Our food supply feels as though it is under attack, especially lately when our food safety seems at risk with new food recalls and contamination on a daily basis, as well as some of our favorite restaurants failing their health inspections.
Detective Foodsafe® realizes that food recalls and alerts can be scary but wants all of us to remember that there are programs in place to help keep our food supply, as well as the foods we are served while eating away from home, safe.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting our food supply at all levels of the process of food handling and service.
As part of that role, the FDA provides the Food Code, which directs how our food safety should be protected, because foodborne illness is preventable but unfortunately can lead to death and affects millions of people of all ages each year.
According to the FDA: The Food Code is 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.
New Food Code
Recently the FDA released an updated version of the Food Code, which contains significant changes. This document is revised every four years.
The new Food Code document provides industry and government entities science-based guidance to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Restaurants, retailers, vending machines, and food service operations in all types of facilities such as schools, healthcare, and childcare centers are covered by the information in the Food Code.
Detective Foodsafe reminds us that, over the years since its inception, the Food Code has resulted in improvements for our health and well-being including the pasteurization process, canning techniques, and improved surveillance of the food supply.
Throughout the years, the FDA has identified key areas of potential contamination leading to foodborne illness and focus of ways to avoid contamination at the source. These include:
- Improper holding temperatures
- Inadequate cooking, such as under cooking raw shell eggs
- Contaminated equipment
- Food from unsafe sources
- Poor personal hygiene
Changes in 2017 Food Code
The latest version of the Food Code has been updated with changes that affect various parts of the foodservice organization.
The Food Code is not law or regulation but instead guidance for actions for food safety. According to Detective Foodsafe, federal, state and local agencies can and do adopt these guidelines into health code and inspections to improve public health in the areas they serve.
These are some of the changes or 2017.
- “Person in Charge” to be a Certified Food Protection Manager, as well as ensuring employees are monitoring holding temperatures of hot and cold foods
- Addresses proper use of bandages, finger cots, or finger stalls for employees
- Indicates how establishment should separate raw animal foods during storage, preparation, holding and display from fruits and vegetables before they are washed
- Harmonized cooking times and temperatures for meat and poultry to ensure uniformity with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service
- Updated procedures for retail food establishment operations to continue during an extended water or electrical outage, as long as a written emergency operation plan has been pre-approved by the appropriate regulatory authority, immediate corrective action is taken, and the regulatory authority is notified if the plan is implemented
- Ensure that authorized representatives who inspect food establishments or conduct plan reviews for compliance with this Code have access to training and continuing education as needed to properly identify violations and apply the Code
Detective Foodsafe closely follows revisions in the Food Code as well as the abundance of resources available from the FDA and USDA in order to educate foodservice establishments about food safety.
Those interested in how the government protects our food supply and the science-based information available can read the documents themselves. If you are like Detective Foodsafe, you may find this type of reading enjoyable!
Some resources you might want to review can be found at these links.
- The 2017 FDA Food Code is available on the FDA website.
- The Bad Bug Book is published by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It provides current information about the major known pathogens that cause foodborne illness.
- Learn what employees in foodservice organizations should be doing to protect your health with this publication: Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook. It includes practices and behaviors that can help prevent food employees from spreading foodborne pathogens to food they prepare and serve.
Detective Foodsafe is a champion for food safety and encourages you to be a good consumer by learning more about the safety of our food supply.
We can personally practice food safety in our homes and demand that the foodservice establishments we frequent also maintain standards put forth in the Food Code.
Detective Foodsafe is on the case for food safety!