Food Safety and Nutrition Agent
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the 2017 Food Code in February 2018. Periodically the FDA reviews, updates, and releases a new Food Code. The 2017 Food Code is the ninth edition and is based on current scientific understanding of food safety best practices. The FDA describes the Food Code as “a model for safeguarding public health and ensuring food is unadulterated and honestly presented when offered to the consumer. It represents FDA’s best advice for a uniform system of provisions that address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in food service”.
Each time the Food Code is updated, minor changes are made to the language of the code, but more substantial changes are made as well. Some notable changes in the 2017 Food Code are as follows.
The Food Code now states that the Person in Charge (PIC) has to be a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM). This means that at least one person in charge in a restaurant or retail food establishment has to complete an approved food safety training course such as ServSafe.
There is a new requirement that a single use glove must be worn over any bandage or finger cot that is covering a wound on the hand. This to assure that bandages and/or finger cots do not fall into the food.
Cooking times and temperature specifications have been harmonized in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Changes have been made as to the amount of time certain foods need to be held at proper cooking temperatures.
The 2017 Food Code also updates procedures that should be used if a retail food establishment wants to continue operating when there is an extended water or electrical outage. This will require a written emergency operation plan that has been approved by the Regulatory Authority. The Regulatory Authority must also be notified when the plan is being implemented. In South Carolina the Regulatory Authority is the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
If you have any questions about the 2017 Food Code specifically or food safety questions generally, please contact the Home and Garden Information Center or your local Clemson Extension Food Safety and Nutrition Agent.