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Most questions regarding food production, handling, sales and serving, including cottage food laws and regulations are handled by the state's local health department or department of agriculture, and sometimes by a city or county business registration office.
The following counties have websites, and some have Facebook pages, that provide information regarding their department and its services.
Washington State requires that all food workers have food safety training before handling food served to the public. Food workers who take a food
safety training class and pass the State of Washington exam on food safety basics are issued a Food Worker Card (also called a Food Handler Permit).
Am I a food worker? You are a food worker if you work with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or with any surface where people put unwrapped food.
Do I need to get a food worker card? Yes. All food workers are required (Chapter 246-217 WAC) to have a valid food worker card to work in Washington. It's important that your card, or a copy of it, is with you at work and available for the health department to check during a food inspection.
Can I start work before I get my card? Yes, you can work for up to 14 days before you get your card – if you get food safety training from your employer.
Where can I get a food worker card? Local health departments offer the food worker training, test, and card. Your card is valid throughout the state.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websiteFDA Labeling and Nutrition
Nutrition Facts Label, Label Claims, Menu and Vending Machine Labeling, Gluten-Free LabelingFDA Ingredients and Packaging
Food & Color Additives, GRAS, Food Allergens, Food Contact Substances, New Plant Varieties
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a tool, the AskUSDA site providing information from across USDA all in one place. Just type key words or phrases into the search box. Your search will provide the top 10 results from across USDA. For the best search results, keep in mind that including "and" in the search box will exclude articles that don't include all searched words. Including "or" in the search box will include articles with any of the searched words.
If you have specific USDA questions that you cannot find answers to on the site, call (202) 720-2791 or email USDA at [email protected].
If you are looking for the national US Department of Health, that's the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and here is the mailing address and phone number:
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free Call Center: 1-877-696-6775
Note: Please be aware that mail sent to their Washington D.C. area offices takes an additional 3-4 days to process due to security precautions.