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FDA’s ‘best advice’ for food safety reflected in new Food Code

The FDA has released an updated version of the federal Food Code with “significant changes” that include a section on the use of bandages among foodservice workers and revised cooking temperatures.

With the Monday release of the 2017 edition of the Food Code, officials from the Food and Drug Administration described the document as a model regulation that provides all levels of government and industry with practical, science-based guidance and manageable provisions for reducing the known risks of foodborne illness.

“It represents FDA’s best advice for a uniform system of provisions that address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in food service,” according to a constituent update from the FDA.

The Food Code provides guidance for restaurants, retail food stores, vending operations and food service operations including those in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and child care centers. Previously updated and published every two years, the document is now revised every four years.

“(It) provides uniform standards for retail food safety, eliminates redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria, and establishes a more standardized approach in controlling food safety hazards within a retail environment,” according to the FDA’s statement.

Significant changes to the 2017 Food Code include:

  • Revised requirement for the “Person in Charge” to be a Certified Food Protection Manager;
  • New section addressing the use of bandages, finger cots or finger stalls;
  • Harmonized cooking times and temperatures for meat and poultry to ensure uniformity with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; and
  • Updated procedures for retail food establishment operations to continue during an extended water or electrical outage, as long as a written emergency operation plan has been pre-approved by the appropriate  regulatory authority, immediate corrective action is taken, and the regulatory authority is notified if the plan is implemented.

The 2017 FDA Food Code is available on the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/FoodCode.

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