FDA 1997 Food Code - Annex 3: Public Health Reasons/Administrative Guidelines

Chapter 2 Management and Personnel 


2-101.11   Assignment.*

Designation of a person in charge during all hours of operations ensures the continuous presence of someone who is responsible for monitoring and managing all food establishment operations and who is authorized to take actions to ensure that the Code's objectives are fulfilled. During the day-to-day operation of a food establishment, a person who is immediately available and knowledgeable in both operational and Code requirements is needed to respond to questions and concerns and to resolve problems. 


2-102.11   Demonstration.*

The designated person in charge who is knowledgeable about foodborne disease prevention, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, and Code requirements is prepared to recognize conditions that may contribute to foodborne illness or that otherwise fail to comply with Code requirements, and to take appropriate preventive and corrective actions.

There are many ways in which the person in charge can demonstrate competency. Many aspects of the food operation itself will reflect the competency of that person. A dialogue with the person in charge during the inspection process will also reveal whether or not that person is enabled by a clear understanding of the Code and its public health principles to follow sound food safety practices and to produce foods that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and accurately represented.

The effectiveness of the person in charge in protecting the health of the consumer is evidenced by the person's ability to apply the required knowledge to the establishment's operations by designing and implementing procedures that ensure continued compliance with the Code.

Status of "Universally Acceptable" Manager Knowledge Certificate

In 1993 the "job knowledge" and "management responsibilities" recommendations of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) were incorporated into the Food Code's Management and Personnel Chapter. These provisions appear under "Supervision" as Knowledge/Demonstration and Duties/Person in Charge.

Not included in the Food Code, to date, is a needed mechanism to facilitate universal acceptance of food manager certificates by food regulatory authorities as a means of demonstrating a manager's knowledge. FDA has expressed its desire and intent to add a Food Code provision containing criteria for universal acceptance as soon as the Agency and other stakeholders reach consensus on the criteria.

Presently there are a wide variety of industry management training and certification programs being offered by regulatory agencies, academic institutions, food companies, industry groups and "third-party" organizations. Most certification programs share a common desire to have the food manager certificate they issue universally recognized and accepted by others - especially by the increasing number of regulatory authorities that require food manager certification.

Certification programs vary significantly in focus and primary mission of sponsors, organizational structures, staff resources, revenue sources, testing mechanisms, policies toward applicants and employers of food managers, and policies pertaining to such things as public information, criteria for maintaining certification, and the need for recertification. Where courses are offered, they vary in scope, content, depth and duration, quality of instructional materials, qualifications of instructors, and instructional approach (classroom, on-the-job, PC-based, home study, etc.). Where testing is a program component, varying degrees of attention are given to test construction and test administration as they relate to nationally accepted standards (reliability, validity, job analysis, subject weighting, cut scores, test security, etc.).

Needed is a mechanism for regulatory authorities to use in determining which certificate-issuing programs to recognize. A premise that large programs are probably good and small ones are probably not, while perhaps expedient, is neither valid nor fair. FDA and the CFP have identified "third party" accreditation of certifiers based upon specified standards as a practical means for judging acceptability for universal acceptance.

However, at the time of the publication of the 1997 Food Code, although it has worked diligently, the CFP Food Manager Certification Committee/Accreditation Subcommittee has not yet completed its work in gaining consensus on the scope of the needed accreditation (test vs program), the standards to be applied, and the most appropriate accrediting organization.

Nonetheless, the 1997 Food Code is modified to reflect FDA's intent and to be responsive to our understanding of the long-range intent of the CFP, i.e., to provide a framework for universally accepting certain food managers' certificates. The 1997 Food Code recognizes that framework as one means of meeting the knowledge requirement once remaining decisions about accreditation criteria are made and announced. Refer to the CFP recommendations 90-02-07 "Report on Food Protection Management Certification" and 96-02-04 "Demonstration of Knowledge."


2-103.11   Person in Charge.

A primary responsibility of the person in charge is to ensure compliance with Code requirements. Any individual present in areas of a food establishment where food and food-contact items are exposed presents a potential contamination risk. By controlling who is allowed in those areas and when visits are scheduled and by assuring that all authorized persons in the establishment, such as delivery, maintenance and service personnel, and pest control operators, comply with the Code requirements, the person in charge establishes an important barrier to food contamination.

Tours of food preparation areas serve educational and promotional purposes; however, the timing of such visits is critical to food safety. Tours may disrupt standard or routine operational procedures, and the disruption could lead to unsafe food. By scheduling tours during nonpeak hours the opportunities for contamination are reduced.

Disease or Medical Condition

2-201.11   Responsibility of the Person in Charge to Require Reporting by Food Employees and Applicants.*

A wide range of communicable diseases and infections may be transmitted by infected food employees to consumers through food or food utensils. Proper management of a food establishment operation begins with employing healthy people and instituting a system of identifying employees who present a risk of transmitting foodborne pathogens to food or to other employees. In order to protect the health of both consumers and employees, information concerning the health status of applicants and food employees must be disclosed to the person in charge.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits medical examinations and inquiries as to the existence, nature, or severity of a disability before extending a conditional offer of employment. In order for the permit holder and the person in charge to be in compliance with this particular aspect of the Code and the ADA, a conditional job offer must be made before making inquiries about the applicant's health status.

Furthermore, an applicant to whom an employment offer is conditionally made or a food employee who meets the Code conditions that require restriction from certain duties or exclusion must be accommodated to the extent provided under the ADA. That is, if there is an accommodation that will not pose an undue hardship and that will prevent the transmission of the disease(s) of concern through food, such accommodation, e.g., reassignment to duties that fulfill the intent of restriction or exclusion, must be made. It should be noted that the information provided here about the ADA is intended to alert employers to the existence of ADA and related CFR requirements. For a comprehensive understanding of the ADA and its implications, consult the references listed in the References Annex that relate to this section of the Code or contact the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The information required from applicants and food employees is designed to identify employees who may be suffering from a disease which can be transmitted through food. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to convey to applicants and employees the importance of notifying the person in charge of changes in their health status. Once notified, the person in charge can take action to prevent the likelihood of the transmission of foodborne illness.

Applicants, to whom a conditional offer of employment is extended, and food employees are required to report specific high-risk conditions, medical symptoms, and previous illnesses. The symptoms listed may be indicative of a disease that is transmitted through the food supply by infected food employees.

As required by the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990", on August 16, 1992, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a list of infectious and communicable diseases that are transmitted through food. CDC updates the list annually. The list is divided into two parts: pathogens often transmitted (List I) and pathogens occasionally transmitted (List II) through food by infected food employees.

The Lists below summarize the CDC list by comparing the common symptoms of each pathogen. Symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, jaundice, and sore throat with fever. CDC has no evidence that the HIV virus is transmissible via food. Therefore, a food employee positive for the HIV virus is not of concern unless suffering secondary illness listed below.

LIST I.   Pathogens Often Transmitted by Food Contaminated by Infected Employees.
    D F V J S
  1. Hepatitis A virus - F - J -
  2. Salmonella typhi - F - - -
  3. Shigella species D F V - -
  4. Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses D F V - -
  5. Staphylococcus aureus D - V - -
  6. Streptococcus pyogenes     - F - - S
LIST II.    Pathogens Occasionally Transmitted by Food Contaminated by Infected Employees.
    D F V J S
  1. Campylobacter jejuni D F V - -
  2. Entamoeba histolytica D F - - -
  3. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli D - - - -
  4. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli D - V - -
  5. Giardia lamblia D - - - -
  6. Non-typhoidal Salmonella D F V - -
  7. Rotavirus D F V - -
  8. Taenia solium - - - - -
  9. Vibrio cholerae 01 D - V - -
  10. Yersinia enterocolitica D F V - -
D = Diarrhea   V = Vomiting   S = Sore throat with fever
F = Fever   J = Jaundice

The symptoms listed in the Code cover the common symptoms experienced by persons suffering from the pathogens identified by CDC as transmissible through food by infected food employees. An employee suffering from any of the symptoms listed presents an increased risk of transmitting foodborne illness.

The high-risk conditions that require reporting are designed to be used with the symptoms listed to identify employees who may be suffering from an illness due to the following pathogens: Salmonella typhi, Shigella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, and hepatitis A virus. The specific conditions requiring reporting were identified by CDC as significant contributing factors to the incidence of foodborne illness.

The 4 organisms listed have been designated by CDC as having high infectivity. This designation is based on the number of confirmed cases reported that involved food employees infected with one of these organisms and the severity of the medical consequences to those who become ill.

Lesions containing pus that may occur on a food employee's hands, as opposed to such wounds on other parts of the body, represent the most direct threat for introducing Staphylococcus aureus into food. Consequently, a double barrier is required to cover hand and wrist lesions. Pustular lesions on the arms are less of a concern when usual food preparation practices are employed and, therefore, a single barrier is allowed. However, if the food preparation practices entail contact of the exposed portion of the arm with food, a barrier equivalent to that required for the hands and wrists would be necessitated. Lesions on other parts of the body need to be covered; but, an impermeable bandage is not considered necessary for food safety purposes.

2-201.12   Exclusions and Restrictions.*

Restriction or exclusion of food employees suffering from a disease or medical symptom listed in the Code is necessary due to the increased risk that the food being prepared will be contaminated with a pathogenic organism transmissible through food. A person suffering from any of the symptoms or medical conditions listed may be suffering from a disease transmissible through food.

Because of the high infectivity (ability to invade and multiply) and virulence (ability to produce severe disease) of Salmonella typhi, Shigella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, and hepatitis A virus, a food employee diagnosed with an active case of illness caused by any of these four pathogens must be excluded from food establishments. The exclusion is based on the severe medical consequences to individuals infected with these organisms, i.e., hospitalization and even death.

Restrictions and exclusions vary according to the population served because highly susceptible populations have increased vulnerability to foodborne illness. For example, foodborne illness in a healthy individual may be manifested by mild flu-like symptoms. The same foodborne illness may have serious medical consequences in immunocompromised individuals. This point is reinforced by statistics pertaining to deaths associated with foodborne illness caused by Salmonella enteritidis. Over 70% of the deaths attributed to this organism occurred among individuals who for one reason or another were immunocompromised. This is why the restrictions and exclusions listed in the Code are especially stringent for food employees serving highly susceptible populations.

The symptoms experienced by individuals infected with Salmonella typhi, Shigella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, or hepatitis A virus are often severe and of sufficient duration that most employees will seek medical assistance. The Code provisions related to individuals who encounter any of the high-risk conditions listed and also suffer from any of the symptoms listed in the Code are designed to identify individuals who are likely to be suffering from an illness caused by 1 of the 4 organisms that requires exclusion.

Periodic testing of food employees for the presence of diseases transmissible through food is not cost effective or reliable. Therefore, restriction and exclusion provisions are triggered by the active symptoms and high-risk conditions listed. A high-risk condition alone does not trigger restriction or exclusion. The employee must also suffer from one of the symptoms listed.

The use of high-risk conditions alone as the sole basis for restricting or excluding food employees is difficult to justify. The high-risk conditions that must be reported apply only to the 4 organisms listed. Of the 4 organisms listed, hepatitis A presents a different twist to this rationale. Food employees who meet a high-risk condition involving hepatitis A may shed the virus before becoming symptomatic. In fact, the infected employee could be shedding hepatitis A virus for up to a week before experiencing symptoms of the infection. However, even in light of this fact, blanket exclusion or restriction of a food employee solely because of a high-risk condition involving hepatitis A is not justified.

The following summarize the rationale for not restricting or excluding an asymptomatic food employee simply because the employee meets a high-risk condition involving hepatitis A:

  1. Because hepatitis A virus infection can occur without clinical illness (i.e., without symptoms), or because a person may shed hepatitis A virus in the stool for up to a week before becoming symptomatic, it is possible that a person unknowingly may have been exposed to an asymptomatic hepatitis A virus shedder or to an infected person who is in the incubation stage. No restriction/exclusion routinely occurs under these -- presumably much more common -- circumstances.

  2. Even though the asymptomatic food employee may be infected with hepatitis A virus and may in fact be shedding virus in the stool, foodborne transmission of hepatitis A virus is unlikely if the employee practices good personal hygiene, such as washing hands after going to the bathroom.

  3. Exclusions from work for prolonged periods of time may involve economic hardship for the food employee excluded.

Based on the information presented, exclusion or restriction solely on a high-risk condition would be potentially controversial and of questionable merit.

Because of the high infectivity of hepatitis A, the person in charge or regulatory authority should handle employees and applicants who meet a high-risk condition involving hepatitis A on a case-by-case basis. With this approach in mind, the following criteria are offered as a guide. First, the following information should be collected and analyzed:

  1. Clarify the type of contact the individual had with another person diagnosed with hepatitis A virus infection. Keep in mind that the closer the contact (i.e., living in the same household as the infected person), the more likely it is that a susceptible person may become infected.

  2. What job does the food employee perform at the food establishment, e.g., is the employee involved in food preparation?

  3. When did the employee begin work at the establishment?

  4. What level of personal hygiene does the individual exhibit? For example, does the individual adhere to the handwashing requirements specified in the Code?

  5. Has the individual suffered from hepatitis A in the past? If the answer to this question is yes, was blood testing done? If the individual did have hepatitis A in the past, the individual is immune from re-infection.

  6. In terms of the current high-risk condition, has the individual received immune globin (IG)? When?

In addition, upon being notified of the high-risk condition, the person in charge should immediately:

  1. Discuss the traditional modes of transmission of hepatitis A virus infection with the food employee involved.

  2. Advise the food employee to observe good hygienic practices both at home and at work. This includes a discussion of the use of the double handwash technique described in the Code after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling stool-soiled material.

  3. Review the symptoms listed in the Code that are caused by hepatitis A infection.

  4. Remind the employee of the employee's responsibility as specified in the Code to inform the person in charge immediately upon the onset of any of the symptoms listed in the Code.

  5. In light of the high infectivity of hepatitis A, ensure that the employee stops work immediately if any of the symptoms described in the Code develop and reports to the person in charge.

If after consideration of all the information gathered, the person in charge feels that the employee in question is likely to develop hepatitis A, restriction or exclusion of the individual's activities should be considered.

2-201.13   Removal of Exclusions and Restrictions.

Chapter 2 provisions related to employee health are structured to recognize certain characteristics of each of the four infectious agents, the risk of illness presented by asymptomatic shedders, the increased risk to highly susceptible populations, and the need to provide extra protection to those high-risk populations.

Asymptomatic shedders are food employees who do not exhibit the symptoms of foodborne illness but who are identified through laboratory analysis of their stools to have any one of the three bacterial pathogens identified in Chapter 2 in their gastrointestinal system.

The duties that an asymptomatic shedder performs in a food establishment are restricted if the establishment serves a general population or, if a highly susceptible population is involved, the shedder is excluded. Several considerations factor into the need to preclude asymptomatic shedders from food establishment functions that may result in the transmission of foodborne disease.

  • Outbreaks of foodborne illness involving Salmonella typhi have been traced to asymptomatic food employees who have transmitted the pathogen to food, causing illness.

  • There is some epidemiological evidence of transmission of food via food employees infected with Shigella spp.

  • Healthy consumers are at risk due to a low infectious dose of Shigella spp.

  • Despite lacking epidemiological evidence of transmission of food via food employees infected with E. coli O157:H7, the documented ease of transmitting it from person-to-person in a day care setting, suggests a low infectious dose and the potential for the organism to be transmitted through food.

  • The severity and consequences of one of the illnesses, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), associated with E. coli O157:H7 warrant the institution of disease interventions.

  • Restriction in a food establishment that does not serve a highly susceptible populaiton affords protection for the general population and the immune-suppressed subset of the general population.

The risk that a communicable disease will be transmitted by food employees who are asymptomatic shedders varies depending upon the hygienic habits of the worker, the food itself and how it is prepared, the susceptibility of the population served, and the infectivity of the organism.

To minimize the risk in all food establishments of the transmission of foodborne disease by an asymptomatic shedder and based on the factors listed above, all known asymptomatic shedders of the three bacterial pathogens are either restricted or excluded, depending on the population served. Requiring restriction for asymptomatic shedders of all three of the bacterial pathogens results in a uniform criterion and is consistent with APHA-published recommendations in the "Control of Communicable Diseases in Man."

The Code requires medical clearance, based on criteria designed to detect the shedder state, before a person who had a recent illness from, or is identified as a shedder of any of the three bacterial infectious agents is allowed to resume the duties from which that person was restricted or, in the case of an establishment that serves a highly susceptible population, before the person may return to work.

With respect to a food employee in an establishment that serves an immunocompromised population, the Code provisions are more stringent in that exclusion is required in 3 situations in which it is not required for food employees in other food establishments. Those 3 situations involve an employee who:

 (A) Meets a high-risk condition specified in ¶ 2-201.11(D) and has a symptom of acute gastrointestinal illness;

 (B) Is diagnosed as an asymptomatic shedder of S. typhi, Shigella spp. or Escherichia coli O157:H7; or

 (C) Had a recent illness caused by S.typhi, Shigella spp., or E. coli O157:H7.

The exclusion is in effect until a licensed physician provides the medical clearance specifically outlined in § 8-501.40 of the Code, indicating that the infectious agent is not detected.

2-201.14   Responsibility of a Food Employee or an Applicant to Report to the Person in Charge.*

This reporting requirement is an important component of any food safety program. A food employee who suffers from any of the illnesses or medical symptoms or meets any of the high-risk conditions in this Code may transmit disease through the food being prepared. The person in charge must first be aware that an employee or prospective employee is suffering from a disease or symptom listed in the Code before steps can be taken to reduce the chance of foodborne illness.

Some of the symptoms that must be reported may be observed by the person in charge. However, food employees and applicants share a responsibility for preventing foodborne illness and are obligated to inform the person in charge if they are suffering from any of the symptoms, high-risk conditions, or medical diagnoses listed in the Code and food employees must comply with restrictions or exclusions imposed upon them.

2-201.15   Reporting by the Person in Charge.*

Notification of the regulatory authority by the person in charge of an employee or an applicant suffering illness caused by Salmonella typhi, Shigella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, or hepatitis A virus allows the regulatory authority to monitor for any associated cases of foodborne illness.

Hands and Arms

2-301.11   Clean Condition.*

The hands are particularly important in transmitting foodborne pathogens. Food employees with dirty hands and/or fingernails may contaminate the food being prepared. Therefore, any activity which may contaminate the hands must be followed by thorough handwashing in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Code.

Even seemingly healthy employees may serve as reservoirs for pathogenic microorganisms that are transmissible through food. Staphylococci, for example, can be found on the skin and in the mouth, throat, and nose of many employees. The hands of employees can be contaminated by touching their nose or other body parts.

2-301.12   Cleaning Procedure.*

Many employees fail to wash their hands as often as necessary and even those who do may use a flawed technique. It takes more than just the use of soap and running water to remove the transient pathogens that may be present. It is the abrasive action obtained by vigorously rubbing the surfaces being cleaned that loosens the dirt or soil present.

Many of the diseases that are transmissible through food may be harbored in the employee's intestinal tract and shed in the feces. Proper handwashing by employees after defecation establishes a protective barrier against the transmission of pathogens that may be present in the feces.

Pathogens transmissible through food may also be present in other body fluids. Therefore, precautions would be appropriate whenever an employee handles body fluids or body wastes directly or indirectly, because of the increased risk of the presence of disease. Fecal material and other contaminants routinely accumulate under the fingernails; therefore, particular attention must be given to the fingernails, fingertips, and areas between the fingers. Once the material and soil are loosened, they can be washed away in the rinsing step of proper handwashing.

2-301.13   Special Handwash Procedures.*

This section is reserved.

In earlier editions of the Code, FDA's model contained a provision for a Special Procedure in certain situations. Pursuant to a 1996 Conference for Food Protection (CFP) Recommendation, the text of this Code provision is removed and the section is reserved. It is FDA's intent to further research the matter and to submit the findings to the CFP for reconsideration of the matter.

2-301.14   When to Wash.*

The hands may become contaminated when the food employee engages in specific activities. The increased risk of contamination requires handwashing immediately after the activities listed. The specific examples listed in this Code section are not intended to be all inclusive. Employees must wash their hands after any activity which may result in contamination of the hands.

2-301.15   Where to Wash.

Effective handwashing is essential for minimizing the likelihood of the hands becoming a vehicle of cross contamination. It is important that handwashing be done only at a properly equipped handwashing lavatory in order to help ensure that food employees effectively clean their hands. Handwashing lavatories are to be conveniently located, always accessible for handwashing, maintained so they provide proper water temperatures and pressure, and equipped with suitable hand cleansers, nail brushes, and disposable towels and waste containers, or hand dryers. It is inappropriate to wash hands in a food preparation sink since this may result in avoidable contamination of the sink and the food prepared therein. Service sinks may not be used for food employee handwashing since this practice may introduce additional hand contaminants because these sinks may be used for the disposal of mop water, toxic chemicals, and a variety of other liquid wastes. Such wastes may contain pathogens from cleaning the floors of food preparation areas and toilet rooms and discharges from ill persons.

2-301.16   Hand Sanitizers.

This provision is intended to ensure that an antimicrobial product applied to the hands is both, 1) safe and effective when applied to human skin, and 2) a safe food additive when applied to bare hands that will come into direct contact with food. The prohibition against bare hand contact contained in ¶ 3-301.11(B) applies only to an exposed ready-to-eat food.

As a Drug Product

Since hand sanitizing products are intended and labeled for topical antimicrobial use by food employees in the prevention of disease in humans, these products are "drugs" under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act § 201(g). As drugs, hand sanitizers and dips must be manufactured by an establishment that is duly registered with the FDA as a drug manufacturer; their manufacturing, processing, packaging, and labeling must be performed in conformance with drug Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's); and the product must be listed with FDA as a drug product.

Products having the same formulation, labeling, and dosage form as those that existed in the marketplace on or before December 4, 1975 or that are authorized by USDA are being evaluated under the OTC (over the counter) Drug Review by FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Otherwise, the far more extensive FDA review process for a new drug application (NDA) is required before marketing.

Acceptable antimicrobial ingredients for hand sanitizers will be identified in a future final monograph issued under the OTC Drug Review for OTC Antiseptic Handwashes. Information about whether a specific product has been accepted and included in the proposed monograph may be obtained from the manufacturer. You may also refer to Federal Register (59) No. 116, June 17, 1994, Tentative Final Monograph (TFM) for Health Care Antiseptic Drug Products; Proposed Rule. This TFM describes the inclusion of hand sanitizers in this Review, on page 31440 under Comment 28 of Part II.

The List of Proprietary Substances and Nonfood Compounds prepared by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office.

As a Food Additive

A product's manufacturer can provide documentation about whether its product: 1) is regulated for the intended use as a Food Additive, 2) is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for the intended use in contact with food, or 3) has been included in a letter exempting the product from the requirements of the federal food additive regulations.


2-302.11   Maintenance.

The requirement for fingernails to be trimmed, filed, and maintained is designed to address both the cleanability of areas beneath the fingernails and the possibility that fingernails or pieces of the fingernails may end up in the food due to breakage. Failure to remove fecal material from beneath the fingernails after defecation can be a major source of pathogenic organisms. Ragged fingernails present cleanability concerns and may harbor pathogenic organisms.


2-303.11   Prohibition.

Items of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and watches may collect soil and the construction of the jewelry may hinder routine cleaning. As a result, the jewelry may act as a reservoir of pathogenic organisms transmissible through food.

An additional hazard associated with jewelry is the possibility that pieces of the item or the whole item itself may fall into the food being prepared. Hard foreign objects in food may cause medical problems for consumers, such as chipped and/or broken teeth and internal cuts and lesions.

Outer Clothing

2-304.11   Clean Condition.

Dirty clothing may harbor diseases that are transmissible through food. Food employees who inadvertently touch their dirty clothing may contaminate their hands. This could result in contamination of the food being prepared. Food may also be contaminated through direct contact with dirty clothing. In addition, employees wearing dirty clothes send a negative message to consumers about the level of sanitation in the establishment.

Food Contamination Prevention

2-401.11   Eating, Drinking, or Using Tobacco.*

Proper hygienic practices must be followed by food employees in performing assigned duties to ensure the safety of the food, prevent the introduction of foreign objects into the food, and minimize the possibility of transmitting disease through food. Smoking or eating by employees in food preparation areas is prohibited because of the potential that the hands, food, and food-contact surfaces may become contaminated. Insanitary personal practices such as scratching the head, placing the fingers in or about the mouth or nose, and indiscriminate and uncovered sneezing or coughing may result in food contamination. Poor hygienic practices by employees may also adversely affect consumer confidence in the establishment.

Food preparation areas such as hot grills may have elevated temperatures and the excessive heat in these areas may present a medical risk to the workers as a result of dehydration. Consequently, in these areas food employees are allowed to drink from closed containers that are carefully handled.

2-401.12   Discharges from the Eyes, Nose, and Mouth.*

Discharges from the eyes, nose, or mouth through persistent sneezing or coughing by food employees can directly contaminate exposed food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles. When these poor hygienic practices cannot be controlled, the employee must be assigned to duties that minimize the potential for contaminating food and surrounding surfaces and objects.

Hair Restraints

2-402.11   Effectiveness.

Consumers are particularly sensitive to food contaminated by hair. Hair can be both a direct and indirect vehicle of contamination. Food employees may contaminate their hands when they touch their hair. A hair restraint keeps dislodged hair from ending up in the food and may deter employees from touching their hair.


2-403.11   Handling Prohibition.*

Dogs and other animals, like humans, may harbor pathogens that are transmissible through food. Handling or caring for animals that may be legally present is prohibited because of the risk of contamination of food employee hands and clothing. 

Chapter 3 Food 



3-101.11   Safe, Unadulterated, and Honestly Presented.*


3-201.11   Compliance with Food Law.*

A primary line of defense in ensuring that food meets the requirements of § 3-101.11 is to obtain food from approved sources, the implications of which are discussed below. However, it is also critical to monitor food products to ensure that, after harvesting and processing, they do not fall victim to conditions that endanger their safety, make them adulterated, or compromise their honest presentation. The regulatory community, industry, and consmers should exercise vigilance in controlling the conditions to which foods are subjected and be alert to signs of abuse. FDA considers food in hermetically sealed containers that are swelled or leaking to be adulterated and actionable under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Depending on the circumstances, rusted and pitted or dented cans may also present a serious potential hazard.

Food, at all stages of production, is susceptible to contamination. The source of food is important because pathogenic microorganisms may be present in the breeding stock of farm animals, in feeds, in the farm environment, in waters used for raising and freezing aquatic foods, and in soils and fertilizers in which plant crops are grown. Chemical contaminants that may be present in field soils, fertilizers, irrigation water, and fishing waters can be incorporated into food plants and animals.

Sources of molluscan shellfish are a particular concern because shellfish are frequently consumed raw or in an undercooked state and thus receive neither heat nor any other process that would destroy or inactivate microbial pathogens. For safety, these foods must be accompanied by certification that documents that they have been harvested from waters that meet the water quality standards contained in Part I of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Manual. Certification also provides confidence that processing, packaging, and shipping have been conducted under sanitary conditions.

Food should be purchased from commercial supplies under regulatory control. Home kitchens, with their varieties of food and open entry to humans and pet animals, are frequently implicated in the microbial contamination of food. Because commercial items seldom are eaten right away, the home kitchen's limited capacity for maintaining food at proper temperatures may result in considerable microbial growth and toxin production by microorganisms introduced through the diverse sources of contamination. Controlled processing is required for the safe preparation of food entering commerce.

Sources of packaged food must be labeled in accordance with law. Proper labeling of foods allows consumers to make informed decisions about what they eat. Many consumers, as a result of an existing medical condition, may be sensitive to specific foods or food ingredients. This sensitivity may result in dangerous medical consequences should certain foods or ingredients be unknowingly consumed. In addition, consumers have a basic right to be protected from misbranding and fraud.

Except for certain species of large tuna and raw molluscan shellfish, if fish are intended for raw consumption, they must be properly frozen before they are served. If this process is done off-premises, purchase specifications ensuring that proper freezing techniques are used to destroy parasites must be provided. This is necessary because fish from natural bodies of water may carry parasitic worms that can infect and injure consumers who eat such raw fish dishes as sushi, ceviche, green (lightly marinated) herring, and cold-smoked salmon. The worms are often deeply imbedded inside fish muscle. Thorough freezing kills these worms if the fish are subjected to a low enough temperature for a long enough time.

3-201.12   Food in a Hermetically Sealed Container.*

Processing food at the proper high temperature for the appropriate time is essential to kill bacterial spores that, under certain conditions in an airtight container, begin to grow and produce toxin. Of special concern is the lethal toxin of Clostridium botulinum, an organism whose spores (i.e., survival stages for non-growth conditions) are found throughout the environment. Even slight underprocessing of low acid food which is canned can be dangerous, because spoilage microbes are killed and there are no signs to warn consumers that botulinum spores have germinated into vegetative cells and produced their toxin. If these foods are not processed to be commercially sterile, they must be received frozen or under proper refrigeration.

Refer also to the public health reason for §§ 3-101.11 and 3-201.11.

3-201.13   Fluid Milk and Milk Products.*

Milk, which is a staple for infants and very young children with incomplete immunity to infectious diseases, is susceptible to contamination with a variety of microbial pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes, and provides a rich medium for their growth. This is also true of milk products. Pasteurization is required to eliminate pathogen contamination in milk and products derived from milk. Dairy products are normally perishable and must be received under proper refrigeration conditions.

3-201.14   Fish.*

After December 18, 1997, all processors of fish are required by 21 CFR 123 to have conducted a hazard analysis of their operation, identify each hazard that is reasonably likely to occur, and implement a HACCP plan to control each identified hazard. Retailers should assure that their seafood suppliers have complied with this requirement. Hazards known to be associated with specific fish species are discussed in the FDA Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guide, available from the FDA Office of Seafood. Species-related hazards include pathogens, parasites, natural toxins, histamine, chemicals, and drugs.

The seafood implicated in histamine poisoning are the scombroid toxin-forming species, defined in 21 CFR 123.3(m) as meaning bluefish, mahi-mahi, tuna, and other species, whether or not in the family Scrombridae, in which significant levels of histamine may be produced in the fish flesh by decarboxylation of free histidine as a result of exposure of the fish after capture to temperatures that allow the growth of mesophilic bacteria.

Ciguatera toxin is carried to humans by contaminated fin fish from the extreme southeastern U.S., Hawaii, and subtropical and tropical areas worldwide. In the south Florida, Bahamian, and Caribbean regions, barracuda, amberjack, horse-eye jack, black jack, other large species of jack, king mackerel, large groupers, and snappers are particularly likely to contain ciguatoxin. Many other species of large predatory fishes may be suspect. In Hawaii and throughout the central Pacific, barracuda, amberjack, and snapper are frequently ciguatoxic, and many other species both large and small are suspect. Mackerel and barracuda are frequently ciguatoxic from mid to northeastern Australian waters.

3-201.15   Molluscan Shellfish.*

Pathogens found in waters from which molluscan shellfish are harvested can cause disease in consumers. Molluscan shellfish include: 1) oysters; 2) clams; 3) mussels; and, 4) scallops, except where the final product is the shucked adductor muscle only. The pathogens of concern include both bacteria and viruses.

Pathogens from the harvest area are of particular concern in molluscan shellfish because: 1) environments in which molluscan shellfish grow are commonly subject to contamination from sewage, which may contain pathogens, and to naturally occurring bacteria, which may also be pathogens; 2) molluscan shellfish filter and concentrate pathogens that may be present in surrounding waters; and, 3) molluscan shellfish are often consumed whole, either raw or partially cooked.

To minimize the risk of molluscan shellfish containing pathogens of sewage origin, State and foreign government agencies, called Shellfish Control Authorities, classify waters in which molluscan shellfish are found, based, in part, on an assessment of water quality. As a result of these classifications, molluscan shellfish harvesting is allowed from some waters, not from others, and only at certain times or under certain restrictions from others. Shellfish Control Authorities then exercise control over the molluscan shellfish harvesters to ensure that harvesting takes place only when and where it has been allowed.

Significant elements of Shellfish Control Authorities' efforts to control the harvesting of molluscan shellfish include: 1) a requirement that containers of in-shell molluscan shellfish (shellstock) bear a tag that identifies the type and quantity of shellfish, harvester, harvest location, and date of harvest; and, 2) a requirement that mollluscan shellfish harvesters be licensed; 3) a requirement that processors that shuck molluscan shellfish or ship, reship, or repack the shucked product be certified; and, 4) a requirement that containers of shucked molluscan shellfish bear a label with the name, address, and certification number of the shucker-packer or repacker.

Pathogens, such as Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio cholerae, and Listeria monocytogenes that may be present in low numbers at the time that molluscan shellfish are harvested, may increase to more hazardous levels if they are exposed to time/temperature abuse. To minimize the risk of pathogen growth, Shellfish Control Authorities place limits on the time between harvest and refrigeration. The length of time is dependant upon either the month of the year or the average monthly maximum air temperature (AMMAT) at the time of harvest, which is determined by the Shellfish Control Authority.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) results from shellfish feeding upon toxic microorganisms such as dinoflagellates. In the U.S., PSP is generally associated with the consumption of mulluscan shellfish from the northeast and northwest coastal regions of the U.S. PSP in other parts of the world has been associated with molluscan shellfish from environments ranging from tropical to temperate waters. In addition, in the U.S., PSP toxin has recently been reported from the viscera of mackerel, lobster, dungeness crabs, tanner crabs, and red rock crabs.

Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP) in the U.S. is generally associated with the consumption of molluscan shellfish harvested along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and, sporadically, along the southern Atlantic coast. There has been a significant occurrence of toxins similar to NSP in New Zealand, and some suggestions of occurrence elsewhere.

For diarrhetic shellfish poisoning there has been no documented occurrence to date in the U.S. However, instances have been documented in Japan, southeast Asia, Scandinavia, western Europe, Chile, New Zealand, and eastern Canada.

Amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) is generally associated with the consumption of molluscan shellfish from the northeast and northwest coasts of North America. It has not yet been a problem in the Gulf of Mexico, although the algae that produce the toxin have been found there. ASP toxin has recently been identified as a problem in the viscera of dungeness crab, tanner crab, red rock crab, and anchovies along the west coast of the United States.

Marine toxins are not ordinarily a problem in scallops if only the adductor muscle is consumed. However, products such as roe-on scallops and whole scallops do present a potential hazard for natural toxins.

To reduce the risk of illness associated with raw shellfish consumption, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administers the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). The NSSP is a tripartite, cooperative action plan involving federal and state public health officials and the shellfish industry. Those groups work together to improve shellfish safety. States regularly monitor waters to ensure that they are safe before harvesting is permitted. FDA routinely audits the states' classification of shellfish harvesting areas to verify that none pose a threat to public health. Patrolling of closed shellfishing waters minimizes the threat of illegal harvesting or "bootlegging" from closed waters. Bootlegging is a criminal activity and a major factor in shellfish-borne illnesses. Purchases from certified dealers that adhere to NSSP controls is essential to keep risks to a minimum.

3-201.16   Wild Mushrooms.*

Over 5000 species of fleshy mushrooms grow naturally in North America. The vast majority have never been tested for toxicity. It is known that about 15 species are deadly and another 60 are toxic to humans whether they are consumed raw or cooked. An additional 36 species are suspected of being poisonous, whether raw or cooked. At least 40 other species are poisonous if eaten raw, but are safe after proper cooking.

Some wild mushrooms that are extremely poisonous may be difficult to distinguish from edible species. In most parts of the country there is at least one organization that include individuals who can provide assistance with both identification and program design. Governmental agencies, universities, and mycological societies are examples of such groups. If a food establishment chooses to sell wild mushrooms, management must recognize and address the need for a sound identification program for providing safe wild mushrooms.

Refer also to the public health reason for §§ 3-101.11 and 3-201.11.

3-201.17   Game Animals.* 

The primary concern regarding game animals relates to animals obtained in the wild. Wild game animals may be available as a source of food only if a regulatory inspection program is in place to ensure that wild animal products are safe. This is important because wild animals may be carriers of viruses, rickettsiae, bacteria, or parasites that cause illness (zoonoses) in humans. Some of these diseases can be severe in the human host. In addition to the risk posed to consumers of game that is not subject to an inspection program, there is risk to those who harvest and prepare wild game because they may contract infectious diseases such as rabies or tularemia.

Specifications for Receiving

3-202.11   Temperature.*

Temperature is one of the prime factors that controls the growth of bacteria in food. Many, though not all, types of pathogens and spoilage bacteria are prevented from multiplying to microbiologically significant levels in properly refrigerated foods that are not out of date. High temperatures for a long enough time, such as those associated with thorough cooking, kill or inactivate many types of microorganisms. However, cooking does not always destroy the toxins produced in foods by certain bacteria (such as the enterotoxins of Staphylococcus aureus). Cooking or hot holding that follows temperature abuse may not make the food safe. Keeping cooked foods hot as required in the Code prevents significant regrowth of heat-injured microorganisms and prevents recontamination with bacteria that are newly introduced.

3-202.12   Additives.*

It is imperative for safety that food supplies come from sources that are in compliance with laws regarding chemical additives and contaminants.

Food additives are substances which, by their intended use, become components of food, either directly or indirectly. They must be strictly regulated. In excessive amounts or as a result of unapproved application, additives may be harmful to the consumer. Unintentional contaminants or residues also find their way into the food supply. The tolerances or safe limits designated for these chemicals are determined by risk assessment evaluations based on toxicity studies and consumption estimates.

3-202.13   Shell Eggs.*

Damaged shells permit the entry of surface bacteria to the inside of eggs. Eggs are an especially good growth medium for many types of bacteria. Damaged eggs must not be used as food.

3-202.14   Eggs and Milk Products, Pasteurized.*

Liquid egg, fluid milk, and milk products are especially good growth media for many types of bacteria and must be pasteurized. Pasteurization is a heat process that will kill or inactivate bacteria and other harmful microorganisms likely to be in these potentially hazardous foods. Freezing and drying of unpasteurized products will stop microbial growth and may reduce their bacterial populations; however, some organisms will survive because neither process invariably kills bacteria. Under certain conditions, freezing and drying may preserve microbes. An alternative to pasteurization may be applicable to certain cheese varieties cured or aged for a specified amount of time prior to marketing for consumption.

3-202.15   Package Integrity.*

Damaged or incorrectly applied packaging may allow the entry of bacteria or other contaminants into the contained food. If the integrity of the packaging has been compromised, contaminants such as Clostridium botulinum may find their way into the food. In anaerobic conditions (lack of oxygen), botulism toxin may be formed.

Packaging defects may not be readily apparent. This is particularly the case with low acid canned foods. Close inspection of cans for imperfections or damage may reveal punctures or seam defects. In many cases, suspect packaging may have to be inspected by trained persons using magnifying equipment. Irreversible and even reversible swelling of cans (hard swells and flippers) may indicate can damage or imperfections (lack of an airtight, i.e., hermetic seal). Swollen cans may also indicate that not enough heat was applied during processing (underprocessing). Suspect cans must be returned and not offered for sale.

3-202.16   Ice.*

Freezing does not invariably kill microorganisms; on the contrary, it may preserve them. Therefore, ice that comes into contact with food to cool it or that is used directly for consumption must be as safe as drinking water that is periodically tested and approved for consumption.

3-202.17   Shucked Shellfish, Packaging and Identification.

Plastic containers commonly used throughout the shellfish industry for shucked product bear specific information regarding the source of the shellfish as required by the NSSP Manual of Operations Part II. These containers must be nonreturnable so that there is no potential for their subsequent reuse by shellfish packers which could result in shucked product that is inaccurately identified by the label. The reuse of these containers within the food establishment must be assessed on the basis of the Food Code's criteria for multi-use containers and the likelihood that they will be properly relabeled to reflect their new contents.

3-202.18   Shellstock Identification.*

Accurate source identification of the harvesting area, harvester, and dealers must be contained on molluscan shellstock identification tags so that if a shellfish-borne disease outbreak occurs, the information is available to expedite the epidemiological investigation and regulatory action.

3-202.19   Shellstock, Condition.

Dirty, damaged, or dead shellstock can contaminate and degrade live and healthy shellstock and lead to foodborne illness. Harvesters have the primary responsibility for culling shellstock, but this responsibility continues throughout the distribution chain.

Original Containers and Records

3-203.11   Molluscan Shellfish, Original Container.

Lot separation is critical to isolating shellfish implicated in illness outbreaks and tracking them to their source. Proper identification is needed for tracing the origin and determining conditions of shellfish processing and shipment. If the lots are commingled at retail, traceability is undermined and the root of the problem may remain undetected. If no causative factors are identified in the food establishment, tracing the incriminated lot helps in identifying products that need to be recalled or growing waters that may need to be closed to harvesting.

3-203.12   Shellstock, Maintaining Identification.*

Accurate records that are maintained in a manner that allows them to be readily matched to each lot of shellstock provide the principal mechanism for tracing shellstock to its original source. If an outbreak occurs, regulatory authorities must move quickly to close affected growing areas or take other appropriate actions to prevent further illnesses. Records must be kept for 90 days to allow time for hepatitis A virus infections, which have an incubation period that is significantly longer than other shellfish-borne diseases, to come to light. The 90 day requirement is based on the following considerations:

Shelf-life of the product 14 days
Incubation period 56 days
Medical diagnosis and confirmation 5 days
Reporting 5 days
Epidemiological investigation 10 days
--------------- -----
Total 90 days

Preventing Contamination by Employees

3-301.11   Preventing Contamination from Hands.*

Refer to the public health reasons for §§ 2-301.11, 2-301.12, and 2-301.13. Even though bare hands should never contact exposed, ready-to-eat food, thorough handwashing is important in keeping gloves or other utensils from becoming vehicles for transferring microbes to the food.

Preventing Food and Ingredient Contamination

3-302.11   Packaged and Unpackaged Food - Protection, Separation, Packaging, and Segregation.*

Cross contamination can be avoided by separating raw animal foods from ready-to-eat foods. Cross contamination may also occur when raw unprepared vegetables contact ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods. Raw animal foods must also be separated from each other because required cooking temperatures are based on thermal destruction data and anticipated microbial load. These parameters vary with different types of raw animal foods.

Food that is inadequately packaged or contained in damaged packaging could become contaminated by microbes, dust, or chemicals introduced by products or equipment stored in close proximity or by persons delivering, stocking, or opening packages or overwraps.

Packaging must be appropriate for preventing the entry of microbes and other contaminants such as chemicals. These contaminants may be present on the outside of containers and may contaminate food if the packaging is inadequate or damaged, or when the packaging is opened. The removal of food product overwraps may also damage the package integrity of foods under the overwraps if proper care is not taken.

3-302.12   Food Storage Containers, Identified with Common Name of Food.

Certain foods may be difficult to identify after they are removed from their original packaging. Consumers may be allergic to certain foods or ingredients. The mistaken use of an ingredient, when the consumer has specifically requested that it not be used, may result in severe medical consequences.

The mistaken use of food from unlabeled containers could result in chemical poisoning. For example, foodborne illness and death have resulted from the use of unlabeled salt, instead of sugar, in infant formula and special dietary foods. Liquid foods, such as oils, and granular foods that may resemble cleaning compounds are also of particular concern.

3-302.13   Pasteurized Eggs, Substitute for Raw Shell Eggs for Certain Recipes.*

Raw or undercooked eggs that are used in certain dressings or sauces are particularly hazardous because the virulent organism Salmonella enteritidis may be present in raw shell eggs. Pasteurized eggs provide an egg product that is free of pathogens and is a ready-to-eat food. The pasteurized product should be substituted in a recipe that requires raw or undercooked eggs.

3-302.14   Protection from Unapproved Additives.*

Refer to the public health reason for § 3-202.12.

Use of unapproved additives, or the use of approved additives in amounts exceeding those allowed by food additive regulations could result in foodborne illness, including allergic reactions. For example, many adverse reactions have occurred because of the indiscriminate use of sulfites to retard "browning" of fruits and vegetables or to cause ground meat to look "redder" or fresher.

The concern for misuse of additives also applies to food establishments operating under a variance and to Annex 6 Food Processing Criteria which addresses the use of sodium nitrite or other curing agents in smoking and curing operations. However, if this process is done incorrectly, it could cause illness or death because of excessive nitrite or because the food is insufficiently preserved.

3-302.15   Washing Fruits and Vegetables.

Pathogenic organisms and chemicals may be present on the exterior surfaces of raw fruits and vegetables. Washing removes the majority of organisms and/or chemicals present. If nondrinking water is used, the fruits and vegetables could become contaminated.

Toxic or undesirable residues could be present in or on the food if chemicals used for washing purposes are unapproved or applied in excessive concentrations.

Preventing Contamination from Ice Used as a Coolant

3-303.11   Ice Used as Exterior Coolant, Prohibited as Ingredient.

Ice that has been in contact with unsanitized surfaces or raw animal foods may contain pathogens and other contaminants. For example, ice used to store or display fish or packaged foods could become contaminated with microbes present on the fish or packaging. If this ice is then used as a food ingredient, it could contaminate the final product.

3-303.12   Storage or Display of Food in Contact with Ice and Water.

Packages that are not watertight may allow entry of water that has been exposed to unsanitary exterior surfaces of packaging, causing the food to be contaminated. This may also result in the addition of water to the food that is unclaimed in the food's formulation and label.

Unpackaged foods such as fresh fish are often stored and/or displayed on ice. A potential for increasing the microbial load of a food exists because, as the ice melts, pathogens from one food may be carried by water to other foods. The potential for contamination is reduced by continuous draining of melting ice.

Preventing Contamination from Equipment, Utensils, and Linens

3-304.11   Food Contact with Equipment and Utensils.*
3-304.12   In-Use Utensils, Between-Use Storage.
3-304.13   Linens and Napkins, Use Limitation.
3-304.14   Wiping Cloths, Used for One Purpose.
3-304.15   Gloves, Use Limitation.
3-304.16   Using Clean Tableware for Second Portions and Refills.
3-304.17   Refilling Returnables.

Pathogens can be transferred to food from utensils that have been stored on surfaces which have not been cleaned and sanitized. They may also be passed on by consumers or employees directly, or indirectly from used tableware or food containers.

Some pathogenic microorganisms survive outside the body for considerable periods of time. Food that comes into contact directly or indirectly with surfaces that are not clean and sanitized is liable to such contamination. The handles of utensils, even if manipulated with gloved hands, are particularly susceptible to contamination.

Because of their absorbency, linens and napkins used as liners that contact food must be replaced whenever the container is refilled. Failure to replace such liners could cause the linens or napkins to become fomites.

Soiled wiping cloths and repeatedly used gloves, especially when moist, can become breeding grounds for pathogens that could be transferred to food. If used in this improper condition or stored with articles that contact ready-to-eat food, these items cause food contamination.

Slash-resistant gloves are not easily cleaned and sanitized. Their use with ready-to-eat foods could contaminate the food.

Preventing Contamination from the Premises

3-305.11   Food Storage.

3-305.12   Food Storage, Prohibited Areas.

Pathogens can contaminate and/or grow in food that is not stored properly. Drips of condensate and drafts of unfiltered air can be sources of microbial contamination for stored food. Shoes carry contamination onto the floors of food preparation and storage areas. Even trace amounts of refuse or wastes in rooms used as toilets or for dressing, storing garbage or implements, or housing machinery can become sources of food contamination. Moist conditions in storage areas promote microbial growth.

3-305.13   Vended Potentially Hazardous Food, Original Container.

The possibility of product contamination increases whenever food is exposed. Changing the container(s) for machine vended potentially hazardous food allows microbes that may be present an opportunity to contaminate the food. Pathogens could be present on the hands of the individual packaging the food, the equipment used, or the exterior of the original packaging. In addition, many potentially hazardous foods are vended in a hermetically sealed state to ensure product safety. Once the original seal is broken, the food is vulnerable to contamination.

3-305.14   Food Preparation

Food preparation activities may expose food to an environment that may lead to the food's contamination. Just as food must be protected during storage, it must also be protected during preparation. Sources of environmental contamination may include splash from cleaning operations, drips form overhead air conditioning vents, or air from an uncontrolled atmosphere such as may be encountered when preparing food in a building that is not constructed according to Food Code requirements.

Preventing Contamination by Consumers

3-306.11   Food Display.

During display, food can be contaminated even when there is no direct hand contact. Many microbes can be conveyed considerable distances on air currents through fine sprays or aerosols. These may originate from people breathing or sneezing, water sprays directed at drains, or condensate from air conditioners. Even wind gusts across sewage deposits and fertilized fields have been known to contaminate food in adjacent establishments where food was unprotected.

3-306.12   Condiments, Protection.

Unpackaged condiments are exposed to contamination by consumers who could be suffering from a disease transmissible through food. Once the condiments are contaminated, subsequent consumers using the condiments may be exposed to pathogens. Condiments in individual packages are protected from consumer contamination.

On- or off-site facilities for refilling condiment dispensers must be adequately equipped to ensure that the filling operation does not introduce contaminants.

3-306.13   Consumer Self-Service Operations.*

Raw foods of animal origin usually contain pathogens. In addition, these foods, if offered for consumer self-service, could cross contaminate other foods stored in the same display. Because raw foods of animal origin are assumed to be contaminated and do provide an ideal medium for the growth of pathogenic organisms, they should not be available for consumer self-service. Self-service operations of ready-to-eat foods also provide an opportunity for contamination by consumers. The risk of contamination can be reduced by supplying clean utensils and dispensers and by employee monitoring of these operations to ensure that the utensils and dispensers are properly used.

Bean sprouts that are displayed in produce areas for consumer self-service are potentially hazardous foods and appropriate refrigeration must be maintained. However, they are not considered ready-to-eat since they are intended to be washed by the consumer before consumption.

3-306.14   Returned Food, Reservice or Sale.*

Food can serve as a means of person-to-person transmission of disease agents such as hepatitis A virus. Any unpackaged foods, even bakery goods in a bread basket that are not potentially hazardous and that have been served to a consumer, but not eaten, can become vehicles for transmitting pathogenic microorganisms from the initial consumer to the next if the food is served again.

Preventing Contamination from Other Sources

3-307.11    Miscellaneous Sources of Contamination.

This Code section provides a category in which to capture sources of contamination not specifically delineated in Subparts 3-301 through 306. Codes prior to 1993 had such a provision for addressing food contamination for reasons other than those elsewhere specified. Regardless of its specificity, a Code can not anticipate all the diverse means by which food can become contaminated after receipt.


3-401.11   Raw Animal Foods.*

3-401.12   Microwave Cooking.*

3-401.13   Plant Food Cooking for Hot Holding.

Cooking, to be effective in eliminating pathogens, must be adjusted to a number of factors. These include the anticipated level of pathogenic bacteria in the raw product, the initial temperature of the food, and the food's bulk which affects the time to achieve the needed internal product temperature. Other factors to be considered include post-cooking heat rise and the time the food must be held at a specified internal temperature.

Greater numbers and varieties of pathogens generally are found on poultry than on other raw animal foods. Therefore, a higher temperature, in combination with the appropriate time is needed to cook these products.

To kill microorganisms food must be held at a sufficient temperature for the specified time. Cooking is a scheduled process in which each of a series of continuous time/temperature combinations can be equally effective. For example, in cooking a beef roast, the microbial lethality achieved at 121 minutes after it has reached 54°C (130°F) is the same lethality attained as if it were cooked for 3 minutes after it has reached 63°C (145°F).

Cooking requirements are based in part on the biology of pathogens. The thermal destruction of a microorganism is determined by its ability to survive heat. Different species of microorganisms have different susceptibilities to heat. Also, the growing stage of a species (such as the vegetative cell of bacteria, the trophozoite of protozoa, or the larval form of worms) is less resistant than the same organism's survival form (the bacterial spore, protozoan cyst, or worm egg).

Food characteristics also affect the lethality of cooking temperatures. Heat penetrates into different foods at different rates. High fat content in food reduces the effective lethality of heat. High humidity within the cooking vessel and the moisture content of food aid thermal destruction.

Heating a large roast too quickly with a high oven temperature may char or dry the outside, creating a layer of insulation that shields the inside from efficient heat penetration. To kill all pathogens in food, cooking must bring all parts of the food up to the required temperatures for the correct length of time.

The temperature and time combination criteria specified in Part 3-4 of this Code are based on the destruction of Salmonellae. This Part includes temperature and time parameters that provide "D" values (decimal log reduction values) that may surpass 7D. For example, at 63°C(145°F), a time span of 15 seconds will provide a 3D reduction of Salmonella enteritidis in eggs. This organism, if present in raw shell eggs, is generally found in relatively low numbers. Other foods, uncomminuted fish and meats including commercially raised game animal meat, specified as acceptable for cooking at this temperature and time parameter are expected to have a low level of internal contamination. The parameters are expected to provide destruction of the surface contaminants on these foods.

The parameters of 68°C (155°F) for 15 seconds specified for pork, ratites, injected meats and comminuted fish, meat, game animals commercially raised for food, and game animals that come under a USDA voluntary inspection program provide a 5D reduction of organisms based on the Goodfellow and Brown study. Ratites such as ostrich, emu, and rhea are included in this list of raw animals foods because when cooked to a temperature greater than 68°C (155°F), ratites exhibit a (metallic) "off" taste.

When USDA established the time and temperature parameters for 9 CFR 318.23 (known as the "patty rule"), the Agency based the 5D for Salmonella on extrapolations applied to the research done by Goodfellow and Brown to account for the lack of a "come up, come down" time in the thin, small mass beef patties. Consequently, there is no linear relationship between the patty rule and roast beef time and temperature parameters. The patty rule also provided for an 8D reduction in the number of E. coli. The time and temperature requirements in the Food Code for comminuted meats are comparable to the USDA requirements.

The parameters for cooking poultry, wild game animal meats, stuffed food products, etc., of 74°C(165°F) or above for 15 seconds yield greater than a 7D reduction.

The rapid increase in food temperature resulting from microwave heating does not provide the same cumulative time and temperature relationship necessary for the destruction of microorganisms as do conventional cooking methods. In order to achieve comparable lethality, the food must attain a temperature of 74°C (165°F) in all parts of the food. Since cold spots may exist in food cooking in a microwave oven, it is critical to measure the food temperature at multiple sites when the food is removed from the oven and then allow the food to stand covered for two minutes post microwave heating to allow thermal equalization and exposure. Although some microwave ovens are designed and engineered to deliver energy more evenly to the food than others, the important factor is to measure and ensure that the final temperature reaches 74°C (165°F) throughout the food.

"The factors that influence microwave thermal processes include many of the same factors that are important in conventional processes (mass of objects, shape of objects, specific heat and thermal conductivity, etc.). However, other factors are unique in affecting microwave heating, due to the nature of the electric field involved in causing molecular friction. These factors are exemplified by moisture and salt contents of foods, which play a far more important role in microwave than conventional heating." (Reference: Heddelson and Doores, See Annex 2)

Fresh fruits and vegetables that are heated for hot holding need only to be cooked to the temperature required for hot holding. These foods do not require the same level of microorganism destruction as do raw animal foods since these fruits and vegetables are ready-to-eat at any temperature. Cooking to the hot holding temperature of 60°C (140°F) prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria that may be present in or on these foods. In fact, the level of bacteria will be reduced over time at the specified hot holding temperature.


3-402.11   Parasite Destruction.*

Refer to the public health reason for § 3-201.11.

Lightly cooked, raw, raw-marinated, and cold-smoked fish may be desired by consumers for taste or perceived nutritional reasons. In order to ensure destruction of parasites, fish may be frozen before service as an alternative public health control to that which is provided by adequate cooking. Candling or other visual inspection techniques are not adequate to avoid the risk of parasites from fish which have not been frozen.

In response to information provided to the FDA office of Seafood, the Fish and Fishery Hazards and Controls Guide lists certain species of tuna as not being susceptible to parasites of concern and therefore are exempted from the freezing requirements for other fish species that are consumed raw.

3-402.12   Records, Creation and Retention.

Records must be maintained to verify that the critical limits required for food safety are being met. Records provide a check for both the operator and the regulator in determining that monitoring and corrective actions have taken place.


3-403.11   Reheating for Hot Holding.*

When food is held, cooled, and reheated in a food establishment, there is an increased risk from contamination caused by personnel, equipment, procedures, or other factors. If food is held at improper temperatures for enough time, pathogens have the opportunity to multiply to dangerous numbers. Proper reheating provides a major degree of assurance that pathogens will be eliminated. It is especially effective in reducing the numbers of Clostridium perfringens that may grow in meat, poultry, or gravy if these products were improperly held. Vegetative cells of C. perfringens can cause foodborne illness when they grow to high numbers. Although it takes as many as 1 million cells to cause foodborne illness, the generation time for C. perfringens is very short at temperatures just below adequate hot holding. Highly resistant C. perfringens spores will survive cooking and hot holding. If food is abused by being held below adequate hot holding temperatures, spores can germinate to become rapidly multiplying vegetative cells.

Although proper reheating will kill most organisms of concern, some toxins such as that produced by Staphylococcus aureus, cannot be inactivated through reheating of the food. It is imperative that food contamination be minimized to avoid this risk.

The potential for growth of pathogenic bacteria is greater in reheated cooked foods than in raw foods. This is because spoilage bacteria, which inhibit the growth of pathogens by competition on raw product, are killed during cooking. Subsequent recontamination will allow pathogens to grow without competition if temperature abuse occurs.

Refer to public health reason for § 3-401.12.

Temperature and Time Control

3-501.11   Frozen Food.

3-501.12   Potentially Hazardous Food, Slacking.

3-501.13   Thawing.

Freezing prevents microbial growth in foods, but usually does not destroy all microorganisms. Improper thawing provides an opportunity for surviving bacteria to grow to harmful numbers and/or produce toxins. If the food is then refrozen, significant numbers of bacteria and/or all preformed toxins are preserved.

3-501.14   Cooling.*

Proper cooling requires removing heat from food quickly enough to prevent microbial growth. Excessive time for cooling of potentially hazardous foods has been consistently identified as one of the leading contributing factors to foodborne illness. During extended cooling, potentially hazardous foods are subject to the growth of a variety of pathogenic microorganisms. A longer time near ideal bacterial incubation temperatures, 21°C - 49°C (70°F - 120°F), is to be avoided. If the food is not cooled in accordance with this Code requirement, pathogens may grow to sufficient numbers to cause foodborne illness.

If the cooking step prior to cooling is adequate and no recontamination occurs, all but the spore-forming organisms such as Clostridium perfringens should be killed or inactivated. However, under poorly monitored conditions, other pathogens such as Salmonella may be reintroduced. Thus, cooling requirements have been based on growth characteristics of organisms that grow rapidly under temperature abuse conditions.

A separate method for cooling shell eggs is allowed in food establishments because of the cumulative information that has been gathered about the specific dynamics of the particular pathogen of concern in intact shell eggs. Information continues to unfold and FDA and USDA are coordinating efforts to address the transportation and distribution of shell eggs from the processing level to the consumer. The two agencies intend to publish jointly an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address a range of food safety issues, including proper cooling to minimize growth of pathogens. As rules are developed, provisions of the Food Code will be adjusted to coincide.

Aside from the recognized need for an integrated approach to the cooling of eggs from farm to table, there are several germane facts that are currently known and that support unique provisions for cooling eggs at retail during this interim period until rules are adopted.

 There is only one type of microorganism, pathogenic to humans, which appears to be passed transovarially, i.e., Salmonella enteritidis (S.e.).

 S.e. has been shown to have an extended lag phase in shell eggs due to inhibitory characteristics of the albumen. Research indicates that the organisms are physically located on the exterior of the yolk membrane, in contact with the bacteriostatic albumen. Growth does not appear to begin until the yolk membrane is weakened by age or physically breached and the yolk nutrients, such as iron, become available to the organisms.

 Rapidly cooling eggs after washing by the producer or packer can cause damage to the eggs. The eggs may develop cracks and/or checks because of temperature gradients which could lead to absorption through the shell of microorganisms on the surface.

Based on these facts and current shell egg industry practices including techniques used in cleaning, packing, and transportation, shell eggs are allowed longer than 4 hours to cool to the temperature required under the Code. However, procedures should be encouraged that shorten the time eggs are stored at ideal temperatures for the growth of Salmonella spp. and that call for expedited delivery to consumers. Food establishment operators should coordinate with their suppliers to hasten egg deliveries and should minimize the amount of time involved in cooling eggs after they are received by arranging flats, cases, and cartons of shell eggs in refrigerated units in a way that maximizes the circulation of cooled air.

3-501.15   Cooling Methods.

Large food items, such as roasts, turkeys, and large containers of rice or refried beans, take longer to cool because of the mass and volume from which heat must be removed. By reducing the volume of the food in an individual container, the rate of cooling is dramatically increased and opportunity for pathogen growth is minimized. If the hot food container is tightly covered, the rate of heat transfer is reduced, i.e., the time required for cooling and the time the food is exposed to optimal temperatures for bacterial multiplication or toxin production are increased.

Alternatives to conventional methods include avoiding the need to cool larger masses by preparing smaller batches closer to periods of service or chilling while stirring hot food in containers within an ice water bath. Commercial refrigeration equipment is designed to hold cold food temperatures, not cool large masses of food. Rapid chilling equipment is designed to cool the food to acceptable temperatures quickly by using very low temperatures and high rates of air circulation.

3-501.16   Potentially Hazardous Food, Hot and Cold Holding.*

Bacterial growth and/or toxin production can occur if potentially hazardous food remains in the temperature "Danger Zone" of 5°C to 60°C (41°F to 140°F) too long. Up to a point, the rate of growth increases with an increase in temperature within this zone. Beyond the upper limit of the optimal temperature range for a particular organism, the rate of growth decreases. Operations requiring heating or cooling of food should be performed as rapidly as possible to avoid the possibility of bacterial growth.

3-501.17   Ready-to-Eat, Potentially Hazardous Food, Date Marking.*

3-501.18   Ready-to-Eat, Potentially Hazardous Food, Disposition.*

3-501.19   Time as a Public Health Control.*

Refrigeration prevents food from becoming a hazard by significantly slowing the growth of most microbes. The growth of some bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes, is significantly slowed but not stopped by refrigeration. Over a period of time, this and like organisms may increase to hazardous levels in ready-to-eat foods.

The date by which the food must be consumed takes into consideration the differences in growth of Listeria monocytogenes at 5°C (41°F) and 7°C (45°F). Based on a predictive growth curve modeling program for Listeria monocytogenes, ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food may be kept at 5°C (41°F) a total of 7 days or at 7°C (45°F) a total of 4 days. Therefore, the period of time allowed before consumption is shortened for food in refrigerators incapable of maintaining food at 5°C (41°F) but capable of maintaining it at 7°C (45°F) or below. Food which is prepared and held, or prepared, frozen, and thawed must be controlled by date marking to ensure its safety based on the total amount of time it was held at refrigeration temperature, and the opportunity for Listeria monocytogenes to multiply, before freezing and after thawing. Potentially hazardous refrigerated foods must be consumed or discarded by the expiration date.

Potentially hazardous food may be held without temperature control for short time periods not exceeding four hours because there will be no significant growth or toxin production possible in that limited time.

Specialized Processing Methods

3-502.11   Variance Requirement.*

Specific food processes that require a variance have historically resulted in more foodborne illness than standard processes. They present a significant health risk if not conducted under strict operational procedures. These types of operations may require the person in charge and food employees to use specialized equipment and demonstrate specific competencies. The variance requirement is designed to ensure that the proposed method of operation is carried out safely.

3-502.12   Reduced Oxygen Packaging, Criteria.*

A Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan is necessary when using reduced oxygen packaging (ROP) processing procedures. A variance is not required when the operation is confined to foods that have secondary barriers to refrigeration such as pH or aw to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Regardless of whether a variance is required, the primary safety barrier that must be monitored for control is adequate refrigeration. Unfrozen raw fish is specifically excluded from ROP because of this product's natural association with Clostridium botulinum, Type E, which grows at or above 3°C (38°F). To be adequate, a HACCP plan must identify critical control points that are to be monitored to minimize microbial growth during product packaging and storage.

Earlier FDA guidance regarding the reduced oxygen packaging of cured meat products specified a combination of nitrites, nitrates, and salt that at the time of processing consisted of a concentration of at least 120 mg/L of sodium nitrite and a minimum brine concentration of 3.50%. The Code is revised to reflect the fact that various substances, combinations of substances, and resultant concentrations are allowed in CFR administered by USDA. The Code provision also now includes the requirement for cured poultry products to meet the CFR.

Shelf-life must be determined considering holding temperatures because some pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, may be a hazard at refrigeration temperatures. Safe food that remains frozen from the time it is packaged until prepared for service is considered adequately protected.

Accurate Representation

3-601.11   Standards of Identity.

3-601.12   Honestly Presented.


3-602.11   Food Labels.

3-602.12   Other Forms of Information.

The identity of a food in terms of origin and composition is important for instances when a food may be implicated in a foodborne illness and for nutritional information requirements. Ingredient information is needed by consumers who have allergies to certain food or ingredients. The appearance of a food should not be altered or disguised because it is a cue to the consumer of the food's identity and condition.

Recent illnesses and deaths from Escherichia coli O157:H7 have occurred across the United States as a result of people eating hamburgers that were contaminated and then undercooked. USDA issued final rules on August 8, 1994 requiring all raw meat or poultry products have a safe-handling label or sticker or be accompanied by a leaflet that contains information on proper handling and cooking procedures.

Certain requirements in the CFR relating to aspects of nutrition labeling become effective in May, 1997. The following attempts to provide guidance regarding those requirements and exemptions as they relate to the retail environment and to alert regulators to authority that has been given to them by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990. The statute and the CFR should be reviewed to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the labeling requirements.

  • The following foods need not comply with nutrition labeling in the CFR referenced in Subparagraph 3-602.11(B)(5) if they do not bear a nutrient claim, health claim, or other nutrition information:
    • Foods packaged in a food establishment if:
      • The food establishment has total annual sales to consumers of no more than $500,000 (or no more than $50,000 in food sales alone), and

      • The label of the food does not bear a reference to the manufacturer or processor other than the food establishment;
    • Low-volume food products if:
      • The annual sales are less than 100,000 units for which a notification claiming exemption has been filed with FDA's Office of Food Labeling by a small business with less than 100 full-time equivalent employees, or

      • The annual sales are less than 10,000 units by a small business with less than 10 full-time equivalent employees;
    • Foods served in food establishments with facilities for immediate consumption such as restaurants, cafeterias, and mobile food establishments, and foods sold only in those establishments;

    • Foods similar to those specified in the perceding bullet but that are sold by food establishments without facilities for immediate consumption such as bakeries and grocery stores if the food is:
      • Ready-to-eat but not necessarily for immediate consumption,

      • Prepared primarily in the food establishment from which it is sold, and

      • Not offered for sale outside the food establishment;
    • Foods of no nutritional significance such as coffee;

    • Bulk food for further manufacturing or repacking; and

    • Raw fruits, vegetables, and fish.
  • Game animal meats shall provide nutrition information which may be provided by labeling displayed at the point of purchase such as on a counter card, sign, tag affixed to the food, or some other appropriate device.

  • Food packaged in a food processing plant or another food establishment, shall meet the requirements specified in § 3-602.11 and enforcement by the regulatory authority is authorized in the NLEA, Section 4. State Enforcement.

Consumer Advisory

3-603.11   Consumption of Raw or Undercooked Animal Foods.*

At issue is the role of government agencies, the regulated industry, and others in providing notice to consumers that animal-derived foods that are not subjected to adequate heat treatment pose a risk because they may contain biological agents that cause foodborne disease. The deliverance of a balanced message that communicates fairly to all consumers and, where epidemiologically supported, attempts to place risk in perspective based on the consumer's health status and the food being consumed is part of the challenge. Notification of risk must be achieved via a meaningful message and in a manner that is likely to affect behavior.

Beginning with the 1993 Food Code, FDA included a provision for a point-of-purchase consumer advisory. No specific language was recommended. In this Annex, Public Health Reasons, FDA stated:

"FDA has requested comments and will consider the responses as well as other information that is available related to the risks involved and methods of risk communication to determine what action may be necessary by FDA to effectively inform consumers."

In response to that request and in order to achieve a uniform message for consumers, the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) at its 1996 meeting recommended the following language for the consumer advisory:

"Thoroughly cooking foods of animal origin such as beef, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, poultry, or shellfish reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Individuals with certain health conditions may be at higher risk if these foods are consumed raw or undercooked. Consult your physician or public health official for further information."

FDA subjected the CFP-recommended language to representative consumer focus groups in three states. The cumulative information obtained through this process was not supportive of the language nor of the method of communication, i.e., there was resistance to, and skepticism about, menu notices and some misunderstanding of the message. Consequently, the language recommended by the CFP is not included in the 1997 Code.

However, FDA continues to believe that it is the shared responsibility of the industry, regulators, and the medical community to ensure proper information is available so that consumers make knowledgeable food choices. Therefore, when consumers are advised, FDA supports the use of a uniform message and suggests that the CFP-recommended language be used until a more meaningful advisory is developed.

FDA will continue to explore through its educational initiatives and processes and with the CFP and other groups, ways to effectively communicate the risk of foodborne illness associated with certain foods. The Agency will issue further guidance either as an interim interpretation before issuance of the 1999 Food Code or as part of that Code.


3-701.11   Discarding or Reconditioning Unsafe, Adulterated, or Contaminated Food.*

Pathogens may be transmitted from person to person through contaminated food. The potential spread of illness is limited when food is discarded if it may have been contaminated by employees who are infected, or are suspected of being infected, or by any person who otherwise contaminates it.

Additional Safeguards

3-801.11   Pasteurized Foods, Prohibited Reservice, and Prohibited Food.*

The Code provisions that relate to highly susceptible populations are combined in this section for ease of reference and to add emphasis to special food safety precautions that are necessary to protect those who are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness and for whom the implications of such illness can be dire.

The addition to the Food Code regarding apple cider and juice is based on the epidemiology implicating unpasteurized apple juice in serious foodborne illness. The new provision recognizes that highly susceptible populations may safely consume pasteurized cider/apple juice or commercially sterile shelf-stable product obtained in a hermetically sealed container. Juices, other than apple juice or those containing apple juice, are not being included at this time since the epidemiology is less compelling and the Agency does not yet have benefit of public comment.

FDA is not proposing a regulatory requirement against the on-site juicing of fruits and vegetables at this time (even for a highly susceptible population) since juicing is typically done for an individual serving or in a very small batch for immediate service at mealtime or supplemental feeding time, rather than pooled and held in large volume. We have no information that current on-site mealtime juicing practices have resulted in illness, and these practices probably carry less risk than other typical institutional food service practices.

The principal foodborne illness agents of concern with respect to unpasteurized apple juice are Cryptosporidium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Salmonella.

Chapter 4 Equipment, Utensils, and Linens 



4-101.11  Characteristics.*

Multiuse equipment is subject to deterioration because of its nature, i.e., intended use over an extended period of time. Certain materials allow harmful chemicals to be transferred to the food being prepared which could lead to foodborne illness. In addition, some materials can affect the taste of the food being prepared. Surfaces that are unable to be routinely cleaned and sanitized because of the materials used could harbor foodborne pathogens. Deterioration of the surfaces of equipment such as pitting may inhibit adequate cleaning of the surfaces of equipment, so that food prepared on or in the equipment becomes contaminated.

Inability to effectively wash, rinse and sanitize the surfaces of food equipment may lead to the buildup of pathogenic organisms transmissible through food. Studies regarding the rigor required to remove biofilms from smooth surfaces highlight the need for materials of optimal quality in multiuse equipment.

4-101.12   Cast Iron, Use Limitation.

Cast iron is an alloy of iron and heavy metals which may leach into food if left in contact with acidic foods for extended periods of time. Heavy metal poisoning has resulted from such situations. The temporary or incidental contact that results from using cast iron as a cooking surface and for dispensing utensils used as part of an uninterrupted, short-term process is acceptable because of the brief contact time involved.

4-101.13   Lead in Ceramic, China, and Crystal Utensils, Use Limitation.

Historically, lead has been used in the formulation and/or decoration of these types of utensils. Specifically, lead-based paints that were used to decorate the utensils such as color glazes have caused high concentrations of lead to leach into the food they contain.

Lead poisoning continues to be an important public health concern due to the seriousness of associated medical problems. Lead poisoning is particularly harmful to the young and has caused learning disabilities and medical problems among individuals who have consumed high levels. The allowable levels of lead are specific to the type of utensil, based on the average contact time and properties of the foods routinely stored in each item listed.

4-101.14   Copper, Use Limitation.*

High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness. When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food. Carbon dioxide may be released into a water supply because of an ineffective or nonexistent backflow prevention device between a carbonator and copper plumbing components. The acid that results from mixing water and carbon dioxide leaches copper from the plumbing components and the leachate is then transferred to beverages, causing copper poisoning. Backflow prevention devices constructed of copper and copper alloys can cause, and have resulted in, the leaching of both copper and lead into carbonated beverages.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and contains lead which is used to combine the two elements. Historically, brass has been used for items such as pumps, pipe fitting, and goblets. All 3 constituents are subject to leaching when they contact acidic foods, and food poisoning has resulted from such contact.

The steps in beer brewing include malting, mashing, fermentation, separation of the alcoholic beverage from the mash, and rectification. During mashing, it is essential to lower the pH from its normal 5.8 in order to optimize enzymatic activity. The pH is commonly lowered to 5.1-5.2, but may be adjusted to as low as 3.2. The soluble extract of the mash (wort) is boiled with hops for 1 to 2½ hours or more. After boiling, the wort is cooled, inoculated with brewers yeast, and fermented. The use of copper equipment during the prefermentation and fermentation steps typically result in some leaching of copper.

Because copper is an essential nutrient for yeast growth, low levels of copper are metabolized by the yeast during fermentation. However, studies have shown that copper levels above 0.2 mg/L are toxic or lethal to the yeast. In addition, copper levels as low as 3.5 mg/L have been reported to cause symptoms of copper poisoning in humans. Therefore, the levels of copper necessary for successful beer fermentation (i.e., below 0.2 mg/L) do not reach a level that would be toxic to humans.

Today, domestic beer brewers typically endeavor to use only stainless steel or stainless steel-lined copper equipment (piping, fermenters, filters, holding tanks, bottling machines, keys, etc.) in contact with beer following the hot brewing steps in the beer making process. Some also use pitch-coated oak vats or glass-lined steel vats following the hot brewing steps. Where copper equipment is not used in beer brewing, it is common practice to add copper (along with zinc) to provide the nutrients essential to the yeast for successful fermentation.

4-101.15   Galvanized Metal, Use Limitation.*

Galvanized means iron or steel coated with zinc, a heavy metal that may be leached from galvanized containers into foods that are high in water content. The risk of leaching increases with increased acidity of foods contacting the galvanized container.

4-101.16   Sponges, Use Limitation.

Sponges are difficult, if not impossible, to clean once they have been in contact with food particles and contaminants that are found in the use environment. Because of their construction, sponges provide harborage for any number and variety of microbiological organisms, many of which may be pathogenic. Therefore, sponges are to be used only where they will not contaminate cleaned and sanitized or in-use, food-contact surfaces such as for cleaning equipment and utensils before rinsing and sanitizing.

4-101.17   Lead in Pewter Alloys, Use Limitation.

Pewter refers to a number of silver-gray alloys of tin containing various amounts of antimony, copper, and lead. The same concerns about the leaching of heavy metals and lead that apply to brass, galvanized metals, copper, cast iron, ceramics, and crystal also apply to pewter. As previously stated, the storage of acidic moist foods in pewter containers could result in food poisoning (heavy metal poisoning).

4-101.18   Lead in Solder and Flux, Use Limitation.

Solder is a material that is used to join metallic parts and is applied in the melted state to solid metals. Solder may be composed of tin and lead alloys. As mentioned in the public health reasons for §§4-101.12 and 4-101.13, lead has been linked to many health problems especially among the young. Consequently, the amount of lead allowed in food equipment is subject to limitation.

4-101.19   Wood, Use Limitation.

The limited acceptance of the use of wood as a food-contact surface is determined by the nature of the food and the type of wood used. Moist foods may cause the wood surface to deteriorate and the surface may become difficult to clean. In addition, wood that is treated with preservatives may result in illness due to the migration of the preservative chemicals to the food; therefore, only specific preservatives are allowed.

4-101.110   Nonstick Coatings, Use Limitation.

Perfluorocarbon resin is a tough, nonporous and stable plastic material that gives cookware and bakeware a surface to which foods will not stick and that cleans easily and quickly. FDA has approved the use of this material as safe for food-contact surfaces. The Agency has determined that neither the particles that may chip off nor the fumes given off at high temperatures pose a health hazard. However, because this nonstick finish may be scratched by sharp or rough-edged kitchen tools, the manufacturer's recommendations should be consulted and the use of utensils that may scratch, abrasive scouring pads, or cleaners avoided.

4-101.111  Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment routinely exposed to splash or food debris are required to be constructed of nonabsorbent materials to facilitate cleaning. Equipment that is easily cleaned minimizes the presence of pathogenic organisms, moisture, and debris and deters the attraction of rodents and insects.

Single-Service and Single-Use

4-102.11   Characteristics.*

The safety and quality of food can be adversely affected through single service and single use articles that are not constructed of acceptable materials. The migration of components of those materials to food they contact could result in chemical contamination and illness to the consumer. In addition, the use of unacceptable materials could adversely affect the quality of the food because of odors, tastes, and colors transferred to the food.

Durability and Strength

4-201.11   Equipment and Utensils.

Equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed to be durable and capable of retaining their original characteristics so that such items can continue to fulfill their intended purpose for the duration of their life expectancy and to maintain their easy cleanability. If they can not maintain their original characteristics, they may become difficult to clean, allowing for the harborage of pathogenic microorganisms, insects, and rodents. Equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed so that parts do not break and end up in food as foreign objects or present injury hazards to consumers. A common example of presenting an injury hazard is the tendency for tines of poorly designed single service forks to break during use.

4-201.12   Food Temperature Measuring Devices.*

Food temperature measuring devices that have glass sensors or stems present a likelihood that glass will end up in food as a foreign object and create an injury hazard to the consumer. In addition, the contents of the temperature measuring device, e.g., mercury, may contaminate food or utensils.


4-202.11   Food-Contact Surfaces.*

The purpose of the requirements for multiuse food-contact surfaces is to ensure that such surfaces are capable of being easily cleaned and accessible for cleaning. Food-contact surfaces that do not meet these requirements provide a potential harbor for foodborne pathogenic organisms. Surfaces which have imperfections such as cracks, chips, or pits allow microorganisms to attach and form biofilms. Once established, these biofilms can release pathogens to food. Biofilms are highly resistant to cleaning and sanitizing efforts. The requirement for easy disassembly recognizes the reluctance of food employees to disassemble and clean equipment if the task is difficult or requires the use of special, complicated tools.

4-202.12   CIP Equipment.

Certain types of equipment are designed to be cleaned in place (CIP) where it is difficult or impractical to disassemble the equipment for cleaning. Because of the closed nature of the system, CIP cleaning must be monitored via access points to ensure that cleaning has been effective throughout the system.

The CIP design must ensure that all food-contact surfaces of the equipment are contacted by the circulating cleaning and sanitizing solutions. Dead spots in the system, i.e., areas which are not contacted by the cleaning and sanitizing solutions, could result in the buildup of food debris and growth of pathogenic microorganisms. There is equal concern that cleaning and sanitizing solutions might be retained in the system, which may result in the inadvertent adulteration of food. Therefore, the CIP system must be self-draining.

4-202.13   "V" Threads, Use Limitation.

V-type threads present a surface which is difficult to clean routinely; therefore, they are not allowed on food-contact surfaces. The exception provided for hot oil cooking fryers and filtering systems is based on the high temperatures that are used in this equipment. The high temperature in effect sterilizes the equipment, including debris in the "V" threads.

4-202.14   Hot Oil Filtering Equipment.

To facilitate and ensure effective cleaning of this equipment, Code requirements, §§ 4-202.11 and 4-202.12 must be followed. The filter is designed to keep the oil free of undesired materials and therefore must be readily accessible for replacement. Filtering the oil reduces the likelihood that off-odors, tastes, and possibly toxic compounds may be imparted to food as a result of debris buildup. To ensure that filtering occurs, it is necessary for the filter to be accessible for replacement.

4-202.15   Can Openers.

Once can openers become pitted or the surface in any way becomes uncleanable, they must be replaced because they can no longer be adequately cleaned and sanitized. Can openers must be designed to facilitate replacement.

4-202.16   Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Hard-to-clean areas could result in the attraction and harborage of insects and rodents and allow the growth of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms. Well-designed equipment enhances the ability to keep nonfood-contact surfaces clean.

4-202.17   Kick Plates, Removable.

The use of kick plates is required to allow access for proper cleaning. If kick plate design and installation does not meet Code requirements, debris could accumulate and create a situation that may attract insects and rodents.


4-203.11   Temperature Measuring Devices, Food.

The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (amended 1988) requires that all federal government regulations use the Celsius scale for temperature measurement. The Fahrenheit scale is included in the Code for those jurisdictions using the Fahrenheit scale for temperature measurement.

The small margin of error specified for thermometer accuracy is due to the lack of a large safety margin in the temperature requirements themselves. The accuracy specified for a particular food temperature measuring device is applicable to its entire range of use, that is, from refrigeration through cooking temperatures if the device is intended for such use.

4-203.12   Temperature Measuring Devices, Ambient Air and Water.

A temperature measuring device used to measure the air temperature in a refrigeration unit is not required to be as accurate as a food thermometer because the unit's temperature fluctuates with repeated opening and closing of the door and because accuracy in measuring internal food temperatures is of more significance. 

The Celsius scale is the federally recognized scale based on The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (amended 1988) which requires the use of metric values. The ± 1.5°C requirement is more stringent than the 3°F previously required since ± 1.5°C is equivalent to ± 2.7°F. The more rigid accuracy results from the practical application of metric equivalents to the temperature gradations of Celsius thermometers.

If Fahrenheit thermometers are used, the 3°F requirement applies because of the calibrated intervals of Fahrenheit thermometers.

The accuracy specified for a particular air or water temperature measuring device is applicable to its intended range of use. For example, a cold holding unit may have a temperature measuring device that measures from a specified frozen temperature to 20°C (68°F). The device must be accurate to specifications within that use range.

4-203.13   Pressure Measuring Devices, Mechanical Warewashing Equipment.

Flow pressure is a very important factor with respect to the efficacy of sanitization. A pressure below the design pressure results in inadequate spray patterns and incomplete coverage of the utensil surfaces to be sanitized. Excessive flow pressure will tend to atomize the water droplets needed to convey heat into a vapor mist that cools before reaching the surfaces to be sanitized.


4-204.11   Ventilation Hood Systems, Drip Prevention.

The dripping of grease or condensation onto food constitutes adulteration and may involve contamination of the food with pathogenic organisms. Equipment, utensils, linens, and single service and single use articles that are subjected to such drippage are no longer clean.

4-204.12   Equipment Openings, Closures and Deflectors.

Equipment openings and covers must be designed to protect stored or prepared food from contaminants and foreign matter that may fall into the food. The requirement for an opening to be flanged upward and for the cover to overlap the opening and be sloped to drain prevents contaminants, especially liquids, from entering the food-contact area.

Some equipment may have parts that extend into the food-contact areas. If these parts are not provided with a watertight joint at the point of entry into the food-contact area, liquids may contaminate the food by adhering to shafts or other parts and running or dripping into the food.

An apron on parts extending into the food-contact area is an acceptable alternative to the watertight seal. If the apron is not properly designed and installed, condensation, drips, and dust may gain access to the food.

4-204.13   Dispensing Equipment, Protection of Equipment and Food.

This requirement is intended to protect both the machine-dispensed, unpackaged, liquid foods and the machine components from contamination. Barriers need to be provided so that the only liquid entering the food container is the liquid intended to be dispensed when the machine's mechanism is activated. Recessing of the machine's components and self-closing doors prevent contamination of machine ports by people, dust, insects, or rodents. If the equipment components become contaminated, the product itself will be exposed to possible contamination.

A direct opening into the food being dispensed allows dust, vermin, and other contaminants access to the food.

4-204.14   Vending Machine, Vending Stage Closure.

Since packaged foods dispensed from vending machines could attract insects and rodents, a self-closing door is required as a barrier to their entrance.

4-204.15   Bearings and Gear Boxes, Leakproof.

It is not unusual for food equipment to contain bearings and gears. Lubricants necessary for the operation of these types of equipment could contaminate food or food-contact surfaces if the equipment is not properly designed and constructed.

4-204.16   Beverage Tubing, Separation.

Beverage tubing and coldplate cooling devices may result in contamination if they are installed in direct contact with stored ice. Beverage tubing installed in contact with ice may result in condensate and drippage contaminating the ice as the condensate moves down the beverage tubing and ends up in the ice.

The presence of beverage tubing and/or coldplate cooling devices also presents cleaning problems. It may be difficult to adequately clean the ice bin if they are present. Because of the high moisture environment, mold and algae may form on the surface of the ice bins and any tubing or equipment stored in the bins.

4-204.17   Ice Units, Separation of Drains.

Liquid waste drain lines passing through ice machines and storage bins present a risk of contamination due to potential leakage of the waste lines and the possibility that contaminants will gain access to the ice through condensate migrating along the exterior of the lines.

Liquid drain lines passing through the ice bin are, themselves, difficult to clean and create other areas that are difficult to clean where they enter the unit as well as where they abut other surfaces. The potential for mold and algal growth in this area is very likely due to the high moisture environment. Molds and algae that form on the drain lines are difficult to remove and present a risk of contamination to the ice stored in the bin.

4-204.18   Condenser Unit, Separation.

A dust-proof barrier between a condenser and food storage areas of equipment protects food and food-contact areas from contamination by dust that is accumulated and blown about as a result of the condenser's operation.

4-204.19   Can Openers on Vending Machines.

Since the cutting or piercing surfaces of a can opener directly contact food in the container being opened, these surfaces must be protected from contamination.

4-204.110   Molluscan Shellfish Tanks.

Shellfish are filter feeders allowing concentration of pathogenic microorganisms that may be present in the water. Due to the number of shellfish and the limited volume of water used, display tanks may allow concentration of pathogenic viruses and bacteria.

Since many people eat shellfish either raw or lightly cooked, the potential for increased levels of pathogenic microorganisms in shellfish held in display tanks is of concern. If shellfish stored in molluscan shellfish tanks are offered for consumption, certain safeguards must be in place as specified in a detailed HACCP plan that is approved by the regulatory authority. Opportunities for contamination must be controlled or eliminated. Procedures must emphasize strict monitoring of the water quality of the tank including the filtering and disinfection system.

4-204.111  Vending Machines, Automatic Shutoff.*

Failure to store potentially hazardous food at safe temperatures in a vending machine could result in the growth of pathogenic microorganisms that may result in foodborne illness. The presence of an automatic control that prevents the vending of food if the temperature of the unit exceeds Code requirements precludes the vending of foods that may not be safe.

It is possible and indeed very likely that the temperature of the storage area of a vending machine may exceed Code requirements during the stocking and servicing of the machine. The automatic shut off, commonly referred to as the "public health control", provides a limited amount of time that the ambient temperature of a machine may exceed Code requirements. Strict adherence to the time requirements can limit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

4-204.112   Temperature Measuring Devices.

The placement of the temperature measuring device is important. If the device is placed in the coldest location in the storage unit, it may not be representative of the temperature of the unit. Food could be stored in areas of the unit that exceed Code requirements. Therefore, the temperature measuring device must be placed in a location that is representative of the actual storage temperature of the unit to ensure that all potentially hazardous foods are stored at least at the minimum temperature required in Chapter 3.

A permanent temperature measuring device is required in any unit storing potentially hazardous food because of the potential growth of pathogenic microorganisms should the temperature of the unit exceed Code requirements. In order to facilitate routine monitoring of the unit, the device must be clearly visible.

The exception to requiring a temperature measuring device for the types of equipment listed is primarily due to equipment design and function. It would be difficult and impractical to permanently mount a temperature measuring device on the equipment listed. The futility of attempting to measure the temperature of unconfined air such as with heat lamps and, in some cases, the brief period of time the equipment is used for a given food negate the usefulness of ambient temperature monitoring at that point. In such cases, it would be more practical and accurate to measure the internal temperature of the food.

The importance of maintaining potentially hazardous foods at the specified temperatures requires that temperature measuring devices be easily readable. The inability to accurately read a thermometer could result in food being held at unsafe temperatures.

Temperature measuring devices must be appropriately scaled per Code requirements to ensure accurate readings.

The required incremental gradations are more precise for food measuring devices than for those used to measure ambient temperature because of the significance at a given point in time, i.e., the potential for pathogenic growth, versus the unit's temperature. The food temperature will not necessarily match the ambient temperature of the storage unit; it will depend on many variables including the temperature of the food when it is placed in the unit, the temperature at which the unit is maintained, and the length of time the food is stored in the unit.

4-204.113  Warewashing Machine, Data Plate Operating Specifications.

The data plate provides the operator with the fundamental information needed to ensure that the machine is effectively washing, rinsing, and sanitizing equipment and utensils. The warewashing machine has been tested, and the information on the data plate represents the parameters that ensure effective operation and sanitization and that need to be monitored.

4-204.114   Warewashing Machines, Internal Baffles.

The presence of baffles or curtains separating the various operational cycles of a warewashing machine such as washing, rinsing, and sanitizing are designed to reduce the possibility that solutions from one cycle may contaminate solutions in another. The baffles or curtains also prevent food debris from being splashed onto the surface of equipment that has moved to another cycle in the procedure.

4-204.115  Warewashing Machines, Temperature Measuring Devices.

The requirement for the presence of a temperature measuring device in each tank of the warewashing machine is based on the importance of temperature in the sanitization step. In hot water machines, it is critical that minimum temperatures be met at the various cycles so that the cumulative effect of successively rising temperatures causes the surface of the item being washed to reach the required temperature for sanitization. When chemical sanitizers are used, specific minimum temperatures must be met because the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers is directly affected by the temperature of the solution.

4-204.116  Manual Warewashing Equipment, Heaters and Baskets.

Hot water sanitization is accomplished in water of not less than 77°C (170°F) and an integral heating device is necessary to ensure that the minimum temperature is reached.

The rack or basket is required in order to safely handle the equipment and utensils being washed and to ensure immersion. Water at this temperature could result in severe burns to employees operating the equipment.

4-204.118  Warewashing Machines, Flow Pressure Device.

Flow pressure is a very important factor impacting the efficacy of sanitization in machines that use fresh hot water at line-pressure as a final sanitization rinse. (See discussion in Public Health Reason for Section 4-203.13.) It is important that the operator be able to monitor, and the food inspector be able to check, final sanitization rinse pressure as well as machine water temperatures. ANSI/NSF Standard #3, a national voluntary consensus standard for Commercial Spray-Type Dishwashing Machines, specifies that a pressure gauge or similar device be provided on this type machine and such devices are shipped with machines by the manufacturer. Flow pressure devices installed on the upstream side of the control (solenoid) valve are subject to damage and failure due to the water hammer effect caused throughout the dishwashing period each time the control valve closes. The IPS valve provides a ready means for checking line-pressure with an alternative pressure measuring device. A flow pressure device is not required on machines that use only a pumped or recirculated sanitizing rinse since an appropriate pressure is ensured by a pump and is not dependent upon line-pressure.

4-204.119  Warewashing Sinks and Drainboards, Self-Draining.

4-204.120  Equipment Compartments, Drainage.

The draining requirement in equipment components is needed to prevent the pooling of water. Pooled water whether from drainage, condensate, drippage, or melting ice could contain or provide a favorable environment for pathogens and other contaminants.

4-204.121  Vending Machines, Liquid Waste Products.

The presence of internal waste containers allows for the collection of liquids that spill within the vending machine. Absence of a waste container or, where required, a shutoff valve which controls the incoming liquids could result in wastes spilling within the machine, causing a condition that attracts insects and rodents and compounds cleaning and maintenance problems.

4-204.122   Case Lot Handling Equipment, Moveability.

Proper design of case lot handling equipment facilitates moving case lots for cleaning and for surveillance of insect or rodent activity.

4-204.123  Vending Machine Doors and Openings.

The objective of this requirement is to provide a barrier against the entrance into vending machines of insects, rodents, and dust. The maximum size of the openings deters the entrance of common pests.


4-205.10   Food Equipment, Certification and Classification.

Under ANSI document CA-1 ANSI Policy and Criteria for Accreditation of Certification Programs, it has been stipulated that:

"For food equipment programs, standards that establish sanitation requirements shall be specified government standards or standards that have been ratified by a public health approval step. ANSI shall verify that this requirement has been met by communicating with appropriate standards developing organizations and governmental public health bodies."

The term certified is used when an item of food equipment has been evaluated against an organization's own standard. The term classified is used when one organization evaluates an item of food equipment against a standard developed by another organization.


4-301.11   Cooling, Heating, and Holding Capacities.

The ability of equipment to cool, heat, and maintain potentially hazardous foods at Code-required temperatures is critical to food safety. Improper holding and cooking temperatures continue to be major contributing factors to foodborne illness. Therefore, it is very important to have adequate hot or cold holding equipment with enough capacity to meet the heating and cooling demands of the operation.

4-301.12   Manual Warewashing, Sink Compartment Requirements.

The 3 compartment requirement allows for proper execution of the 3-step manual warewashing procedure. If properly used, the 3 compartments reduce the chance of contaminating the sanitizing water and therefore diluting the strength and efficacy of the chemical sanitizer that may be used.

Alternative manual warewashing equipment, allowed under certain circumstances and conditions, must provide for accomplishment of the same 3 steps:

  1. Application of cleaners and the removal of soil;

  2. Removal of any abrasive and removal or dilution of cleaning chemicals; and

  3. Sanitization.

Also refer to the public health reason for § 4-603.16.

4-301.13   Drainboards.

Drainboards or equivalent equipment are necessary to separate soiled and cleaned items from each other and from the food preparation area in order to preclude contamination of cleaned items and of food.

Drainboards allow for the control of water running off equipment and utensils that have been washed and also allow the operator to properly store washed equipment and utensils while they air-dry.

4-301.14   Ventilation Hood Systems, Adequacy.

If a ventilation system is inadequate, grease and condensate may build up on the floors, walls and ceilings of the food establishment, causing an insanitary condition and possible deterioration of the surfaces of walls and ceilings. The accumulation of grease and condensate may contaminate food and food-contact surfaces as well as present a possible fire hazard.

Also refer to the public health reason for § 4-204.11.

4-301.15   Clothes Washers and Dryers.

To protect food, soiled work clothes or linens must be efficiently laundered. The only practical way of efficiently laundering work clothes on the premises is with the use of a mechanical washer and dryer.

Also refer to the public health reason for § 4-401.11.

Utensils, Temperature Measuring Devices, and Testing Devices

4-302.11   Utensils, Consumer Self-Service.

Appropriate serving utensils provided at each container will, among other things, reduce the likelihood of food tasting, use of fingers to serve food, use of fingers to remove the remains of one food on the utensil so that it may be used for another, use of soiled tableware to transfer food, and cross contamination between foods, including a raw food to a cooked potentially hazardous food.

4-302.12   Food Temperature Measuring Devices.

The presence and accessibility of food temperature measuring devices is critical to the effective monitoring of food temperatures. Proper use of such devices provides the operator or person in charge with important information with which to determine if temperatures should be adjusted or if foods should be discarded.

4-302.13   Temperature Measuring Devices, Manual Warewashing.

Water temperature is critical to sanitization in warewashing operations. This is particularly true if the sanitizer being used is hot water. The effectiveness of cleaners and chemical sanitizers is also determined by the temperature of the water used. A temperature measuring device is essential to monitor manual warewashing and ensure sanitization.

4-302.14   Sanitizing Solutions, Testing Devices.

Testing devices to measure the concentration of sanitizing solutions are required for 2 reasons:

1.  The use of chemical sanitizers requires minimum concentrations of the sanitizer during the final rinse step to ensure sanitization; and

2. Too much sanitizer in the final rinse water could be toxic.


4-401.11   Equipment, Clothes Washers and Dryers, and Storage Cabinets, Contamination Prevention.

Food equipment and the food that contacts the equipment must be protected from sources of overhead contamination such as leaking or ruptured water or sewer pipes, dripping condensate, and falling objects. When equipment is installed, it must be situated with consideration of the potential for contamination from such overhead sources.

If a clothes washer and dryer are installed adjacent to exposed food, clean equipment, utensils, linens, and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles, it could result in those items becoming contaminated from soiled laundry. The reverse is also true, i.e., items being laundered could become contaminated from the surrounding area if the washer and dryer are not properly located.


4-402.11   Fixed Equipment, Spacing or Sealing.

When the weight of the equipment exceeds 14 kg (30 pounds), it is no longer considered by Code definition to be easily movable.

Consequently, this section is designed to ensure that fixed equipment is installed in a way that:

  1. Allows accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above, and underneath the units or minimizes the need for cleaning due to closely abutted surfaces;

  2. Ensures that equipment that is subject to moisture is sealed;

  3. Prevents the harborage of insects and rodents; and

  4. Provides accessibility for the monitoring of pests.

4-402.12   Fixed Equipment, Elevation or Sealing.

The inability to adequately or effectively clean areas under equipment could create a situation that may attract insects and rodents and accumulate pathogenic microorganisms that are transmissible through food.

The effectiveness of cleaning is directly affected by the ability to access all areas to clean fixed equipment. It may be necessary to elevate the equipment. When elevating equipment is not feasible or prohibitively expensive, sealing to prevent contamination is required.

The economic impact of the requirement to elevate display units in retail food stores, coupled with the fact that the design, weight, and size of such units are not conducive to casters or legs, led to the exception for certain units located in consumer shopping areas, provided the floor under the units is kept clean. This exception for retail food store display equipment including shelving, refrigeration, and freezer units in the consumer shopping areas requires a rigorous cleaning schedule.


4-501.11   Good Repair and Proper Adjustment.

Proper maintenance of equipment to manufacturer specifications helps ensure that it will continue to operate as designed. Failure to properly maintain equipment could lead to violations of the associated requirements of the Code that place the health of the consumer at risk. For example, refrigeration units in disrepair may no longer be capable of properly cooling or holding potentially hazardous foods at safe temperatures.

The cutting or piercing parts of can openers may accumulate metal fragments that could lead to food containing foreign objects and, possibly, result in consumer injury.

Adequate cleaning and sanitization of dishes and utensils using a warewashing machine is directly dependent on the exposure time during the wash, rinse, and sanitizing cycles. Failure to meet manufacturer and Code requirements for cycle times could result in failure to clean and sanitize. For example, high temperature machines depend on the buildup of heat on the surface of dishes to accomplish sanitization. If the exposure time during any of the cycles is not met, the surface of the items may not reach the time-temperature parameter required for sanitization. Exposure time is also important in warewashing machines that use a chemical sanitizer since the sanitizer must contact the items long enough for sanitization to occur. In addition, a chemical sanitizer will not sanitize a dirty dish; therefore, the cycle times during the wash and rinse phases are critical to sanitization.

4-501.12   Cutting Surfaces.

Cutting surfaces such as cutting boards and blocks that become scratched and scored may be difficult to clean and sanitize. As a result, pathogenic microorganisms transmissible through food may build up or accumulate. These microorganisms may be transferred to foods that are prepared on such surfaces.

4-501.13   Microwave Ovens.

Failure of microwave ovens to meet the CFR standards could result in human exposure to radiation leakage, resulting in possible medical problems to consumers and employees using the machines.

4-501.14   Warewashing Equipment, Cleaning Frequency.

During operation, warewashing equipment is subject to the accumulation of food wastes and other soils or sources of contamination. In order to ensure the proper cleaning and sanitization of equipment and utensils, it is necessary to clean the surface of warewashing equipment before use and periodically throughout the day.

4-501.15   Warewashing Machines, Manufacturers' Operating Instructions.

To ensure properly cleaned and sanitized equipment and utensils, warewashing machines must be operated properly. The manufacturer affixes a data plate to the machine providing vital, detailed instructions about the proper operation of the machine including wash, rinse, and sanitizing cycle times and temperatures which must be achieved.

4-501.16   Warewashing Sinks, Use Limitation.

If the wash sink is used for functions other than warewashing, such as washing wiping cloths or washing and thawing foods, contamination of equipment and utensils could occur.

4-501.17   Warewashing Equipment, Cleaning Agents.

Failure to use detergents or cleaners in accordance with the manufacturer's label instructions could create safety concerns for the employee and consumer. For example, employees could suffer chemical burns, and chemical residues could find their way into food if detergents or cleaners are used carelessly.

Equipment or utensils may not be cleaned if inappropriate or insufficient amounts of cleaners or detergents are used.

4-501.18   Warewashing Equipment, Clean Solutions.

Failure to maintain clean wash, rinse, and sanitizing solutions adversely affects the warewashing operation. Equipment and utensils may not be sanitized, resulting in subsequent contamination of food.

4-501.19   Manual Warewashing Equipment, Wash Solution Temperature.

The wash solution temperature required in the Code is essential for removing organic matter. If the temperature is below 110°F, the performance of the detergent may be adversely affected, e.g., animal fats that may be present on the dirty dishes would not be dissolved.

4-501.110   Mechanical Warewashing Equipment, Wash Solution Temperature.

The wash solution temperature in mechanical warewashing equipment is critical to proper operation. The chemicals used may not adequately perform their function if the temperature is too low. Therefore, the manufacturer's instructions must be followed. The temperatures vary according to the specific equipment being used.

4-501.111  Manual Warewashing Equipment, Hot Water Sanitization Temperatures.*

If the temperature during the hot water sanitizing step is less than 75°C (170°F), sanitization will not be achieved. As a result, pathogenic organisms may survive and be subsequently transferred from utensils to food.

4-501.112   Mechanical Warewashing Equipment, Hot Water Sanitization Temperatures.

If the temperature of the hot water delivered to the warewasher manifold is inadequate to effect sanitization, surviving pathogenic organisms could contaminate equipment and utensils.

4-501.113   Mechanical Warewashing Equipment, Sanitization Pressure.

If the flow pressure of the final sanitizing rinse is less than that required, dispersion of the sanitizing solution may be inadequate to reach all surfaces of equipment or utensils.

4-501.114   Manual and Mechanical Warewashing Equipment, Chemical Sanitization - Temperature, pH, Concentration, and Hardness.*

The effectiveness of chemical sanitizers can be directly affected by the temperature, pH, concentration of the sanitizer solution used, and hardness of the water. All sanitizers approved for use under 21 CFR 178.1010 must be used under water conditions stated on the label to ensure efficacy. Therefore, it is critical to sanitization that the sanitizers are used properly and the solutions meet the minimum standards required in the Code.

4-501.115  Manual Warewashing Equipment, Chemical Sanitization Using Detergent-Sanitizers.

Some chemical sanitizers are not compatible with detergents when a 2 compartment operation is used. When using a sanitizer that is different from the detergent-sanitizer of the wash compartment, the sanitizer may be inhibited by carry-over, resulting in inadequate sanitization.

4-501.116   Warewashing Equipment, Determining Chemical Sanitizer Concentration.

The effectiveness of chemical sanitizers is determined primarily by the concentration and pH of the sanitizer solution. Therefore, a test kit is necessary to accurately determine the concentration of the chemical sanitizer solution.

Utensils and Temperature and Pressure Measuring Devices

4-502.11   Good Repair and Calibration.

A utensil or food temperature measuring device can act as a source of contamination to the food it contacts if it is not maintained in good repair. Also, if temperature or pressure measuring devices are not maintained in good repair, the accuracy of the readings is questionable. Consequently, a temperature problem may not be detected, or conversely, a corrective action may be needlessly taken.

4-502.12   Single-Service and Single-Use Articles, Required Use.*

In situations in which the reuse of multiuse items could result in foodborne illness to consumers, single-service and single-use articles must be used to ensure safety.

4-502.13   Single-Service and Single-Use Articles, Use Limitation.

Articles that are not constructed of multiuse materials may not be reused as they are unable to withstand the rigors of multiple uses, including the ability to be subjected to repeated washing, rinsing, and sanitizing.

4-502.14   Shells, Use Limitation.

Mollusk and crustacea shells do not meet the Code requirements for multiuse utensils. Therefore, such shells may be used only once as serving containers.

Also refer to the public health reason for § 4-502.13.


4-601.11   Equipment, Food-Contact Surfaces,Nonfood-Contact Surfaces, and Utensils.*

The objective of cleaning focuses on the need to remove organic matter from food-contact surfaces so that sanitization can occur and to remove soil from nonfood contact surfaces so that pathogenic microorganisms will not be allowed to accumulate and insects and rodents will not be attracted.


4-602.11   Equipment Food-Contact Surfaces and Utensils.*

Microorganisms may be transmitted from a food to other foods by utensils, cutting boards, thermometers, or other food-contact surfaces. Food-contact surfaces and equipment used for potentially hazardous foods should be cleaned as needed throughout the day but must be cleaned no less than every 4 hours to prevent the growth of microorganisms on those surfaces.

Surfaces of utensils and equipment contacting food that is not potentially hazardous such as iced tea dispensers, carbonated beverage dispenser nozzles, beverage dispensing circuits or lines, water vending equipment, coffee bean grinders, ice makers, and ice bins must be cleaned on a routine basis to prevent the development of slime, mold, or soil residues that may contribute to an accumulation of microorganisms. Some equipment manufacturers and industry associations, e.g., within the tea industry, develop guidelines for regular cleaning and sanitizing of equipment. If the manufacturer does not provide cleaning specifications for food-contact surfaces of equipment that are not readily visible, the person in charge should develop a cleaning regimen that is based on the soil that may accumulate in those particular items of equipment.

4-602.12   Cooking and Baking Equipment.

Food-contact surfaces of cooking equipment must be cleaned to prevent encrustations that may impede heat transfer necessary to adequately cook food. Encrusted equipment may also serve as an insect attractant when not in use. Because of the nature of the equipment, it may not be necessary to clean cooking equipment as frequently as the equipment specified in § 4-602.11.

4-602.13   Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

The presence of food debris or dirt on nonfood contact surfaces may provide a suitable environment for the growth of microorganisms which employees may inadvertently transfer to food. If these areas are not kept clean, they may also provide harborage for insects, rodents, and other pests.


4-603.11   Dry Cleaning.

Dry cleaning methods are indicated in only a few operations, which are limited to dry foods that are not potentially hazardous. Under some circumstances, attempts at wet cleaning may create microbiological concerns.

4-603.12   Precleaning.

Precleaning of utensils, dishes, and food equipment allows for the removal of grease and food debris to facilitate the cleaning action of the detergent. Depending upon the condition of the surface to be cleaned, detergent alone may not be sufficient to loosen soil for cleaning. Heavily soiled surfaces may need to be presoaked or scrubbed with an abrasive.

4-603.13   Loading of Soiled Items, Warewashing Machines.

Items to be washed in a warewashing machine must receive unobstructed exposure to the spray to ensure adequate cleaning. Items which are stacked or trays which are heavily loaded with silverware cannot receive complete distribution of detergent, water, or sanitizer and cannot be considered to be clean.

4-603.14   Wet Cleaning.

Because of the variety of cleaning agents available and the many different types of soil to be removed it is not possible to recommend one cleaning agent to fit all situations. Each of the different types of cleaners works best under different conditions (i.e., some work best on grease, some work best in warm water, others work best in hot water). The specific chemical selected should be compatible with any other chemicals to be used in the operation such as a sanitizer or drying agent.

4-603.15   Washing, Procedures for Alternative Manual Warewashing Equipment.

Some pieces of equipment are too large (or fixed) to be cleaned in a sink. Nonetheless, cleaning of such equipment requires the application of cleaners for the removal of soil and rinsing for the removal of abrasive and cleaning chemicals, followed by sanitization.

4-603.16   Rinsing Procedures.

It is important to rinse off detergents, abrasive, and food debris after the wash step to avoid diluting or inactivating the sanitizer.

4-603.17   Returnables, Cleaning for Refilling.*

The refilling of consumer-owned beverage containers introduces the possibility of contamination of the filling equipment or product by improperly cleaned containers or the improper operation of the equipment. To prevent this contamination and possible health hazards to the consumer, the refilling of consumer-owned containers is limited to beverages that are not potentially hazardous. Equipment must be designed to prevent the contamination of the equipment and means must be provided to clean the containers at the facility.


4-701.10   Food-Contact Surfaces and Utensils.

Effective sanitization procedures destroy organisms of public health importance that

may be present on wiping cloths, food equipment, or utensils after cleaning, or which have been introduced into the rinse solution. It is important that surfaces be clean before being sanitized to allow the sanitizer to achieve its maximum benefit.


4-702.11   Before Use After Cleaning.


Sanitization is accomplished after the warewashing steps of cleaning and rinsing so that utensils and food-contact surfaces are sanitized before coming in contact with food and before use.


4-703.11   Hot Water and Chemical.*

Efficacious sanitization is dependent upon warewashing being conducted within certain parameters. Time is a parameter applicable to both chemical and hot water sanitization. The time that hot water or chemicals contact utensils or food-contact surfaces must be sufficient to destroy pathogens that may remain on surfaces after cleaning. Other parameters, such as temperature or chemical concentration, are used in combination with time to deliver effective sanitization.


4-801.11   Clean Linens.

Linens that are not free from food residues and other soiling matter may carry pathogenic microorganisms that may cause illness.


4-802.11   Specifications.

Linens, cloth gloves, and cloth napkins are to be laundered between uses to prevent the transfer of pathogenic microorganisms between foods or to food-contact surfaces. The laundering of wet wiping cloths before being used with a fresh solution of cleanser or sanitizer is designed to reduce the microbiological load in the cleanser and sanitizer and thereby reduce the possible transfer of microorganisms to food and nonfood-contact surfaces.


4-803.11   Storage of Soiled Linens.

Soiled linens may directly or indirectly contaminate food. Proper storage will reduce the possibility of contamination of food, equipment, utensils, and single-service and single-use articles.

4-803.12   Mechanical Washing.

Proper laundering of wiping cloths will significantly reduce the possibility that pathogenic microorganisms will be transferred to food, equipment, or utensils.

4-803.13   Use of Laundry Facilities.

Washing and drying items used in the operation of the establishment on the premises will help prevent the introduction of pathogenic microorganisms into the environment of the food establishment.


4-901.11   Equipment and Utensils, Air-Drying Required.

Items must be allowed to drain and to air-dry before being stacked or stored. Stacking wet items such as pans prevents them from drying and may allow an environment where microorganisms can begin to grow. Cloth drying of equipment and utensils is prohibited to prevent the possible transfer of microorganisms to equipment or utensils.

4-901.12   Wiping Cloths, Air-Drying Locations.

Cloths that are air-dried must be dried so that they do not drip on food or utensils and so that the cloths are not contaminated while air-drying.

Lubricating and Reassembling

4-902.11   Food-Contact Surfaces.

Food-contact surfaces must be lubricated in a manner that does not introduce contaminants to those surfaces.

4-902.12   Equipment.

Equipment must be reassembled in a way that food-contact surfaces are not contaminated.


4-903.11   Equipment, Utensils, Linens, and Single-Service and Single-Use Articles.

Clean equipment and multiuse utensils which have been cleaned and sanitized, laundered linens, and single-service and single-use articles can become contaminated before their intended use in a variety of ways such as through water leakage, pest infestation, or other insanitary condition.

4-903.12   Prohibitions.

The improper storage of clean and sanitized equipment, utensils, laundered linens, and single-service and single-use articles may allow contamination before their intended use. Contamination can be caused by moisture from absorption, flooding, drippage, or splash. It can also be caused by food debris, toxic materials, litter, dust, and other materials. The contamination is often related to unhygienic employee practices, unacceptable high-risk storage locations, or improper construction of storage facilities.


4-904.11   Kitchenware and Tableware.

4-904.12   Soiled and Clean Tableware.

4-904.13   Preset Tableware.

The presentation and/or setting of single-service and single-use articles and cleaned and sanitized utensils shall be done in a manner designed to prevent the contamination of food-and lip-contact surfaces.

Chapter 5 Water Plumbing and Waste 


5-101.11   Approved System.*

Water, unless it comes from a safe supply, may serve as a source of contamination for food, equipment, utensils, and hands. The major concern is that water may become a vehicle for transmission of disease organisms. Water can also become contaminated with natural or man-made chemicals. Therefore, for the protection of consumers and employees, water must be obtained from a source regulated by law and must be used, transported, and dispensed in a sanitary manner.

5-101.12   System Flushing and Disinfection.*

During construction, repair, or modification, water systems may become contaminated with microbes from soil because pipes are installed underground or by chemicals resulting from soldering and welding. Floods and other incidents may also cause water to become contaminated. Chemical contaminants such as oils may also be present on or in the components of the system. To render the water safe, the system must be properly flushed and disinfected before being placed into service.

5-101.13   Bottled Drinking Water.*

Bottled water is obtained from a public water system or from a private source such as a spring or well. Either means of production must be controlled by public health law to protect the consumer from contaminated water.


5-102.11   Standards.*

Bacteriological and chemical standards have been developed for public drinking water supplies to protect public health. All drinking water supplies must meet standards required by law.

5-102.12   Nondrinking Water.*

Food establishments may use nondrinking water for purposes such as air-conditioning or fire protection. Nondrinking water is not monitored for bacteriological or chemical quality or safety as is drinking water. Consequently, certain safety precautions must be observed to prevent the contamination of food, drinking water, or food-contact surfaces. Identifying the piping designated as nondrinking waterlines and inspection for cross connections are examples of safety precautions.

5-102.13   Sampling.

Wells and other types of individual water supplies may become contaminated through faulty equipment or environmental contamination of ground water. Periodic sampling is required by law to monitor the safety of the water and to detect any change in quality. The controlling agency must be able to ascertain that this sampling program is active and that the safety of the water is in conformance with the appropriate standards. Laboratory results are only as accurate as the sample submitted. Care must be taken not to contaminate samples. Proper sample collection and timely transportation to the laboratory are necessary to ensure the safety of drinking water used in the establishment.

5-102.14   Sample Report.

The most recent water sampling report must be kept on file to document a safe water supply.

Quantity and Availability

5-103.11   Capacity.*

Availability of sufficient water is a basic requirement for proper sanitation within a food establishment. An insufficient supply of safe water will prevent the proper cleaning of items such as equipment and utensils and of food employees' hands.

5-103.12   Pressure.

Inadequate water pressure could lead to situations that place the public health at risk. For example, inadequate pressure could result in improper handwashing or equipment operation. Sufficient water pressure ensures that equipment such as mechanical warewashers operate according to manufacturer's specifications.

5-103.13   Hot Water.

Hot water required for washing items such as equipment and utensils and employees' hands, must be available in sufficient quantities to meet demand during peak water usage periods. Booster heaters for warewashers that use hot water for sanitizing are designed to raise the temperature of hot water to a level that ensures sanitization. If the volume of water reaching the booster heater is not sufficient or hot enough, the required temperature for sanitization can not be reached. Manual washing of food equipment and utensils is most effective when hot water is used. Unless utensils are clean to sight and touch, they cannot be effectively sanitized.

Distribution, Delivery, and Retention

5-104.11   System.

Inadequate water systems may serve as vehicles for contamination of food or food-contact surfaces. This requirement is intended to ensure that sufficient volumes of water are provided from supplies shown to be safe, through a distribution system which is protected.

5-104.12   Alternative Water Supply.

Water from an approved source can be contaminated if inappropriately conveyed. Improperly constructed and maintained water mains, pumps, hoses, connections, and other appurtenances, as well as transport vehicles and containers, may result in contamination of safe water and render it hazardous to human health.


5-201.11   Approved.*

Plumbing systems and hoses conveying water must be made of approved materials and be smooth, durable, nonabsorbent, and corrosion-resistant. If not, the system may constitute a health hazard because unsuitable surfaces may harbor disease organisms or it may be constructed of materials that may, themselves, contaminate the water supply.

Design, Construction, and Installation

5-202.11   Approved System and Cleanable Fixtures.*

Water within a system will leach minute quantities of materials out of the components of the system. To make sure none of the leached matter is toxic or in a form that may produce detrimental effects, even through long-term use, all materials and components used in water systems must be of an approved type. New or replacement items must be tested and approved based on current standards.

Improperly designed, installed, or repaired water systems can have inherent deficiencies such as improper access openings, dead spaces, and areas difficult or impossible to clean and disinfect. Dead spaces allow water quality to degrade since they are out of the constant circulation of the system. Fixtures such as warewashing sinks that are not easily cleanable may lead to the contamination of food products.

5-202.12   Handwashing Lavatory, Water Temperature and Flow.

Warm water is more effective than cold water in removing the fatty soils encountered in kitchens. An adequate flow of warm water will cause soap to lather and aid in flushing soil quickly from the hands. An inadequate flow or temperature of water may lead to poor handwashing practices by food employees. A mixing valve or combination faucet is needed to provide properly tempered water for handwashing. Steam mixing valves are not allowed for this use because they are hard to control and injury by scalding is a possible hazard.

5-202.13   Backflow Prevention, Air Gap.*

During periods of extraordinary demand, drinking water systems may develop negative pressure in portions of the system. If a connection exists between the system and a source of contaminated water during times of negative pressure, contaminated water may be drawn into and foul the entire system. Standing water in sinks, dipper wells, steam kettles, and other equipment may become contaminated with cleaning chemicals or food residue. To prevent the introduction of this liquid into the water supply through back siphonage, various means may be used.

The water outlet of a drinking water system must not be installed so that it contacts water in sinks, equipment, or other fixtures that use water. Providing an air gap between the water supply outlet and the flood level rim of a plumbing fixture or equipment prevents contamination that may be caused by backflow.

5-202.14   Backflow Prevention Device, Design Standard.

In some instances an air gap is not practical such as is the case on the lower rinse arm for the final rinse of warewashers. This arm may become submerged if the machine drain becomes clogged. If this failure occurs, the machine tank would fill to the flood level rim, which is above the rinse arm. A backflow prevention device is used to avoid potential backflow of contaminated water when an air gap is not practical. The device provides a break to the atmosphere in the event of a negative pressure within the system.

Minerals contained in water and solid particulate matter carried in water may coat moving parts of the device or become lodged between them over time. This may render the device inoperative. To minimize such an occurrence, only devices meeting certain standards of construction, installation, maintenance, inspection, and testing for that application may be used. The necessary maintenance can be facilitated by installing these devices in accessible locations.

5-202.15   Conditioning Device, Design.

Water conditioning devices must be designed for easy disassembly for servicing so that they can be maintained in a condition that allows them to perform the function for which they were designed.

Numbers and Capacities

5-203.11   Handwashing Lavatory.*

Because handwashing is such an important factor in the prevention of foodborne illness, sufficient lavatories must be available to make handwashing not only possible, but likely.

5-203.12   Toilets and Urinals.*

Adequate, sanitary toilet facilities are necessary for the proper disposal of human waste, which carries pathogenic microorganisms, and for preventing the spread of disease by flies and other insects.

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.

5-203.13   Service Sink.

Mop water and similar liquid wastes are contaminated with microorganisms and other filth. Waste water must be disposed of in a sanitary manner that will not contaminate food or food equipment. A service sink or curbed cleaning facility with a drain allows for such disposal.

5-203.14   Backflow Prevention Device, When Required.*

The delivery end of hoses attached to hose bibbs on a drinking water line may be dropped into containers filled with contaminated water or left in puddles on the floor or in other possible sources of contamination. A backflow prevention device must be installed on the hose bibb to prevent the back siphonage of contaminated liquid into the drinking water system during occasional periods of negative pressure in the water line.

5-203.15   Backflow Prevention Device, Carbonator.*

This section is reserved.

The text of this section was deleted in response to a 1996 Conference for Food Protection (CFP) Recommendation. FDA intends to further review the information that is available related to alternative methods of protecting the consumer from this potential cause of copper poisoning and to report its findings to the CFP for reconsideration of the matter.

When carbon dioxide is mixed with water, carbonic acid, a weak acid, is formed. Carbonators on soft drink dispensers form such acids as they carbonate the water to be mixed with the syrups to produce the soft drinks. If, for some reason, a negative pressure develops in the water line to the carbonator, some acidic water will be drawn into the water line. If this line is made of copper, carbonic acid will dissolve some of the copper. When pressure is restored, the trapped water containing dissolved copper will return to the carbonator and be mixed into the first few drinks. This may result in copper poisoning.

Location and Placement

5-204.11   Handwashing Lavatory.*

Hands are probably the most common vehicle for the transmission of pathogens to foods in an establishment. Hands can become soiled with a variety of contaminants during routine operations. Some employees are unlikely to wash their hands unless properly equipped handwashing facilities are accessible in the immediate work area. Lavatories which are improperly located may be blocked by portable equipment or stacked full of soiled utensils and other items, rendering the lavatory unavailable for regular employee use. Nothing must block the approach to a sink thereby discouraging its use, and the sink must be kept clean and well stocked with soap and sanitary towels to encourage frequent use.

5-204.12   Backflow Prevention Device, Location.

Backflow prevention devices are meant to protect the drinking water system from contamination caused by backflow. If improperly placed, backflow prevention devices will not work. If inconveniently located, these devices may not be accessed when systems are extended, altered, serviced, or replaced. Over a period of time, unserviced devices may fail and system contamination may occur.

5-204.13   Conditioning Device, Location.

When not located for easy maintenance, conditioning devices will be inconvenient to access and devices such as filters, screens, and water softeners will become clogged because they are not properly serviced.

Operation and Maintenance

5-205.11   Using a Handwashing Lavatory.

Lavatories must be maintained in a condition that promotes handwashing and restricted for that use. Convenient accessibility of a handwashing lavatory encourages timely handwashing which provides a break in the chain of contamination from the hands of food employees to food or food-contact surfaces. Sinks used for food preparation and warewashing can become sources of contamination if used as handwashing lavatories by employees returning from the toilet or from duties which have contaminated their hands.

5-205.12   Prohibiting a Cross Connection.*

Nondrinking water may be of unknown or questionable origin. Waste water is either known or suspected to be contaminated. Neither of these sources can be allowed to contact and contaminate the drinking water system.

5-205.13   Scheduling Inspection and Service for a Water System Device.

Water system devices, such as filters and backflow preventers, are affected by the water in the system. How devices are affected depends on water quality, especially pH, hardness, and suspended particulate matter in the water. Complexity of the device is also a factor. Manufacturer recommendations, as well as inspection and maintenance schedules for these devices, must be strictly followed to prevent failure during operation.


5-205.14   Water Reservoir of Fogging Devices, Cleaning.*

Water reservoirs that have poor water exchange rates, such as reservoirs for some humidifiers or aerosol or fogging devices, and that are directly or indirectly open to the atmosphere, may be contaminated with respiratory pathogens such as Legionella pneumophila. This organism is extremely infectious and can be transmitted through very small droplets of a fogger or humidifier. It is important that the manufacturer's cleaning and maintenance schedule be scrupulously followed to prevent a reservoir from colonization by this bacterium.

5-205.15   System Maintained in Good Repair.*

Improper repair or maintenance of any portion of the plumbing system may result in potential health hazards such as cross connections, backflow, or leakage. These conditions may result in the contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, or single-service or single-use articles. Improper repair or maintenance may result in the creation of obnoxious odors or nuisances, and may also adversely affect the operation of warewashing equipment or other equipment which depends on sufficient volume and pressure to perform its intended functions.


5-301.11   Approved.

Materials used in the construction of a mobile water tank are affected by the water they contact. Tank liners may deteriorate and flake. Metals or platings can be toxic. To prevent the degradation of the quality of the water, it is important that the materials used in the construction of the tank are suitable for such use.

Design and Construction

5-302.11   Enclosed System, Sloped to Drain.

5-302.12   Inspection and Cleaning Port, Protected and Secured.

The tank must be a closed system from the filling inlet to the outlet to prevent contamination of water. It is important that the bottom of the tank be sloped to the outlet to allow the tank to drain completely, to facilitate the proper cleaning and disinfection of the tank, and to prevent the retention of water or solutions after cleaning.

Some tanks are designed with an access opening to facilitate the cleaning and servicing of the water tank. The access must be constructed to prevent the opening from becoming a source of contamination of the water.

5-302.13   "V" Type Threads, Use Limitation.

V-type threads are difficult to clean if contaminated with food or waste. To prevent the contamination of the drinking water, this type of thread should only be used on water tank inlets and outlets if the connection is permanent which eliminates exposed, difficult-to-clean threads.

5-302.14   Tank Vent, Protected.

Water tanks are equipped with a vent to preclude distortion during filling or draining. The vent should be equipped with a suitable screen or filter to protect the tank against the entry of insects or other vermin that may contaminate the water supply.

5-302.15   Inlet and Outlet, Sloped to Drain.

Both the inlet and outlet must be sloped to drain to prevent the pooling of possibly contaminated water or sanitizing solution.

5-302.16   Hose, Construction and Identification.

Hoses used to fill potable water tanks should be dedicated for that one task and should be identified for that use only to prevent contaminating the water. Hoses must be made of a material that will not leach detrimental substances into the water.

Numbers and Capacities

5-303.11   Filter, Compressed Air.

Compressor pistons are lubricated with oil to minimize wear. Some of the oil is carried into the air lines and if not intercepted may contaminate the tank and water lines.

5-303.12   Protective Cover or Device.

Protective equipment provided for openings of the water supply must be in use to prevent contamination which may be present where the supply is exposed to the environment, i.e., at water inlets or outlets or the ends of transfer hoses.

5-303.13   Mobile Food Establishment Tank Inlet.

Mobile units may be particularly vulnerable to environmental contamination if soiled hose connections are coupled to the tank inlet.

Operation and Maintenance

5-304.11   System Flushing and Disinfection.*

Contaminants of various types may be introduced into a water system during construction or repair or other incidents. The system must be flushed and sanitized after maintenance and before it is placed into service to prevent contamination of the water introduced into the tank.

5-304.12   Using a Pump and Hoses, Backflow Prevention.

When a water system includes a pump, or a pump is used in filling a water tank, care must be taken during hookup to prevent negative pressure on the supplying water system. Backflow prevention to protect the water supply is especially necessary during cleaning and sanitizing operations on a mobile system.

5-304.13   Protecting Inlet, Outlet, and Hose Fitting.

When not connected for use, water inlets, outlets, and hose fittings should be closed to the environment. Unless capped or otherwise protected, filling inlets, outlets, and hoses may become contaminated by dust or vermin. 

5-304.14   Tank, Pump, and Hoses, Dedication.

Hoses, pumps, and tanks used for food or water may not be used for other liquids because this may contaminate the water supply. If a hose, tank, or pump has been used to transfer liquid food, the equipment must be cleaned and sanitized before using it for water delivery. Failure to properly clean and sanitize the equipment would introduce nutrients, and possibly bacteria, into the water as well as inactivate residual chlorine from public water supplies.

Mobile Holding Tank

5-401.11   Capacity and Drainage.

Liquid waste from a mobile or temporary food establishment must be stored in a properly constructed waste tank to discourage the attraction of flies and other vermin. The waste tank must be 15% larger than the water storage tank to allow for storage of wastes and used water from the drinking water supply tank. The drain from the waste tank must be larger than the filling hose to prevent the use of the drinking water filling hose to drain the waste tank.

Retention, Drainage, and Delivery

5-402.10   Establishment Drainage System.

The drainage system must be designed and installed properly to prevent the backup of sewage and the possible contamination of foods or food-contact surfaces in the establishment.

5-402.11   Backflow Prevention.*

Improper plumbing installation or maintenance may result in potential health hazards such as cross connections, back siphonage or backflow. These conditions may result in the contamination of food, utensils, equipment, or other food-contact surfaces. It may also adversely affect the operation of equipment such as warewashing machines.

5-402.12   Grease Trap.

Failure to locate a grease trap so that it can be properly maintained and cleaned could result in the harborage of vermin and/or the failure of the sewage system.

5-402.13   Conveying Sewage.*

5-402.14   Removing Mobile FoodEstablishment Waste.

Improper disposal of waste provides a potential for contamination of food, utensils, and equipment and, therefore, may cause serious illness or disease outbreaks. Proper removal is required to prevent contamination of ground surfaces and water supplies, or creation of other insanitary conditions that may attract insects and other vermin.

5-402.15   Flushing a Waste Retention Tank.

Thoroughly flushing the liquid waste retention tank will prevent the buildup of deposits within the tank which could affect the proper operation of the tank.

Disposal Facility

5-403.11   Approved Sewage Disposal System.*

Many diseases can be transmitted from one person to another through fecal contamination of food and water. This transmission can be indirect. Proper disposal of human wastes greatly reduces the risk of fecal contamination. This Code provision is intended to ensure that wastes will not contaminate ground surfaces or water supplies; pollute surface waters; be accessible to children or pets; or allow rodents or insects to serve as vectors of disease from this source.

5-403.12   Other Liquid Waste and Rainwater.

Liquid food wastes and rainwater can provide a source of bacterial contamination and support populations of pests. Proper storage and disposal of wastes and drainage of rainwater eliminate these conditions.

Facilities on the Premises

5-501.10   Indoor Storage Area.

5-501.11   Outdoor Storage Surface.

5-501.12   Outdoor Enclosure.

5-501.13   Receptacles.

5-501.14   Receptacles in Vending Machines.

5-501.15   Outside Receptacles.

5-501.16   Storage Areas, Rooms, and Receptacles, Capacity and Availability.

5-501.17   Toilet Room Receptacle, Covered.

5-501.18   Cleaning Implements and Supplies.

5-501.19   Storage Areas, Redeeming Machines, Receptacles and Waste Handling Units, Location.

5-501.110  Storage Refuse, Recyclables, and Returnables

5-501.111  Areas, Enclosures, and Receptacles, Good Repair.

5-501.112  Outside Storage Prohibitions.

5-501.113  Covering Receptacles.

5-501.114  Using Drain Plugs.

5-501.115  Maintaining Refuse Areas and Enclosures.

5-501.116  Cleaning Receptacles.

Proper storage and disposal of garbage and refuse are necessary to minimize the development of odors, prevent such waste from becoming an attractant and harborage or breeding place for insects and rodents, and prevent the soiling of food preparation and food service areas. Improperly handled garbage creates nuisance conditions, makes housekeeping difficult, and may be a possible source of contamination of food, equipment, and utensils.

Storage areas for garbage and refuse containers must be constructed so that they can be thoroughly cleaned in order to avoid creating an attractant or harborage for insects or rodents. In addition, such storage areas must be large enough to accommodate all the containers necessitated by the operation in order to prevent scattering of the garbage and refuse.

All containers must be maintained in good repair and cleaned as necessary in order to store garbage and refuse under sanitary conditions as well as to prevent the breeding of flies.

Garbage containers should be available wherever garbage is generated to aid in the proper disposal of refuse.

Outside receptacles must be constructed with tight-fitting lids or covers to prevent the scattering of the garbage or refuse by birds, the breeding of flies, or the entry of rodents. Proper equipment and supplies must be made available to accomplish thorough and proper cleaning of garbage storage areas and receptacles so that unsanitary conditions can be eliminated.


5-502.11   Frequency.

5-502.12   Receptacles or Vehicles.

Refuse, recyclables, and returnable items, such as beverage cans and bottles, usually contain a residue of the original contents. Spillage from these containers soils receptacles and storage areas and becomes an attractant for insects, rodents, and other pests. The handling of these materials entails some of the same problems and solutions as the handling of garbage and refuse. Problems are minimized when all of these materials are removed from the premises at a reasonable frequency.

Facilities for Disposal and Recycling

5-503.11   Community or Individual Facility.

Alternative means of solid waste disposal must be conducted properly to prevent environmental consequences and the attraction of insects, rodents, and other pests.

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.


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.


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.

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 and/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 Lavatories

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.

6-301.20   Disposable Towels, Waste Receptacle.

Waste receptacles at handwashing lavatories 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.


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.


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 Lavatories

6-401.10   Conveniently Located.

Lavatories 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, and Designated 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   Maintaining and Using Handwashing Lavatories.

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

Also refer to the public health reason for § 5-205.11.

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.


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.


Controlling Pests.*

Insects and other pests are capable of transmitting disease to man by contaminating food and food-contact surfaces. Effective measures must be taken to control 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.


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 support 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.

Chapter 7 Poisonous or Toxic Materials 

Original Containers

7-101.11   Identifying Information, Prominence.*

The accidental contamination of food or food-contact surfaces can cause serious illness. Prominent and distinct labeling helps ensure that poisonous and toxic materials including personal care items are properly used.

Working Containers

7-102.11   Common Name.*

It is common practice in food establishments to purchase many poisonous or toxic materials including cleaners and sanitizers in bulk containers. Working containers are frequently used to convey these materials to areas where they will be used, resulting in working containers being stored in different locations in the establishment. Identification of these containers with the common name of the material helps prevent the dangerous misuse of the contents.


7-201.11   Separation.*

Separation of poisonous and toxic materials in accordance with the requirements of this section ensures that food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles are properly protected from contamination. For example, the storage of these types of materials directly above or adjacent to food could result in contamination of the food from spillage.

Presence and Use

7-202.11   Restriction.*

The presence in the establishment of poisonous or toxic materials that are not required for the maintenance and operation of the establishment represents an unnecessary risk to both employees and consumers.

Preserving food safety depends in part on the appropriate and proper storage and use of poisonous or toxic materials that are necessary to the maintenance and operation of a food establishment. Even those that are necessary can pose a hazard if they are used in a manner that contradicts the intended use of the material as described by the manufacturer on the material's label. If additional poisonous or toxic materials are present, there is an unwarranted increased potential for contamination due to improper storage (e.g., overhead spillage that could result in the contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food equipment) or inappropriate application.

7-202.12   Conditions of Use.*

Failure to properly use poisonous or toxic materials can be dangerous. Many poisonous or toxic materials have general use directions on their label. Failure to follow the stated instructions could result in injury to employees and consumers through direct contact or the contamination of food.

Particular precautions must be taken during the application of poisonous or toxic materials to prevent the contamination of food and other food-contact surfaces. Residues of certain materials are not discernible to the naked eye and present an additional risk to the employee and consumer.

Because of the toxicity of restricted-use pesticides, they can only be applied by certified operators. A certified operator would be aware of the dangers involved in the contamination of food and food-contact surfaces during the application of these materials. Improperly applied pesticides present health risks to employees as well as consumers and special precautions must be taken when restricted-use pesticides are applied.

Container Prohibitions

7-203.11   Poisonous or Toxic Material Containers.*

Use of poisonous or toxic material containers to store, transport, or dispense food is prohibited because of the potential for contamination of the food. The risk of serious medical consequences to anyone consuming food stored in these containers coupled with the lack of confidence that all of the material could or would be removed in the wash and sanitizing procedures are reasons for prohibiting this practice.


7-204.11   Sanitizers, Criteria.*

Chemical sanitizers are included with poisonous or toxic materials because they may be toxic if not used in accordance with requirements listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Large concentrations of sanitizer in excess of the CFR requirements can be harmful because residues of the materials remain. The CFR reference that is provided lists concentrations of sanitizers that are considered safe.

7-204.12   Chemicals for Washing Fruits and Vegetables, Criteria.*

7-204.13   Boiler Water Additives, Criteria.*

7-204.14   Drying Agents, Criteria.*

If the sanitizer, chemical wash, boiler water additive, or drying agent used is not made

up of components that are approved as food additives or generally recognized as safe, illness may result. This could be due to residues that may remain from the use of compounds such as unrecognized drying agents. This is why only those chemicals that are listed in the CFR can be used.

Chemicals that are not listed for these uses may be submitted for review by filing a Food Additive Petition. Sanitizers, wash chemicals, and drying agents are classified as food additives because of the possibility that they may end up in food. Therefore, they are subject to review before being used or listed in the CFR.


7-205.11   Incidental Food Contact, Criteria.*

Lubricants used on food equipment may directly or indirectly end up in the food. Therefore, the lubricants used must be approved as food additives or generally recognized as safe and listed in the CFR. Lubricants that are not safe present the possibility of foodborne illness if they find their way into the food.


7-206.12   Rodent Bait Stations.*

Open bait stations may result in the spillage of the poison being used. Also, it is easier for pests to transport the potentially toxic bait throughout the establishment. Consequently, the bait may end up on food-contact surfaces and ultimately in the food being prepared or served.

7-206.13   Tracking Powders, Pest Control and Monitoring.*

The use of tracking powder pesticides presents the potential for the powder to be dispersed throughout the establishment. Consequently, the powder could directly or indirectly contaminate food being prepared. This contamination could adversely affect both the safety and quality of the food and, therefore, tracking powder pesticides are not allowed.


7-207.11   Restriction and Storage.*

Medicines that are not necessary for the health of employees present an unjustified risk to the health of other employees and consumers due to misuse and/or improper storage.

There are circumstances that require employees or children in a day care center to have personal medications on hand in the establishment. To prevent misuse, personal medications must be labeled and stored in accordance with the requirements stated for poisonous or toxic materials. Proper labeling and storage of medicines to ensure that they are not accidentally misused or otherwise contaminate food or food-contact surfaces.

7-207.12   Refrigerated Medicines, Storage.*

Some employee medications may require refrigerated storage. If employee medications are stored in a food refrigerator, precautions must be taken to prevent the contamination of other items stored in the same refrigerator.

First Aid Supplies

7-208.11   Storage.*

First aid supplies for employee use must be identified and stored in accordance with the requirements of this Code in order to preclude the accidental contamination of food, food equipment, and other food-contact surfaces.

Personal Care Items

7-209.11   Storage.

Employee personal care items may serve as a source of contamination and may contaminate food, food equipment, and food-contact surfaces if they are not properly labeled and stored.

Storage and Display

7-301.11   Separation.* 

Poisonous or toxic materials held for sale on store shelves or stored in stock rooms present a risk of contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles if not stored properly.

Page Last Updated: 10/28/2015
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