Volumes of books and acres of movie footage have addressed the regulation of restaurants.The rules are local, state, and federal. In short, restaurants have a lot of rules to follow in serving food.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, manages much of the activity over which the federal government has jurisdiction.
More of the hands-on over-sight moves to the state level. To give just a hint of how complicated food service regulations are, check out this FDA-published chart that outlines State Retail and Food Service Codes and Regulations by State.
Local Health Departments get involved, too.
These local inspectors are often feared and dreaded (as they usually show up unannounced at the worst possible time), but most of the regulations have important ramifications for keeping food clean and safe.
A quick look at Restaurant Regulations from Aspen, Colorado, offer an impression of how complicated local processes can be.
In general, restaurant health codes fall into one of five general categories:
• employee hygiene
• restaurant inspections
• facilities and surfaces cleaning
• food handling, storage, and preparation
• equipment and supplies
In many restaurants chefs — those guys and gals you see cooking up a storm on TV — are responsible for overseeing this complicated process.