2009 FDA Food Code Released

The Food and Drug Administration has issued the latest FDA Food Code, which, according to the federal agency, provides a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and foodservice segments of the food industry.

The model code provides the foundation for most state, city, county, tribal and territorial agencies’ licensing, inspection and enforcement activities, as well as serving as a template for their food statutes, regulations and ordinances. These agencies oversee more than 1 million restaurants, retail food stores, and vending and foodservice operations.

“The FDA is spearheading an important initiative to improve the nation’s food safety system by establishing a fully integrated national system,” noted 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.”

The 2009 edition of the Food Code is the seventh full edition published by the FDA. The last full edition came out in 2005, with a supplement published two years later.

Among the substantive changes to the code:

—Each provision is now designated as a “Priority Item,” “Priority Foundation Item” or “Core Item,” to help the industry and regulatory community prioritize food safety interventions and inspections. Based on a qualitative risk assessment, these terms replace the use of “Critical” and “Non-Critical” designations in older editions of the code
—Cut leafy greens are now included among the foods requiring time and temperature control for safety
—Requirements have been added to raise food worker awareness of food allergen concerns in the foodservice and retail arenas
—Serving undercooked hamburgers and other ground meats upon a consumer’s request is no longer an option for items on a children’s menu
—A new definition and criteria are added in a new section for the non-continuous cooking of foods consisting of raw animal products, to address the safety of this cooking method
—Several requirements regarding the effective cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and surfaces have been enhanced or clarified.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture were consulted on the changes in the newest edition of the code that affect their agencies.

Copies of the 2009 FDA Food Code can be ordered by writing to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Technical Information Service, 5301 Shawnee Road, Alexandria, VA 22312, or by calling (703) 605-6040 or TDD: (703) 487-4639 (Reference report number PB2009112613).
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