Food Safety Focus Team • August 29
This September is the 24th anniversary of National Food Safety Month. We’ll be sharing resources all month to help you reinforce the importance of food safety with your staff. Even if you’re a veteran in the foodservice industry, we hope you’ll stay tuned; technologies, regulations and new research have changed foodservice best practices and regulations.
 
Our theme for 2018 is “The Future of Food Safety,” so it’s fitting to kick off the campaign by talking about key updates to the 2017 FDA Food Code. These updates include rules about bandages on the hands, requirements for the Person in Charge, and cooking times for certain meats.  In addition, we’ll share some of the questions food safety regulators hear most often—and their answers. 
 
What’s New with the 2017 FDA Food Code
 
Lots, but here are some key issues that may affect your operation right now.
 
What are the new rules for the Person in Charge of food preparation?
 
The Person in Charge of food preparation must be designated and certified as a Certified Food Protection Manager. The Person in Charge must always be on site when the facility is in operation and needs to have proof of their certification. There must also be documentation in writing of who is designated on shift as the Person in Charge.
 
Bandages pose a physical hazard. What extra precaution that must be taken and why?
 
Lost bandages in food pose physical and biohazard risks to consumers. If employees are wearing an impermeable bandage on their hands, it must be covered with a single-use glove to reduce the risk of losing it in food.
 
Bodily Fluid Cleanup Incidents
 
Your facility must have a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that is available for review at all times. The SOP must include specific employee training and actions.
 
New Cooking Times for Some Meats
 
Ratites (emu and ostrich), mechanically tenderized and injected meats, comminuted (chopped, flaked, ground, minced) fish, meat, or game commercially raised for food must be cooked to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 17 seconds. As soon as poultry reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it is considered safely cooked.
 
Ask a Regulator
 
Here are some of the questions regulators are asked most often by managers.
 
Why might a manager ask you to remove fake fingernails before work?
 
Fake fingernails pose a health hazard because they are difficult to keep clean and could easily break off into food during preparation. Artificial nails can harbor hundreds of thousands of bacteria, even after hand washing, and can increase the potential for pathogen transmission.
 
When must an apron be worn?
 
Aprons act as a barrier to prevent microorganisms, hair, dust, dirt and other physical contaminants that might be on an employee’s clothing from transferring to the food, equipment, or utensils with which they are working. An apron must be worn in all areas of the back house, including but not limited to, washing utensils, preparing food, cooking food, and in some cases, even during cleaning. Remember to remove your apron when using the restroom or taking out the garbage.
 
When must gloves be worn?
 
Foodservice employees must wear single-use gloves when handling or preparing ready-to-eat foods and when they are wearing an impermeable bandage on their hands. Gloves do not need to be worn when cleaning tables.
 
When an employee is sick, how long do they have to wait before returning to work?
 
After experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or a sore throat with a fever, an employee must be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to work.
 
Food safety is a critical part of your establishment’s success. Take time to familiarize yourself with the new FDA Food Code regulations and communicate them to your employees. Stay tuned for more information and resources on the Future of Food Safety as we observe National Food Safety Month.
 
Want a helpful visual reminder of these changes? Download our “Regulation – Keep It Compliant!” poster and Infographic, and share this activity sheet with employees.