Code of the District of Columbia

§ 48–102. Definitions — “Drug”; “food”.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Condemnation” means an administrative restriction or exclusion on the use of specific equipment, utensils, or linens.

(2) “Drug” shall include all medicines for external or internal use, antiseptics, disinfectants, and cosmetics.

(3) “Embargo” means an administrative restriction or exclusion on the distribution of food or food products.

(4) “Food” means a raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice, beverage, or ingredient used or intended for use or for sale, in whole or in part, for human consumption, or chewing gum.

(5) “Food establishment” means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption.

(A) The term “food establishment” includes:

(i) A restaurant; satellite or catered feeding location; catering operation, if the operation provides food directly to a consumer, or to a conveyance used to transport people; a market; a vending location; an institution; or a food bank;

(ii) An establishment that relinquishes possession of food to a consumer directly or indirectly through a delivery service, such as home delivery of grocery orders or restaurant takeout orders, or a delivery service that is provided by common carriers;

(iii) An establishment that includes an element of the operation of an establishment, such as a motorized vehicle or cart, or a central preparation facility that supplies vending locations or satellite feeding locations, unless the vending locations are licensed by the Mayor pursuant to Chapter 1A of Title 37 [§§ 37-131.01 through 37-131.10], or the feeding locations are licensed by the Mayor;

(iv) An establishment that includes an operation that is conducted in a mobile, stationary, temporary, or permanent facility or location where consumption is on or off the premises, regardless of whether there is a charge for the food;

(v) All private clubs, employer-sponsored cafeterias or restaurants, schools, churches, residential treatment facilities, and similar facilities, with the exception of those described in subparagraphs (B)(v) through (B)(viii) of this paragraph;

(vi) An eating and drinking establishment as set forth in § 7-2701; and

(vii) A food processing plant.

(B) The term “food establishment” shall not include:

(i) An establishment that offers only prepackaged foods that are not potentially hazardous;

(ii) A produce stand that only offers whole, uncut, fresh fruits and vegetables;

(iii) Repealed.

(iv) An ordinary kitchen in a private home that prepares food for sale or service at a function such as a religious or charitable organizations’ bake sale where the consumer is informed by a clearly visible placard at the sales or service location that the food is prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the Mayor.

(v) An area where food that is prepared as specified in sub-subparagraph (iv) of this subparagraph is sold or offered for human consumption;

(vi) A kitchen in a private home, including a child development facility; or a bed-and-breakfast operation that prepares and offers food to guests if the home is owner-occupied, the number of available guest bedrooms does not exceed 3, breakfast is the only meal offered, the number of guests served does not exceed 9, and the consumer is informed by statements contained in published advertisements, mailed brochures, and placards posted at the registration area that the food is prepared in a kitchen that is not regulated and inspected by the Mayor;

(vii) A private home that receives catered or home-delivered food; and

(viii) A private club or a church, which serves occasional meals at not more than 24 events during a 12-month period.


(Feb. 17, 1898, 30 Stat. 246, ch. 25, § 2; May 2, 2002, D.C. Law 14-116, § 2(a), 49 DCR 1945; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 14, 51 DCR 881; Oct. 22, 2009, D.C. Law 18-71, § 12(d), 56 DCR 6619.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-102.

1973 Ed., § 33-102.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-116 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “The term ‘drug,’ as used in this chapter, shall include all medicines for external or internal use, antiseptics, disinfectants, and cosmetics. The term ‘food,’ as used in this chapter, shall include confectionery, condiments, and all articles used for food or drink by man, and if there be more than one quality of any article of food or drug known by the same name the best quality thereof shall be furnished to the purchaser, unless he otherwise requests at the time of making such purchase, or unless he be notified at such time of the inferior quality of the article delivered.”

D.C. Law 15-105, in par. 5, made nonsubstantive changes in sub-subpars. (v) and (vi) of subpar. (A), added sub-subpar. (vii) to subpar. (A), and repealed sub-subpar. (iii) of subpar. (B). Prior to repeal, sub-subpar. (iii) of subpar. (B) of par. (5) had read as follows: “(iii) A food processing plant;”

D.C. Law 18-71, in subsec. (5)(A)(iii), substituted “unless the vending locations are licensed by the Mayor pursuant to Chapter 1A of Title 37” for “unless the vending locations are authorized by the Council pursuant to § 1-303.01”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Food Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-128, August 3, 2001, 48 DCR 7939).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Food Regulation Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-147, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 10183).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Food Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-124, July 29, 2003, 50 DCR 6639).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Food Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-212, November 7, 2003, 50 DCR 10007).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Food Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-324, January 28, 2004, 51 DCR 1588).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 10(d) of Vending Regulation Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-322, March 19, 2008, 55 DCR 3445).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 10(d) of Vending Regulation Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-9, January 29, 2009, 56 DCR 1638).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 10(d) of Vending Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-47, April 27, 2009, 56 DCR 3574).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Food Regulation Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-55, December 6, 2001, law notification 49 DCR 356).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Food Regulation Temporary Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 15-46, December 9, 2003, law notification 51 DCR 1781).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 11(d) of Extension of Time to Dispose of the Old Congress Heights School Temporary Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Law 17-172, June 5, 2008, law notification 55 DCR 7258).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 10(d) of Vending Regulation Temporary Act of 2009 (D.C. Law 18-4, April 30, 2009, law notification 56 DCR 4255).