As the FDA finalizes changes to the new version of its Food Code, Vito Palazzolo, the National Restaurant Association food-safety expert, explains how it will affect our industry and the way we serve food.
Every four years, the FDA revises its Food Code. It is now finalizing updates to the latest version. We asked Vito Palazzolo, our food safety expert, to explain how it affects our businesses. On June 19, he will lead our webinar explaining those changes.
What is the Food Code?
The Food Code, developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), helps safeguard the public health and ensures that food sold to the consumer is prepared safely and honestly presented. It offers the FDAs best advice for a system of provisions that address the safety and protection of food served at retail and in foodservice. Its typically adopted by local, state and federal jurisdictions.
What should operators know about its latest changes?
They need to know and comply with all requirements of any food code adopted by a local, state or federal entity. In addition, there are several changes to the new, 2017 FDA Food Code that could affect our industry.
What are some of them?
The more notable ones are:
- The Person-In-Charge (PIC) will now have to be a specifically designated person within the establishment as well as a certified manager. He or she will have to be on site, and available at all times and all shifts while the facility operates.
- A change in the cooking time for ground meats has changed. The temperature is still 155F, but the time is now 17 seconds instead of 15 seconds. Note: this is not the total cooking time, just the time that the thickest part or center of the food takes until its cooked through. The extra 2 seconds helps destroy pathogens in the middle of the product.
- You must cover cuts on the hands and fingers with a finger cot or impermeable bandage. Also, you must wear single-service gloves over the covering.
What is the biggest challenge?
Local and state governments dont always adopt the Food Code as soon as its introduced. Sometimes, we have five different codes adopted within one state. This makes compliance difficult. Which code and/or standard should the industry try to meet? In Arizona, for example, the state is on the 1999 FDA Food Code, but four other counties are on the 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013, respectively. The FDA needs to implement a system where local and state health departments adopt the most recent version entirely.
What will operators learn during our Food Code webinar?
Well discuss the changes and process the Food Code undergoes before it is finalized. We want to ensure the industry not only understands it, but also that were advocating to be involved so the final product protects and supports everyone.