Foodservice Equipment Reports

New FDA Food Code Updates And Clarifies Food Safety Rules

Take note: The Food and Drug Administration has released its 2013 Food Code, which provides updated guidance for states and localities on regulating food safety and sanitation in restaurants and other retail businesses.

While the new federal code is not law, more than 3,000 state and local entities rely on it to shape foodservice-related health codes in their jurisdictions. Restaurant operators look to the FDA’s code for guidance as well, and dealers and manufacturers should be apprised of the changes.

The latest Food Code includes additional recommendations and clarifications on food-safety procedures in restaurants. Among the changes is one clarifying that foodservice employees can make bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat ingredients that are added to certain foods that will be heated; other changes recommend that restaurants provide notification of the availability of restaurant-inspection reports and outline earlier guidance on take-home containers.

The new code also recommends additional food-safety precautions for sous vide products, or any products vacuum-packed in an impermeable bag for cooking.

The FDA revises the code every four years. Most states and many local authorities have adopted previous versions of the FDA Food Code in whole or in part. The release of the 2013 code is expected to set off another round of changes to state and local food-safety requirements for restaurants. See the full FDA Food Code 2013 and a summary of key changes.

Want to learn more? The National Restaurant Association and the FDA will sponsor a webinar about the new FDA Food Code on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.