Food Manufacturers, Wholesalers, and Retailers
The Food & Drug Protection Division is responsible for the inspection of food manufacturing facilities, wholesale food operations, and retail food outlets including seafood markets. The facilities are inspected utilizing the North Carolina Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and adopted regulations. Operators of facilities found to be in violation of the Act are subject to civil and/or criminal penalties. Additionally, products found be adulterated or suspected of being adulterated may be placed under State embargo. If during the course of an inspection it is determined through samples or visual observations that adulterated products have been distributed, a public health advisement may be issued by the Department to warn the public of the risk associated with consumption/use of these products.
Wholesale and Retail Frozen Desserts
The Food & Drug Protection Division is responsible for the regulatory oversight of wholesale and retail frozen dessert manufacturers operating within the State.
Registration and Licensing
Wholesale and retail frozen dessert manufacturers, cheese and butter manufacturers, and milk haulers and testers are required to be licensed. The license period and specific fees vary.
The Food Branch of the Food and Drug Protection Division protects the health, welfare and economic interests of the state's consumers of foods. This is accomplished through a program of inspection which ensures such products are wholesome and properly labeled.
Food Regulatory Specialists conduct routine unannounced inspections of food manufacturers, warehouses and distributors to ensure that human foods are safe, wholesome, produced under sanitary conditions, properly labeled, stored, distributed and held under sanitary conditions. Specialists ensure that the Division laws and regulations are adhered to and that products are safe for consumption and use. Assistance is also given to the citizens of this state in establishing new businesses and expanding those presently operating to ensure conformity with governing laws and regulations. Samples are routinely collected for laboratory analysis during inspections and investigations conducted when the Department receives a consumer complaint.
Food Label Review
Food product labels are reviewed for conformance to current labeling regulations. All food products in package form must conform to required label information that includes product name, net weight, ingredient listing, manufacturer/distributor name and address, and nutrition information. Some food product labels may also be required to bear product coding and other statements related to product storage. Food product labels that do not conform to all required labeling regulations may be deemed misbranded.
The Food & Drug Protection Division routinely collects samples for analysis of products produced at facilities under the Department's inspectional purview. Additionally, samples are collected during consumer complaint investigations. Samples are analyzed to the determine the presence of certain microorganisms, various chemicals including pesticide residues, heavy metals, foreign material, and other quality defects. Sample results may be used, when necessary, to initiate embargoes of products, recalls, and associated public health advisories.