Today we’re talking about some new duties that will be take over by the SC Department of Agriculture.
I’ve been telling people we’re “The Food Agency,” and this is part of it.
Starting July 1, 2024, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture will take on some important regulatory duties that are currently handled by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC.
- We are taking over the Milk Inspection Program and Laboratory. This is important for dairy farmers to know.
- We will handle all retail food safety inspection, including restaurant kitchens, school cafeterias, caterers, grocery stores, some convenience stores and more.
- We are also taking over DHEC’s Manufactured Food Programs, including soft drinks, cheese and dairy, bottled water, and ice.
The food safety regulations are not changing.
The General Assembly entrusted SCDA with these new responsibilities as part of S.399, a bill that restructures DHEC and divides its oversight among new and existing agencies.
We think it’s important to get the word out now to businesses and the public.
We already regulate wholesale food manufacturing, animal feed safety, specialty food producers, and produce farming.
We think this change will streamline services for business that are currently regulated by both SCDA and DHEC.
It’s good news for farmers, too: We’ll have even more involvement in every step of the food system, from when it’s grown to where it’s eaten.
SCDA and DHEC are working together to assure a smooth transition.
DHEC food safety staff will join SCDA’s existing Consumer Protection Division.
SCDA will post regular updates on the transfer at agriculture.sc.gov/dhectransfer.