U.S – The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released the latest edition of the Food Code, reflecting the agency’s continued commitment to maintaining cooperative programs with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.
The Food Code serves as a blueprint for protecting public health and ensuring that food is given to consumers in an unadulterated, truthful manner.
It offers the FDA’s best recommendation for a unified set of rules addressing the security and safety of foods sold in stores and in restaurants.
This model is made available to local, state, and federal governmental jurisdictions for adoption in order that it may be implemented by the various departments, agencies, bureaus, divisions, and other organizational parts of each jurisdiction that are in charge of overseeing compliance for food service, retail food operations, or food vending operations.
It acknowledges alternatives that provide a comparable degree of public health protection to guarantee the safety of food served in retail and restaurant settings.
The 2022 edition, which marks the 10th edition, reflects the input of regulatory officials, industry, academia, and consumers that participated in the 2020 biennial meeting of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) (held in 2021).
The revisions also reflect input provided by those who have been intimately involved with studying, teaching, and using the earlier editions.
Most of these enhancements involve added clarification or new information. Some reflect evolving regulatory policy contained in new or revised federal regulations.
The FDA worked with other stakeholders to identify the needed clarifications and missing Code provisions during standardization and certification activities, State Training Team courses, regional food protection seminars, the deliberations of food equipment standards organizations, and the verbal and written requests for clarification received by FDA field and headquarters components.
According to the regulator, changes in provisions related to federal laws and regulations administered by other federal agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture were jointly developed with those agencies.
FDA has urged its state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to adopt the latest version of the FDA Food Code to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses within food establishments, thus protecting consumers and industry from potentially devastating health consequences and financial losses.
This will also ensure uniform standards for retail food safety that reduce complexity and better ensure compliance.
Full adoption of the Food Code will also eliminate redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria and enable the establishment of a more standardized approach to inspections and audits of food establishments.
Modifications in the 2022 Food Code
The revised version is claimed to contain added and improved definitions that are more precise and consistent with terminology and definitions found in related laws and regulations.
It also has modified provisions to make them more consistent with national requirements and standards administered by other federal agencies and international bodies, more flexible without compromising public health, and more internally consistent with other Food Code provisions.
Additionally, the Food Code has clarified other provisions regarding their intent, thereby reducing confusion and the potential for inconsistent application.
In the new Food Code, manufacturers will be required to issue a written notification to consumers of major food allergens as ingredients in unpackaged food and label major food allergens in bulk food that is available for consumer self-dispensing.
It has incorporated sesame as the ninth major food allergen.
Further, it has established new criteria for the donation of food to aid in public health protection and revised the definition of intact meat including enhancements to clarify time/temperature cooking requirements.