Food

FDA Releases 2013 Food Code: Updated Code is a Model for State, City, County, Tribal, Territorial Agencies and Industry

CFSAN Constituent Update

November 14, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the 2013 edition of the FDA Food Code on November 13, 2013.  Release of this model food code provides all levels of government and industry with practical, science-based guidance and manageable provisions for mitigating known risks of foodborne illness.  

The FDA Food Code marks its 20th anniversary with the release of the 2013 edition. The Food Code is a key component of the President’s public-health focused framework for maintaining a safe food supply.   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, and has been widely adopted by state, local, tribal and territorial regulatory agencies that regulate more than one million restaurants, retail food stores, vending operations and food service operations in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and child care centers. 

Significant changes to the 2013 Food Code include the following: 

  • Restaurants and food stores must post signs notifying their customers that inspection information is available for review.
  • Nontyphoidal Salmonella is added to the list of illnesses that food workers are required to report to their management and that prompts management to exclude or restrict employees from working with food.
  • New requirements that better address emerging trends in food establishments such as the use of reduced oxygen packaging methods and the reuse and refilling of take-home food containers.
  • Revisions to the minimum cooking temperatures associated with procedures such as non-continuous cooking and circumstances under which bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods is permitted.
  • Stronger requirements for cleaning and sanitizing equipment used in preparing raw foods that are major food allergens.

The 2013 edition reflects the input of regulatory officials, industry, academia, and consumers that participated in the 2012 meeting of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP).  Collaboration with the CFP and our partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps ensure the Food Code establishes sound requirements that prevent foodborne illness and injury and eliminates the most important food safety hazards in retail and foodservice facilities.  

FDA encourages its state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to adopt the latest version of the FDA Food Code.  The benefits associated with complete and widespread adoption of the 2013 Food Code as statutes, codes and ordinances include:

  • Reduction of the risk of foodborne illnesses within food establishments, thus protecting consumers and industry from potentially devastating health consequences and financial losses.
  • Uniform standards for retail food safety that reduce complexity and better ensure compliance.
  • The elimination of redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria.
  • The establishment of a more standardized approach to inspections and audits of food establishments. 

Members of FDA’s National Retail Food Team are available to assist regulatory officials, educators, and the industry in their efforts to adopt, implement, and understand the provisions of the FDA Food Code and the Retail Program Standards. Inquiries may be sent to retailfoodprotectionteam@fda.hhs.gov or directly to a Regional Retail Food Specialist located in one of FDA’s five Regional Offices across the country.

The 2013 FDA Food Code is available on the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/FoodCode.

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