commissioner may procure samples of the dairy and food products covered by this chapter and may have the samples analyzed.

C. The Commissioner shall issue a permit to any food manufacturer, food storage warehouse, or retail food establishment that, after inspection, is determined to be in compliance with all applicable provisions of this chapter and any regulations adopted thereunder. The Commissioner shall notify any applicant denied a permit of the reason for such denial. Any food manufacturer, food storage warehouse, or retail food establishment issued a permit pursuant to this subsection shall be exempt from any other license, permit, or inspection required for the sale, preparation, or handling of food unless such food manufacturer, food storage warehouse, or retail food establishment is operating as (i) a restaurant as defined in Title 35.1, as jointly determined by the State Health Commissioner and the Commissioner; (ii) a plant that processes and distributes Grade A milk as referenced in this title, as determined by the State Health Commissioner; or (iii) a shellfish establishment as defined in Title 28.2, as determined by the State Health Commissioner.

D. The Commissioner shall make a complaint against the manufacturer or vendor of any food or drink or dairy products that are adulterated, impure, or unwholesome, in contravention of the laws of the Commonwealth, and furnish all evidence to obtain a conviction of the offense charged. The Commissioner may make complaint and cause proceedings to be commenced against any person for enforcement of the laws relative to adulteration, impure, or unwholesome food or drink, and in such cases he shall not be obliged to furnish security for costs.

E. The Commissioner may develop criteria to determine if food manufacturers that are operating in a building deemed, in consultation with the Director of the Department of Historic Resources, to be historic are producing food products that are low risk of being adulterated. If, pursuant to such criteria, any such manufacturer is producing food products that are deemed to be low risk, the Commissioner may exempt the food manufacturer from specified provisions of this chapter, or regulations adopted thereunder, that pertain to the structure of the building, provided that the Commissioner determines that such exemption is unlikely to result in the preparation for sale, manufacture, packing, storage, sale, or distribution of any food that is adulterated, as defined in § 3.2-5122.

Code 1950, §§ 3-323 to 3-325; 1966, c. 702, §§ 3.1-402 to 3.1-404; 1972, c. 741; 2008, c. 860; 2022, cc. 204, 291.

§ 3.2-5101. Board authorized to adopt regulations; exception.

A. Whenever in the judgment of the Commissioner action will promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers, the Board shall adopt regulations fixing and establishing for any food or class of food: labeling requirements; a reasonable definition and standard of identity; and a reasonable standard of quality and fill of container, or tolerances or limits of variability. In prescribing a definition and standard of identity for any food or class of food in which optional ingredients are permitted, the Board shall, for the purpose of promoting honesty and fair dealing in the interest of the consumers, designate the optional ingredients that shall be named on the label. The definitions and standards so adopted may conform so far as practicable to the definitions and standards promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under authority conferred by § 401 of the federal act.

B. The Board may adopt regulations for the efficient administration of subsection C of § 3.2-5100 in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

C. Any regulations adopted pertaining to this section shall not apply to nonprofit organizations holding one-day food sales. The Commissioner may disseminate to nonprofit organizations educational materials related to the safe preparation of food for human consumption.

Code 1950, § 3-314; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-394; 1996, c. 728; 2002, c. 218; 2008, c. 860; 2022, c. 204.

§ 3.2-5102. Commissioner to have access to factories, warehouses, and other places; examination of samples.

The Commissioner shall have free access at all reasonable hours to any factory, warehouse, or establishment in which foods are manufactured, processed, packed, or held for introduction into commerce, or to enter any vehicle being used to transport or hold such foods in commerce, or any store, restaurant, or other place in which food is being offered for sale for the purpose of:

1. Inspecting such factory, warehouse, establishment, or vehicle to determine if any of the provisions of this chapter are being violated; and

2. Securing samples or specimens of any food after paying or offering to pay for such sample. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner to make or cause to be made examinations of samples secured under the provisions of this section to determine whether or not any provision of this chapter is being violated.

This section shall not apply to nonprofit organizations holding one-day food sales.

Code 1950, § 3-319; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-399; 2003, c. 420; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-5103. Standards of variability permissible to any article of food.

The Commissioner with the approval of the Board shall establish and publish standards or limits of variability permissible in any article of food, and these standards shall be the standards before all courts. When standards have been or may be established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, they shall be accepted by the Department and published as standards for the Commonwealth, but such standards shall not go into effect until a reasonable time after publication. The Commissioner, with the approval of the Board, shall have authority to adopt uniform regulations for carrying out the provisions of this section.

Code 1950, § 3-283; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-364; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-5104. Chemical work incident to execution of laws.

The chemical work incident to the execution of the provisions of this chapter shall be provided by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.

Code 1950, § 3-282; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-363; 1972, c. 741; 2008, c. 860.