The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published (November 9) an updated edition of its FDA Food Code as part of President Obama's food safety initiative to regulate the food industry. It contains several new guidelines, including recommendations on handling and storing leafy greens and serving hamburgers in children's lunches.
The FDA code regulates over 1 million restaurants, food retailers and food service operations around the country and provides them with science-based information intended to reduce the risks of food-borne illness, according to the FDA. It's also meant to provide a reference system for the retail food industry.
"The FDA is spearheading an important initiative to improve the nation's food safety system by establishing a fully integrated national system with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial regulatory agencies," said Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in a news release.
In its seventh edition and updated for the first time since 2005, the code contains numerous adjustments including:
- Provisions to assist the industry and regulators have a maximum impact on food safety.
- Cut leafy greens are now included among the foods that require time and temperature control for safety.
- Serving hamburgers and other ground meats in an undercooked form upon a consumer's request is no longer an option on a children's menu.
- New guidelines to improve awareness of food allergens in food service and retail settings.
- New requirements related to cleaning and sanitizing equipment and surfaces.