Food Safety Magazine

News | December 23, 2019

FDA Releases Supplement to the 2017 Food Code

By FDA

FDA Releases Supplement to the 2017 Food Code

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made available the Supplement to the 2017 Food Code. The update addresses recommendations made by regulatory officials, industry, academia, and consumers at the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Conference for Food Protection.

The Food Code and its Supplement provide government and industry with practical, science-based controls for reducing the risk of foodborne illness in retail and foodservice establishments of all types. The Food Code and the Supplement are joint projects by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The Supplement modifies the 2017 Food Code to, among other things:

  • Allow food establishments in limited circumstances, such as in a restricted office building or break room, that pose minimal risk of causing, or contributing to foodborne illness to operate without a person in charge, as approved by the regulatory authority.
  • Add a new exception for when “time without temperature control” is used as the public health control for ready-to-eat produce and hermetically sealed food upon cutting, chopping or opening of the hermetically sealed container. This exception allows these foods to begin at 70°F or less and remain at 70°F for a maximum of 4 hours.
  • Remove the allowance for use of chemically treated towelettes for hand washing because the means to wash hands in limited situations is readily available and handwashing has been determined to be effective.
  • Expand and clarify the type of information that should be included when a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Plan is required by a regulatory authority.
  • Include new supporting documents such as the USDA-FSIS Chicken Liver Guidance and the Conference of Food Protection’s Mail Order Food Companies Guidance Document.

The Food Code is the model for retail food regulations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other territories. The FDA encourages its state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to adopt the current version of the FDA Food Code, including the Supplement to the 2017 Food Code. The agency’s National Retail Food Team is available to assist regulatory officials, educators, and industry in their efforts to understand, adopt, and implement, the FDA Food Code. Inquiries may be sent to: retailfoodprotectionteam@fda.hhs.gov or directly to a Retail Food Specialist.

The 2017 FDA Food Code and its Supplement is available on the FDA website. The next complete revision of the Food Code will be published in 2021.

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