The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the publication of an updated FDA Food Code yesterday.

The updated code, which hadn’t been significantly revised since 2005, includes several new provisions including time and temperature handling guidelines for cut leafy greens, restrictions on serving undercooked ground meat on children’s menus, and requirements to improve food worker awareness of allergens.

The federal food code acts as a model code and reference document that provides a scientific and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the food industry. 

According to the FDA, state and local agencies regulate more than 1 million restaurants, retail food stores, and vending and food service operations across the country, and the food code provides the basis for most of those agencies’ food statutes and regulations.

“The FDA is spearheading an important initiative to improve the nation’s food safety system by establishing a fully integrated national system with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial regulatory agencies,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

“Food Code adoption and implementation in all jurisdictions are important for achieving uniform national food safety standards and for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our nation’s food safety system,” said Sundlof.

The FDA consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Food Safety and Inspection Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its update of the document.

Copies of the 2009 FDA Food Code are available by request from the Department of Commerce.