Maze of Food Regulations--Need for a Regulation Indexing System

CED-80-44: Published: Feb 4, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 1980.

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Complex regulations covering all aspects of the food industry sometimes lead to confusion. Fourteen federal agencies and commissions have issued 1,300 regulations for the transport of food, covering 9,752 sections of the Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations require some 30,000 separate actions to comply with the written law. The difficulty of dealing with this large body of regulatory law is compounded by the lack of an adequate index to determine which regulations apply in a particular situation. GAO efforts relating to the scope of federal food transportation-related regulation, the agencies responsible, and the parties affected were summarized.

The full potential for improvement in the food regulatory system is not being realized because of the Code of Federal Regulations is not organized in a readily accessible manner. Although GAO compiled a computerized database of the subject regulations, an aggregate regulations index does not exist which would facilitate identification, coordination, and review of regulations from the standpoint of the parties affected and the total impact of the many different regulation.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: To improve access to the Code of Federal Regulations and facilitate identification, coordination, and review of regulations, the Chairman of the Regulatory Council and the Director of the Federal Register should develop a computer-based system for accessing the Code of Federal Regulations that would be readily available to Congress, executive agencies, and the private sector. The system should contain the capabilities to provide for high probability of retrieval in searches and to access regulations based on a variety of factors including subject, parties controlled, and regulatory objective.

    Agency Affected:


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