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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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FDA Food Code 2009: Annex 3 - Public Health Reasons / Administrative Guidelines - Chapter 6, Physical Facilities

 

Public Health Reasons / Administrative Guidelines for:


Chapter 6 Physical Facilities

Indoor Areas

6-101.11 Surface Characteristics.

Floors, walls, and ceilings that are constructed of smooth and durable surface materials are more easily cleaned.

Floor surfaces that are graded to drain and consist of effectively treated materials will prevent contamination of foods from dust and organisms from pooled moisture.

The special requirements for carpeting materials and nonabsorbent materials in areas subject to moisture are intended to ensure that the cleanability of these surfaces is retained.

Although food served from temporary food establishments is subject to the same potential for contamination as food served in permanent establishments, the limited capabilities and short duration of operation are recognized by less stringent requirements for surface characteristics.

Outdoor Areas

6-102.11 Surface Characteristics.

The requirements concerning surface characteristics of outdoor areas are intended to facilitate maintenance and minimize the accumulation of dust and mud on walking and driving areas, provide durable exterior building surfaces, and prevent the attracting, harboring, or breeding of insects, rodents, and other pests where refuse, recyclables, or returnables are stored.

Cleanability

6-201.11 Floors, Walls, and Ceilings.
6-201.12 Floors, Walls, and Ceilings, Utility Lines.

Floors that are of smooth, durable construction and that are nonabsorbent are more easily cleaned. Requirements and restrictions regarding floor coverings, utility lines, and floor/wall junctures are intended to ensure that regular and effective cleaning is possible and that insect and rodent harborage is minimized.

6-201.13 Floor and Wall Junctures, Coved, and Enclosed or Sealed.

When cleaning is accomplished by spraying or flushing, coving and sealing of the floor/wall junctures is required to provide a surface that is conducive to water flushing. Grading of the floor to drain allows liquid wastes to be quickly carried away, thereby preventing pooling which could attract pests such as insects and rodents or contribute to problems with certain pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes.

6-201.14 Floor Carpeting, Restrictions and Installation.

Requirements and restrictions regarding floor carpeting are intended to ensure that regular and effective cleaning is possible and that insect harborage is minimized. The restrictions for areas not suited for carpeting materials are designed to ensure cleanability of surfaces where accumulation of moisture or waste is likely.

6-201.15 Floor Covering, Mats and Duckboards.

Requirements regarding mats and duckboards are intended to ensure that regular and effective cleaning is possible and that accumulation of dirt and waste is prevented.

6-201.16 Wall and Ceiling Coverings and Coatings.
6-201.17 Walls and Ceilings, Attachments.
6-201.18 Walls and Ceilings, Studs, Joists, and Rafters.

Walls and ceilings that are of smooth construction, nonabsorbent, and in good repair can be easily and effectively cleaned. Special requirements related to the attachment of accessories and exposure of wall and ceiling studs, joists, and rafters are intended to ensure the cleanability of these surfaces.

Functionality

6-202.11 Light Bulbs, Protective Shielding.

Shielding of light bulbs helps prevent breakage. Light bulbs that are shielded, coated, or otherwise shatter-resistant are necessary to protect exposed food, clean equipment, utensils and linens, and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles from glass fragments should the bulb break.

6-202.12 Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning System Vents.

Heating and air conditioning system vents that are not properly designed and located may be difficult to clean and result in the contamination of food, food preparation surfaces, equipment, or utensils by dust or other accumulated soil from the exhaust vents.

6-202.13 Insect Control Devices, Design and Installation.

Insect electrocution devices are considered supplemental to good sanitation practices in meeting the Code requirement for controlling the presence of flies and other insects in a food establishment.

Improper design of the device and dead insect collection tray could allow dead insect parts and injured insects to escape, rendering the device itself a source of contamination.

Exposed food and food-contact surfaces must be protected from contamination by insects or insect parts. Installation of the device over food preparation areas or in close proximity to exposed food and/or food-contact surfaces could allow dead insects and/or insect parts to be impelled by the electric charge, fall, or be blown from the device onto food or food-contact surfaces.

6-202.14 Toilet Rooms, Enclosed.

Completely enclosed toilet facilities minimize the potential for the spread of disease by the movement of flies and other insects between the toilet facility and food preparation areas.

6-202.15 Outer Openings, Protected.

Insects and rodents are vectors of disease-causing microorganisms which may be transmitted to humans by contamination of food and food-contact surfaces. The presence of insects and rodents is minimized by protecting outer openings to the food establishment.

In the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2009 Edition, doors to exit enclosures such as stairs, horizontal exits, or exit passageways are required to be self closing. The Life Safety Code does not require exterior doors used as exits to be self closing, but they can be.

The intent of subparagraph 6-202.15(A)(3) is to protect food establishments from the entry of insects and rodents by keeping doors closed when not in use. Self-closing devices allow a door to return to its closed position after use. If an exterior door is not routinely used for entry or exit because its use is restricted by the fire protection authority for emergency use only, it is not a portal for the entry of pests and does not need a self-closing device. Doors not requiring a self-closing device include exterior emergency exit doors that open into a public way from a fire and that meet the criteria in ¶ 6-202.15(C).

6-202.16 Exterior Walls and Roofs, Protective Barrier.

Walls and roofs provide a barrier to protect the interior and foods from the weather, windblown dirt and debris, and flying insects.

6-202.17 Outdoor Food Vending Areas, Overhead Protection.

The potential for contamination from airborne dust and particulates or inclement weather is present in outside areas. Overhead protection minimizes the potential for contamination of food under such conditions.

6-202.18 Outdoor Servicing Areas, Overhead Protection.

Pooled water, which may result if overhead protection is not provided for outdoor servicing areas, attracts wild animals and birds and creates a condition suitable for the breeding of insects.

6-202.19 Outdoor Walking and Driving Surfaces, Graded to Drain.

If foot traffic is allowed to occur from undrained areas, contamination will be tracked into the establishment. Surfaces graded to drain minimize these conditions. Pooled water on exterior walking and driving surfaces may also attract rodents and breed insects.

6-202.110 Outdoor Refuse Areas, Curbed and Graded to Drain.

If refuse areas are not graded properly, waste water will pool and attract insects and rodents.

6-202.111 Private Homes and Living or Sleeping Quarters, Use Prohibited.
6-202.112 Living or Sleeping Quarters, Separation.

Areas or facilities that are not compatible with sanitary food establishment operations must be located or separated from other areas of the establishment to preclude potential contamination of food and food-contact surfaces from poisonous or toxic materials, dust or debris, the presence of improperly designed facilities and equipment, and the traffic of unauthorized and/or unnecessary persons or pets.

Further, Article IV of the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution ensures the right of persons to be secure in their homes against unreasonable search and seizure. This provision could hinder the regulatory authority's access to conduct routine inspections of a food establishment operated in the living area of a private home. A search warrant may be the only mechanism by which to gain entry; yet, it may be difficult to obtain and might not authorize the necessary inspectional activities.

Handwashing Sinks

6-301.10 Minimum Number.

Refer to the public health reason for § 5-203.11.

6-301.11 Handwashing Cleanser, Availability.

Hand cleanser must always be present to aid in reducing microorganisms and particulate matter found on hands.

6-301.12 Hand Drying Provision.

Provisions must be provided for hand drying so that employees will not dry their hands on their clothing or other unclean materials.

It is known that wet hands transfer bacteria more readily than dry hands. The residual moisture found on the hands after washing allows for bacterial and viral transfer to food or solid surfaces by touch. The method in which hands are dried is a critical factor in reducing chances of cross-contamination by hands to food and environmental surfaces (Patrick et al., (1997)).

With regard to the addition of air knife technology for hand drying, data reviewed by FDA scientists at the FDA's National Center for Food Safety Technology (Moffitt Center) demonstrates that the use of this technology in hand dryers has been found to be equivalent to the hand drying treatment in existing heated-air devices.

While the Food Code does not specifically address the configuration or ergonomic design of hand drying devices, technologies employing air knife systems do not appear to accommodate the drying of one's arms and may not be large enough to accommodate surrogate prosthetic devices for hands and arms to fit within the hand-dryer. In the case where food employees are expected to wash their forearms or are fitted with a surrogate prosthetic device, the food establishment would need to provide an alternate means for drying of the arms and certain prosthetic devices.

6-301.14 Handwashing Signage.

A sign or poster is required to remind food employees to wash their hands.

6-301.20 Disposable Towels, Waste Receptacle.

Waste receptacles at handwashing sinks are required for the collection of disposable towels so that the paper waste will be contained, will not contact food directly or indirectly, and will not become an attractant for insects or rodents.

Toilets and Urinals

6-302.10 Minimum Number.

Refer to the public health reason for § 5-203.12.

6-302.11 Toilet Tissue, Availability.

To minimize hand contact with fecal waste, toilet tissue is necessary for hygienic cleaning following use of toilet facilities. Toilet tissue must be supplied to meet the demand.

Lighting

6-303.11 Intensity.

Lighting levels are specified so that sufficient light is available to enable employees to perform certain functions such as reading labels; discerning the color of substances; identifying toxic materials; recognizing the condition of food, utensils, and supplies; and safely conducting general food establishment operations and clean-up. Properly distributed light makes the need for cleaning apparent by making accumulations of soil conspicuous.

Ventilation

6-304.11 Mechanical.

When mechanical ventilation is necessary, it must have adequate capacity to ensure that soiling of walls, ceilings, and other equipment is minimized; obnoxious odors or toxic fumes are effectively removed; and no hazards or nuisances involving accumulation of fats, oils, and similar wastes are created.

Balancing of the exhaust and make-up air must be ensured so that the system can operate efficiently.

Dressing Areas and Lockers

6-305.11 Designation.

Street clothing and personal belongings can contaminate food, food equipment, and food-contact surfaces. Proper storage facilities are required for articles such as purses, coats, shoes, and personal medications.

Service Sinks

6-306.10 Availability.

A service sink or curbed facility is required so that the cleanliness of the food establishment can be maintained, attractants for insects and rodents minimized, and contamination of food and equipment by accumulated soil prevented. Liquid wastes generated during cleaning must be disposed of in a sanitary manner to preclude contamination of food and food equipment. A service sink is provided to prevent the improper disposal of wastes into other sinks such as food preparation and handwashing sinks.

Handwashing Sinks

6-401.10 Conveniently Located.

Facilities must be located in or adjacent to toilet rooms and convenient to the different work stations of the food employee for proper and routine handwashing to prevent contamination of the food and food-contact surfaces.

Toilet Rooms

6-402.11 Convenience and Accessibility.

Toilet rooms must be conveniently accessible to food employees at all times to encourage employee use of appropriate facilities for the disposing of human wastes as needed followed by the washing of hands.

Employee Accommodations

6-403.11 Designated Areas.

Because employees could introduce pathogens to food by hand-to-mouth-to-food contact and because street clothing and personal belongings carry contaminants, areas designated to accommodate employees' personal needs must be carefully located. Food, food equipment and utensils, clean linens, and single-service and single-use articles must not be in jeopardy of contamination from these areas.

Distressed Merchandise

6-404.11 Segregation and Location.

Products which are damaged, spoiled, or otherwise unfit for sale or use in a food establishment may become mistaken for safe and wholesome products and/or cause contamination of other foods, equipment, utensils, linens, or single-service or single-use articles. To preclude this, separate and segregated areas must be designated for storing unsalable goods.

Refuse, Recyclables and Returnables

6-405.10 Receptacles, Waste Handling Units, andDesignated Storage Areas.

Waste materials and empty product containers are unclean and can be an attractant to insects and rodents. Food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles must be protected from exposure to filth and unclean conditions and other contaminants. This Code provision addresses these concerns by requiring the facility to be segregated, to be located to allow cleaning of adjacent areas, and to preclude creation of a nuisance.

Premises, Structures, Attachments, and Fixtures, - Methods

6-501.11 Repairing.

Poor repair and maintenance compromises the functionality of the physical facilities. This requirement is intended to ensure that the physical facilities are properly maintained in order to serve their intended purpose.

6-501.12 Cleaning, Frequency and Restrictions.

Cleaning of the physical facilities is an important measure in ensuring the protection and sanitary preparation of food. A regular cleaning schedule should be established and followed to maintain the facility in a clean and sanitary manner. Primary cleaning should be done at times when foods are in protected storage and when food is not being served or prepared.

6-501.13 Cleaning Floors, Dustless Methods.

Dustless floor cleaning methods must be used so that food, equipment, utensils, and linens; and single-service and single-use articles are not contaminated.

6-501.14 Cleaning Ventilation Systems, Nuisance and Discharge Prohibition.

Both intake and exhaust ducts can be a source of contamination and must be cleaned regularly. Filters that collect particulate matter must be cleaned or changed frequently to prevent overloading of the filter. Outside areas under or adjacent to exhaust duct outlets at the exterior of the building must be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner to prevent pest attraction.

6-501.15 Cleaning Maintenance Tools, Preventing Contamination.

Maintenance tools used to repair the physical facilities must be cleaned in a separate area to prevent contamination of food and food preparation and warewashing areas.

6-501.16 Drying Mops.

Mops can contaminate food and food preparation areas if not properly cleaned and stored after use. Mops should be cleaned and dried in a sanitary manner away from food flow areas.

6-501.17 Absorbent Materials on Floors, Use Limitation.

Cleanliness of the food establishment is important to minimize attractants for insects and rodents, aid in preventing the contamination of food and equipment, and prevent nuisance conditions. A clean and orderly food establishment is also conducive to positive employee attitudes which can lead to increased attention to personal hygiene and improved food preparation practices. Use of specified cleaning procedures is important in precluding avoidable contamination of food and equipment and nuisance conditions.

Temporary floor coverings such as sawdust can contaminate food, attract insects and rodents, and become a nuisance to the food operation.

6-501.18 Cleaning of Plumbing Fixtures.

Handwashing facilities are critical to food protection and must be maintained in operating order at all times so they will be used.

Refer also to the public health reason for § 5-205.11.

Toilet facilities must be of sanitary design and kept clean and in good repair to prevent food contamination and to motivate employees to use sanitary practices in the establishment.

Hand contact with contaminated surfaces can result in self-inoculation by touching of the nose and mouth. The spread of Shigella sonnei in a nursery school has been traced to contaminated toilets. Experiments by Gerba, et al and Barker and Bloomfield have shown that when bacteria and viruses were seeded into a household toilet, the detection of bacteria and viruses in the fallout droplets from the aerosols produced when flushing remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom. Barker and Bloomfield also demonstrated that Salmonella Enteritidis could be isolated from the air surrounding a household toilet after flushing the toilet.

Noroviruses which are a major cause of gastroenteritis can be transmitted by fecal-oral, airborne inhalation, person-to-person and environmental-to-person routes. Norovirus, which is highly infectious, is shed in vomitus and stool in high numbers. A study was conducted by J. Barker et al to look at the transmission of norovirus via fingers, cloths and contact surfaces. The results indicated that where fingers come into contact with virus-contaminated toilet tissue, norovirus is consistently transferred via the fingers to a melamine surface and from there to other typical hand-contact surfaces such as taps, door handles and telephone receivers. In this study epidemiological evidence suggests that environmental spread from an infective person occurs by settling of aerosol particles onto contact surfaces. Hands can then spread the virus when they touch toilet seats or flush handles contaminated by splash from vomit or aerosol particles generated during toilet flushing.

6-501.19 Closing Toilet Room Doors.

Toilet room doors must remain closed except during cleaning operations to prevent insect and rodent entrance and the associated potential for the spread of disease.

6-501.110 Using Dressing Rooms and Lockers.

Street clothing and personal belongings can contaminate food, food equipment, and food preparation surfaces and consequently must be stored in properly designated areas or rooms.

6-501.111 Controlling Pests.

Insects and other pests are capable of transmitting disease to humans by contaminating food and food-contact surfaces. Effective measures must be taken to eliminate their presence in food establishments.

6-501.112 Removing Dead or Trapped Birds, Insects, Rodents, and Other Pests.

Dead rodents, birds, and insects must be removed promptly from the facilities to ensure clean and sanitary facilities and to preclude exacerbating the situation by allowing carcasses to attract other pests.

6-501.113 Storing Maintenance Tools.

Brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, and other maintenance equipment can contribute contamination to food and food-contact surfaces. These items must be stored in a manner that precludes such contamination.

To prevent harborage and breeding conditions for rodents and insects, maintenance equipment must be stored in an orderly fashion to permit cleaning of the area.

6-501.114 Maintaining Premises, Unnecessary Items and Litter.

The presence of unnecessary articles, including equipment which is no longer used, makes regular and effective cleaning more difficult and less likely. It can also provide harborage for insects and rodents.

Areas designated as equipment storage areas and closets must be maintained in a neat, clean, and sanitary manner. They must be routinely cleaned to avoid attractive or harborage conditions for rodents and insects.

6-501.115 Prohibiting Animals.

Animals carry disease-causing organisms and can transmit pathogens to humans through direct and/or indirect contamination of food and food-contact surfaces. The restrictions apply to live animals with limited access allowed only in specific situations and under controlled conditions and to the storage of live and dead fish bait. Employees with service animals are required under § 2-301.14 to wash their hands after each contact with animals to remove bacteria and soil.

Animals shed hair continuously and may deposit liquid or fecal waste, creating the need for vigilance and more frequent and rigorous cleaning efforts.

The definition for "service animal" is adapted from 28 CFR 36.104 adopted pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.). A service animal performs some of the functions that persons with a disability cannot perform for themselves, such as those provided by "seeing eye dogs"; alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds; pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments; and assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance. A service animal is not considered to be a pet.

Under Title III of the ADA, privately owned businesses that serve the public are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars or harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers.

Decisions regarding a food employee or applicant with a disability who needs to use a service animal should be made on a case-by-case basis. An employer must comply with health and safety requirements, but is obligated to consider whether there is a reasonable accommodation that can be made. Guidance is available from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal agency which has the lead in these matters, in documents such as, "Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business"; "The Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers"; "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws"; and "Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Technical Assistance Manual, 1994 Supplement." The ADA Information Line is 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).