Angie Culler-Matthews, Food/Feed Safety & Compliance Manager
123 Ballard Court
West Columbia, SC 29172
Food Safety & Compliance ensures that foods are manufactured and marketed under safe and sanitary conditions through routine surveillance inspections. Inspectors ensure that food is pure and wholesome, safe to eat, and properly labeled according to laws and regulations. The department also regulates foods manufactured for wholesale distribution and foods manufactured, packaged and transported to farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer markets.
Selling Food Products
Registration is required for persons or firms wishing to manufacture, prepare, repack or sell foods to the public. A Registration Verification Certificate (RVC) must be obtained from SCDA. To do so, you must register and use an approved facility. A domestic kitchen is NOT an acceptable facility. The registration process includes review of retail labels. Specialized training and product testing may be required for some products. Registration certificates are issued upon completion of a compliant inspection by SCDA.
For more information or to register, contact Angie Culler-Matthews at email@example.com or 803-734-7321.
Product Labeling must be in accordance with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). Product labels must be submitted to SCDA to review for compliance with both laws.
General Labeling Requirements
All product labels must have the following:
- A statement of identity (common name of the food)
- NET WT or NET CONTENTS statement in customary and metric measurement
Example: 16 OZ (453 g) or 28 FL OZ (828 mL)NET WT or NET CONTENTS statement must appear in the bottom 1/3rd of the principal display panel and be generally parallel to the bottom of the package. The font size of the net weight statement is based on the area of the Principal Display Panel (PDP). See the Labeling Guidance for more information.
- Business name and address
- The name and complete address (street address, city, state and zip code) of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor must be listed on the label. Post office boxes cannot be substituted for physical addresses.
- A street address is not required if the business name, as it appears on the label, is listed in a local phone directory.
- If the firm listed on the label does not manufacture the food, then a qualifying phrase is needed such as “Distributed By” or “Made For”.
- Complete ingredient list, including all major allergens (Wheat, Soy, Milk, Egg, Finfish, Shellfish, Peanuts and Tree Nuts)
- Ingredients are listed in decreasing order or predominance from most to least.
- All of the food ingredients must be listed by their common or usual name.
- If an ingredient you use contains two or more other ingredients, these must be listed as well.
Example: Worcester Sauce (Distilled White Vinegar, Molasses, Water, Sugar, Onions, Anchovies, Salt, Garlic, Cloves, Tamarind Extract, Natural Flavorings, Chili Pepper Extract)
- Spices except for salt, garlic, celery, and onions can generally be described as spices, but other spices may need to be identified.
- Major food allergens (Wheat, Soy, Milk, Egg, Finfish, Shellfish, Peanuts and Tree Nuts) must be declared in the ingredient list or in a Contains Statement immediately after the ingredient list.
- Example: Enriched flour(wheat flower, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, whey (milk), eggs, vanilla, natural and artificial flavoring, salt, leavening, (sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium), lecithin (soy), mono-and diglycerides. Or Enriched flour, (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, whey (milk), eggs, vanilla, natural and artificial flavoring, salt leavening, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), lecithin (soy), mono-and diglycerides. Contains: Wheat, Milk, Egg and Soy
Honey produced in South Carolina and sold to the public must be properly labeled in accordance with the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. Honey sold to or at roadside markets, convenience stores, health food stores, etc., must come from a registered approved source. Honey house requirements include cleanable walls and floors, approved water sources, shatterproof lighting, clean utensils and equipment, sinks, proper drainage, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) approved septic system. See the Food Establishment Quick Guide.
View the Honey Sales Quick Guide for more information on how to legally sell honey.
If you ONLY sell your honey directly to the end consumer (ie. Farmers Markets) and produce no more than 400 gallons (4,800 1bs.), you can apply for registration and inspection exemption.
Note: Honey sold to the public must be labeled properly, even if you apply for an exemption.
If you do not qualify for the SC Honey Exemption, you will need register with SCDA and use an approved honey house.
You may use a registered honey house that is currently being inspected by SCDA; however, you must submit a Shared Honey House Application along with your RVC application.
Honey houses can be on your premises. A converted garage, a “fixed up” shop, etc. can all be used as long as they meet SCDA requirements.
Eggs sold at a location other than a grower’s residence or farm must be washed, graded, sized, properly labeled and kept refrigerated at or below 45° F. Grading information can be found in the USDA’s Egg Grading Manual.
Only new or unused cartons can be used to package egg. Cartons cannot bear another producer’s or distributor’s information. The producer must obtain an egg license issued by SCDA. Unlabeled, ungraded or unsized eggs or eggs off refrigeration are considered adulterated and will be removed from public sale. Selling eggs in those categories or selling without an SCDA Egg License are considered misdemeanors and both carry fines.
Fish and Seafood
Fish and Seafood, whole and unprocessed, are under the jurisdiction of the SC Department of Natural Resources. If you want to buy and resell fish and seafood, whether whole and unprocessed or cleaned and processed, you will need a Commercial Fishing License or Wholesale License. If you do not have a Commercial Fishing License, then you must have a Wholesale License and buy from a licensed commercial fisherman or wholesaler. Regardless of the license you possess, you must do the following:
- Keep receipts and invoices on hand at all times (including at the point of sale).
- Keep fish and seafood refrigerated at 45° F or below, or properly iced at all times.
In order to clean, process, dress, gut or scale fish and seafood, register with SCDA, operate out of an approved facility and be subject to the state and federal food safety regulations including completing Seafood HACCP Training.
Salvage operations dealing in foods and cosmetics must be permitted by SCDA, according to the South Carolina Food and Cosmetic Act. Permits expire June 30 of each year.
Other Food Products that do not fall in the above categories:
- If your product is sold retail only, call DHEC Food Protection at 803-896-0640.
- If your product contains more than 3% raw or 2% cooked Beef, Pork, Chicken or Lamb, call Meat Inspection Service at 803-788-8747.
- If your product is a Shellfish product only, call DHEC Shellfish at 843-846-1030.
- If your product is a dairy, soft drink or water product, call DHEC Dairy at 803-896-0644.
- If your product is an alcoholic product, call ATF at 1-800-398-2282.
Helpful links for food safety, processing & packaging:
Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) program is housed under the Food/Feed Safety Compliance department of the Consumer Protection Division. The goal of MFRPS is to implement a nationally integrated, risk-based food safety system focused on protecting public health using a set of ten standards. SCDA’s MFRPS program handles consumer complaints regarding foods manufactured in South Carolina, assists in the coordination of in-state recall investigations, and helps ensure that SCDA Food Safety Inspectors follow best practices when performing routine surveillance inspections. You can learn more MFRPS here.