In its latest step to increase the safety of the American food supply, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a Retail Food Safety Action Plan that includes several measures to help assure the safety of food sold in stores, restaurants, schools, and other foodservice operations. In support of the Action Plan, FDA also unveiled a cooperative agreement with the National Association of County and City Health Officials . FDA and the Association will promote the use of best practices by local authorities and attempt to increase retail food safety oversight as well as encourage the implementation of  FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards for retail food programs.

FDA today also released a Supplement to the 2009 FDA Food Code. The Food Code contains  model food-safety regulations for  retail and food-service operations including restaurants, schools and food stores. Local, authorities use the Food Code to develop food safety rules consistent with national regulatory policy.

Key changes contained in the new Supplement include:

 

  • Requiring that food establishments have a certified food protection manager  with the following additional requirements:
    • that all operating procedures required by the Food Code are developed and implemented;      
    • that it can be verified that all employees are informed about their obligation to report certain health conditions that relate to transmission of food borne illness; and
    • that any food the establishment receives after operating hours is delivered in a manner that does not create a food safety hazard;  
  • Requiring that food establishments have a plan for responding to and properly cleaning-up after an employee or other becomes physically ill in areas where food may be prepared, stored or served;  
  • Clarifying appropriate exceptions to the prohibition of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods prepared in the establishment;
  • Clarifying the requirements for the safe storage and display of ground and whole-muscle meat and poultry;
  • New requirements for devices used to generate chemical sanitizers on- site in the food establishment;
  • Establishing clearer guidelines for the amount time a food establishment should be given to correct violations of different types of provisions in the Food Code.