Get Ready for the Food Safety Transfer

Changes Coming July 1, 2024

The South Carolina General Assembly passed a law in May 2023 that splits up the Department of Health and Environmental Control. As part of that change, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture is taking over DHEC’s food safety programs effective July 1, 2024.

This transfer is a natural fit. SCDA has regulated wholesale food manufacturing for nearly 50 years. We also regulate animal feed safety and produce farming and perform a variety of specialized laboratory functions. We have a great reputation for protecting the public and working with businesses to educate before and while we regulate.

SCDA and DHEC are working together to assure a smooth transition. Until July 1, 2024, DHEC will continue operating its food safety programs.

Starting July 1, SCDA will be the food safety agency.


What’s Changing?

  • The South Carolina Department of Agriculture will take over regulation of:
    • Retail food safety (restaurant kitchens, grocery stores, caterers, school cafeterias, some convenience stores, and more)
    • Dairy and Milk
    • Wholesale bottled water, soft drinks, and ice manufacturing
  • A new look for decals, manuals, forms, and other materials
  • Online applications and fee payment
  • No more regional offices: Food safety will be headquartered in Lexington County, with regionally based inspectors working from their vehicles, creating efficiency for customers
  • One agency for Food Safety: After the transfer, SCDA will regulate food safety in South Carolina with the exception of meat and poultry


What Will Stay the Same?

  • Regulations: The laws governing food safety are not changing
  • Staff: DHEC food safety staff will become part of SCDA
  • Other food safety programs: SCDA will continue to regulate wholesale food safety, feed safety, produce safety and other programs as before
  • Cottage Foods: The South Carolina Home-based Food Production Law remains in effect


Press Releases




We will continue to update this page throughout the transition.