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New FDA Guidelines Call For Onsite Certified Food Safety Managers

Posted On: 10/8/2011

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Restaurants, foodservice establishments, food retailers, certified food protection manager, food safety rule, Food and Drug Administration's 2009 Model Food Code, FDA Model Food Code supplement, Food Code changes, FDA Guidelines for Onsite Certified Food Safety Managers

WASHINGTON -- Restaurants and other foodservice establishments and retailers could be required to employ at least one certified food protection manager per location if their states or local jurisdictions adopt a new supplement to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 2009 Model Food Code.

The new supplement to FDA's Model Food Code includes several new or amended provisions that clarify the food safety responsibilities of a restaurant or retailer's management.

Specifically, the recommendation relating to onsite food protection managers states: "At least one employee that has supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service shall be a certified food protection manager who has shown proficiency of required information through passing a test that is part of an accredited program."

This section does not apply to certain types of food establishments deemed by the regulatory authority to pose minimal risk of causing, or contributing to, foodborne illness based on the nature of the operation and extent of food preparation.

The FDA Food Code is a voluntary set of recommended regulations available to state and local governments as models for their own food safety standards. Most states have patterned their food safety codes after versions of the federal Model Food Code. Nearly half of them already have some requirement for certified food-safety managers.

The Food Code supplement was announced by officials of the Washington, DC-based FDA as part of a new "Retail Food Safety Action Plan." That plan, they said, is intended to improve how in-store managers conduct food safety operations and strengthen oversight of restaurants, institutions and retail establishments by public health agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

Key changes to 2009 Food Code recommendations contained in the new supplement call for a foodservice establishment's "person in charge" to ensure that:

» All operating procedures required by the Food Code are developed and implemented.
» It can be verified that all employees are informed about their obligation to report certain health conditions that relate to transmission of foodborne illness.
» Any food the establishment receives after operating hours is delivered in a manner that does not create a food safety hazard.
Other changes included in the Food Code supplement include:
» Requiring that food establishments have a plan for responding to and properly cleaning-up after an employee or other individual 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 dispense chemical sanitizers onsite 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.
» New requirements for devices used to generate chemical sanitizers onsite in the food establishment.