FDA Food Code 2009: Annex 3 - Public Health Reasons / Administrative Guidelines - Chapter 7, Poisonous or Toxic Materials

Public Health Reasons / Administrative Guidelines for:

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.

See explanation in § 4-501.114.

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 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. Wash chemicals, boiler water additives, 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.

21 CFR Section 173.315 specifically identifies chemicals that may be used in washing fruits and vegetables, but it does not specify any maximum level (2000 ppm or otherwise) of chemical usage for sodium hypochlorite. FDA acknowledges the use of sodium hypochlorite on fruits and vegetables and also allows calcium hypochlorite to be used interchangeably with sodium hypochlorite under 21 CFR 173.315.

Boiler water additives that may be safely used in the preparation of steam that may contact food, and their condition of use, are identified in 21 CFR 173.310 Boiler Water Additives.


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.


7-206.11 Restricted Use Pesticides, Criteria.
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.

Other 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: 09/30/2015
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