Food Safety

Test new approaches


City officials should consider whether zoning, permitting, and other requirements forbid incremental regulation or other valuable market shifts, with little gain for residents.

Revisit zoning codes for ways to create flexibility for the food-sharing economy

Zoning codes typically make good sense when enacted but may become overly rigid or obsolete as years pass. Cities should reflect on the intentions behind the existing code and determine whether the code reflects current values, and, if so, if there is a less rigid way to achieve the same goals.

Use pilots to test or validate new regulations

Novel business models create challenges for city regulatory regimes rooted in precedent and standard operating procedure. Pilots with strong data sharing requirements can introduce greater regulatory flexibility while helping city staff flag important compliance issues. By publicizing the results of these pilots, good or bad, cities can build support for specific regulations, increase regulatory transparency, and provide important lessons for peer cities in similar situations.  

Account for different levels of risk

A taxonomy of risk and regulation can make it easier to determine the level of regulation that a venture deserves. Understanding the full spectrum of regulatory activity and the enterprises implicated at each tier can help city staff compare new ventures against established entities, identify regulatory gaps, and find opportunities for hybrid approaches when firms fall outside the existing regulatory parameters.

Create a permit for emerging businesses

Innovative businesses in new or newly transformed industries may not easily fit into the categories defined by city regulations. An emerging business permit, like a pilot, would make space for these enterprises to grow and prove themselves. These permits could include customized outcome targets based on potential liability, greater flexibility in the application of existing regulations, and pilot periods with data collection to identify where regulation might be needed.