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Regulatory Information

To promote seafood safety and quality, MAREX provides information about state and federal regulations to seafood businesses.

Companies that process seafood and/or sell it wholesale in Georgia are regulated and inspected by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

State and federal regulations, as well as guidelines and other information pertaining to Georgia seafood businesses, are listed below.


General Food Regulations and Resources

Georgia Food Act (26-2-20): The Georgia Food Act defines food as “articles used for food or drink for human consumption, chewing gum and articles used for components of any such article."  This document outlines Georgia law regarding contamination, adulteration and misbranding of food items as defined.

General Food Rules (40-7-1): This document defines regulations for all buildings, rooms, areas or places of business in Georgia that are defined as Food Sales Establishments, where food is commercially processed, stored, sold or held for sale.

Basic Regulatory Requirements for Food Firms: This document is a guideline which describes, in simple terms, a number of basic requirements which must be met before food firms can be licensed to operate in Georgia.

Additional Georgia Regulations for Processing Plants (40-7-18): This document defines regulations that apply to all plants where food is processed in Georgia.

Guidance Document for Georgia Regulations 40-7-18: This document is intended to be a guideline and used in conjunction with the regulations found in Additional Regulations Applicable to Processing Plants. It provides assistance to those parties responsible for complying with the regulations prescribed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Guidance for Written Food Safety Plan Referenced in 40-7-18: This document is intended to be used as a guideline on how to submit a Written Food Safety Plan to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Sanitary Construction and Practices: This article defines sanitary practices and construction regulations for all aspects of rooms where food products and equipment used in their production are handled, processed, packaged, or stored.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Internet Course ($50): This Internet course is designed to review requirements of Part 110 – Current Good Manufacturing Practices in the Manufacturing, Packing or Holding of Human Food - in Title 21 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. This regulation applies to all food products regulated by FDA. It outlines basic sanitary controls that are required for all food processing plants, wholesale or distribution firms and warehouses or food storage facilities that handle, store or process FDA regulated food.

FDA Food Facility Registration: This booklet was created to inform domestic and foreign food facilities about the new food facility registration law and regulations. 

FDA Reportable Food Registry: The Reportable Food Registry was established to provide a reliable mechanism to track patterns of adulteration in food in order to support efforts by the FDA to target limited inspection resources to protect the public health.

Guidelines for Food Processing Safety: This document defines categories of processed foods as regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the proper methods of processing safety in the production and maintainence of these food items.

New Business Start-Up Check List:  This document was created by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development to provide a checklist of some of the most common regulations and requirements facing small businesses in Georgia.

Food Recall Manual:  The Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept. of the University of Florida assembled this manual to assist food businesses, at all parts of the food chain, in learning to conduct rapid and effective product recalls.

Food Transport Guide:  This USDA publication provides food safety and security guidelines for transportation and distribution of meat, poultry and egg products to assist small facilities and shippers handling these products.  However, the guidelines are also instructive to seafood dealers in preventing contamination of seafood products during loading and unloading, transportation and in-transit storage.

Georgia Deptartment of Agriculture Food Safety Division Brochure: This brochure contains contact and location information for the Food Safety Division Field Forces of the Georgai Department of Agriculture.

Georgia Deptartment of Agriculture Food Safety Division District Offices: District offices consist of a Supervisor and Secretary, whose primary functions are to support field staff in their day-to-day activities. Field inspectors, or Compliance Specialists, conduct unannounced inspections of  establishments that the Food Safety Division has licensed. They obtain samples for lab analysis, investigate consumer complaints, and supervise destruction of unwholesome food following truck wrecks, natural disasters, and fires.

General Seafood Regulations and Resources

Wholesale Seafood Law (26-2-310): This document contains all of the pertinent information regarding Georgia state law dealing with standards, labeling and adulteration of fish and other seafoods.

Sanitation Control Procedures for Processing Fish & Fishery Products Manual: Developed by the Seafood HACCP Alliance as curriculum for their Sanitation Control Procedures course, this manual this describes eight key sanitation areas that seafood processors are required to monitor and control in compliance with FDA's seafood HACCP regulation. 

Spanish version of Sanitation Control Procedures Manual: Este es los procedimientos de control sanitario para el procesamiento de Pescados y productos de pesqueros. Es un curso sobre alianza de HACCP de pescados y mariscos.

Free Internet Course on Sanitation Control Procedures for Seafood: These Seafood HACCP Alliance presentations were originally videotaped as a joint project by the University of Delaware Sea Grant and Delaware State University. Through the cooperation of the University of California Sea Grant Extension Program and Natural Resources Communication Services, the videotapes were transformed into streaming videos (scroll to bottom of webpage to access).

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Regulation: This regulation became effective Dec.18, 1997 and represents the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current thinking on procedures for safe and sanitary processing and importing of fish and fishery products.

FDA Fish & Fishery Products Hazards & Control Guidance, 4th edition: This guidance represents the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's current thinking on the hazards associated with fish and fishery products and appropriate controls for those hazards.

Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List: This list is published monthly for information and use by food control officials, seafood industry and other interested persons. The shippers listed have been certified by regulatory authorities in the United States, Canada, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand under the uniform sanitation requirements of the national shellfish program.

Georgia Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers:  This link provides a shortcut to the list of Georgia businesses included on the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL).

The Seafood List: FDA's Guide to Acceptable Market Names for Seafood: This document provides guidance about what FDA considers to be acceptable market names for seafood sold in interstate commerce.  It provides information to assist manufacturers in properly labeling seafood and to reflect acceptable market names of new species introduced into the U.S. marketplace

Georgia Dept. of Agriculture Seafood Safety Office: Processing and distribution of seafood products in Georgia ais overseen by the Seafood Safety Office. Compliance specialists inspect and certify shellfish plants under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, as well as conduct seafood HACCP and contractual inspections through partnership agreements and cooperative programs with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Molluscan Shellfish Growers/Dealers

National Shellfish Certification Guidelines for Georgia Businesses: This document describes GA Dept. of Agriculture requirements for participation in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) by businesses within Georgia that handle, store, shuck, pack, ship, and/or sell molluscan shellfish (live or shucked oysters, clams, or mussels (fresh or frozen), and roe-on scallops).

Handling, Storage, Shucking, Packing, Shipping, and/or Sale of Shellfish in Georgia (40-7-12)

National Shellfish Sanitation Program (regulates molluscan shellfish industry): The National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) is the federal/state cooperative program recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) for the sanitary control of molluscan shellfish produced and sold for human consumption. The purpose of the NSSP is to promote and improve the sanitation and safety of molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels and roe-on scallops) moving in interstate commerce through federal/state cooperation and uniformity of state shellfish programs.

National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish, 2015 revision: Section II of this document is known as the Model Ordinance and supersedes the 2013 revision. It represents the U.S. FDA's current thinking on the safe and sanitary control of the growing, processing, and shipping of molluscan shellfish for human consumption.

NSSP Model Ordinance Interim Changes for Time and Temperature Controls (effective May 19, 2012): This link provides documents that highlight interim changes to the Model Ordinance and gives guidance to help harvesters and dealers comply with them.  The goal of these changes is to prevent unnecessary growth of bacterial pathogens resulting from improper or ineffective cooling or from time to temperature abuse.

Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List: This list is published monthly for information and use by food control officials, the seafood industry, and other interested persons. The molluscan shellfish shippers listed have been certified by regulatory authorities in the United States, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, and Mexico under the uniform sanitation requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). 

Georgia Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers:  This link provides a shortcut to the most current list of Georgia businesses included on the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL).

Regulatory Agencies and Contacts