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National Restaurant Association - New FDA Food Code offers guidance on food-safety rules for restaurants

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New FDA Food Code offers guidance on food-safety rules for restaurants

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday released updated guidance for states and localities on how to regulate food safety and sanitation in restaurants and other retail businesses.

The FDA’s 2013 Food Code is not law, but more than 3,000 state and local entities rely on the federal code as they shape foodservice-related health codes in their jurisdictions. Restaurant companies look to the FDA’s code for guidance as well.

The FDA revises the code every four years. Most states have adopted previous versions of the FDA Food Code in whole or in part. The release of the 2013 code is expected to set off another round of changes to state and local food-safety requirements for restaurants.

The National Restaurant Association plays a key role in recommending changes to the code. The NRA’s food-safety team keeps regulators updated on best food-safety practices in restaurants and urges regulators to adopt the latest science-based recommendations for enhancing safety in foodservice operations.

The latest FDA Food Code includes additional recommendations and clarifications on food-safety procedures in restaurants. Some of the changes include clarifying earlier guidance on take-home containers; making it clear that foodservice employees can make bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat ingredients that are added to certain foods that will be heated; and recommending that restaurants provide notification of the availability of restaurant-inspection reports.

The new code also recommends additional food-safety precautions for sous vide products, or products vacuum-packed in an impermeable bag for cooking.

See the full FDA Food Code 2013 and a summary of key changes.

The National Restaurant Association and the FDA will sponsor a webinar about the new FDA Food Code on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.

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