Welcome back! I’m providing a quick look into the government requirements of a food product sold legally in retail. This is particularly important because the rise of meal-prep services has been swift and “meal prep guys” are everywhere. There is a world of trusting, loyal, and well-meaning friends out there - both retailers and consumers buying or selling products and never giving it a second thought. Seriously, food handling, food storage, shelf life, regulatory oversight, health codes, and labeling requirements - they all matter. Because our continued good health matters. Proof is making it easy, convenient, delicious, and safe to live the Proof Smart lifestyle. It’s the reason we exist.
Wholesale clients and retail customers are different so I will address each group separately.
Whether you’re buying meals from us directly or get them from a retailer, this section is important. If you’ve been in a nutrition shop and they have a refrigerator for selling fresh food, they’re likely breaking the law. You should exercise caution in your dealings with them moving forward. And stay away from that food! The reality is that by offering food products from “meal prep guys”, these merchants are selling unregulated product, with unconfirmed ingredients, the source of which is impossible to establish. In order for food to be sold legally from a retail location, certain requirements have to be met. I won’t get into the parts of the Health Code that deal with the structures the food products are being sold from and the things that must be present in those structures before food products can be sold legally, like a grease trap and mop sink because those vary slightly from one city or county to the next. I will stick to the portions of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that deal with labeling, and handling/storage requirements because those are the elements in the chain of custody between making and eating during which the most can go wrong. You want to know when that meal was actually prepped, by whom and that Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in terms of hygiene and food handling were followed. You want assurance that what is purported to be in the meal, is actually in it!
According to Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations all retail food product is required to have a PDP (principal display panel) that contains specific information. This information includes: statement of identity, or name of the food, and the net quantity statement, or amount of product. Basically, what is in the food product and how much of it is in there. Specifically, 21 CFR 101.3 explicitly calls for packaged food, to have two panels. The code goes into great detail regarding the specifics of the regulations.
The reasons for consumers to be wary of “meal prep guy” type products are similar to the reasons a retailer should be cautious. The difference is that as a wholesale buyer operating a retail location, retailers don’t just have ethical and moral responsibility. Retailers are responsible for adhering to Federal Law and local ordinances. Let’s argue that no one gets sick. Things with the meals are uneventful. You may have a health department inspection. When the health inspector shows up, they can take your inventory and equipment used with that food product being sold. There are other scenarios more severe and also much more likely. The portion of the code devoted to enforcement is section 114395 and it establishes the schedule of fines and jail time that a person is subject to for violating these ordinances.
But guess what food product IS legal to sell and safe to buy? Proof Smart Foods frozen meals! USDA certified, packaged in a certified facility under GMP, nitrogen-sealed, and safe to store frozen for a year. Buying unregulated food product might make you sick, selling could cost you money and time – including possible jail time. Proof Smart Foods frozen meals are all upside.
Thanks so much and have a fantastic week!
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