HAE

Are you ready? Changes to current Rules and Regulations are just around the corner!

As an employee in the retail food industry, you are probably aware that Colorado has adopted the 2013 FDA Food Code and that Colorado’s current Rules and Regulations will be changing January 1, 2019, but is your establishment ready? Though much of Colorado’s current food safety regulation incorporates the FDA Food Code, there are several changes that will impact operating establishments. Below are key changes to take note of along with reference material that can help you implement these regulation updates into your current practices.
 

  • Date Marking - Date marking procedures will be required for all food service operations. Date marking is currently only required in Colorado for establishments that serve food to highly susceptible populations such as health care facilities and schools. Refrigerated,ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods prepared and held in the establishment for more than 24 hours will be required to be clearly marked to indicate the date by which the food is to be consumed, sold, or discarded. These foods must then be consumed, sold, or discarded within 7 days. For additional guidance on Date Marking.
  • Certified Food Protection Manager - Establishments will be required to have at least one employee, with supervisory and management responsibilities, that holds a current food protection manager certification. For additional guidance on Certified Food Protection Manager certification
  • Vomiting and Diarrheal Clean-Up Procedures - Establishments must have procedures for employees to follow when responding to vomiting or diarrheal events within the establishment. Illness outbreaks have been documented when proper clean up procedures were not followed. For additional guidance on Vomiting and Diarrheal Clean-Up Procedures
  • High Temperature Dish Machines - Facilities with high temperature dish machines will need to have means to check the  final rinse temperature using a heat tape thermometer or a maximum registering thermometer. Actively managing ware washing equipment can reduce violations associated with inadequate sanitization. 
  • Hand Washing Signage - A sign or poster that notifies food employees to wash their hands will need to be displayed at all hand washing sinks. For an example of Hand Washing Signage.

Certified Food Protection Manager certification-New Exam Dates Added!

There is still opportunity to take your Certified Food Protection Manager certification exam through Larimer County Extension’s ANSI-CFP certified proctoring services. As the year ends this service has been popular so to better accommodate the nearing deadline new exam dates have been added.

There are three exams being offered, all of which satisfy the new regulatory requirement. You need only choose one exam to take and pass to be in compliance. Extension is offering the ServSafe® Professional Food Manager study book for sale in English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese, and offers exams in the same languages. The NEHA and FMI exams are offered in English and Spanish. Information on where to obtain study material can be provided.

Under the new regulation you will only need one employee per establishment that hold the certification. For establishments with multiple locations distance between locations will be a factor in how many certified managers you will need to employ to comply. Once a passing score is received a copy of the certificate should remain on file to present during an inspection. All of the three certifications are valid for 5 years.

New Inspection Form!

Beginning January, 2019 Colorado health departments will start us- ing a new inspection form for conducting food safety inspections. The new form is based upon the form in FDA’s 2013 Food Code. The move to the new form will allow inspection data comparison among all of Colorado’s health departments as well as health departments in other states that use the Food Code and its inspection form.

The new form has 56 items. It is broken up into two categories, Foodborne Illness Risk Factors and Public Health Interventions and Good Retail Practices. Foodborne illness risk factors are the most significant contributing factors to foodborne illness. They include five broad categories of food safety: Food from unsafe sources, improper holding temperatures, inadequate cooking, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene. Five key public health interventions to protect consumer health are included in this section of the form. They are: demonstration of knowledge, employee health controls, controlling hands as a vehicle of contamination, time and temperature parameters for controlling pathogens, and the consumer advisory. These items are prominent on the inspection report because maintaining these items in compliance is vital to preventing foodborne illness.
 
Good Retail Practices are systems to control basic operational and sanitation conditions within a facility, if not controlled they could be contributing factors to foodborne illness.

The intention of this inspection form is to focus attention on those factors that have been shown to be most often linked with causing foodborne illness. The major emphasis of an inspection will focus on the foodborne illness risk factors and the public health interventions as they have the greatest impact on preventing foodborne illness.

The new form allows a health department to consider a violation’s severity or its pervasiveness when assessing point values for some violations. For example a minor cold holding violation of cut lettuce or cut tomatoes found at 46°F can be assessed a point value of 10 points, a more server cold holding violation such as a refrigeration unit, like a walk in cooler, not working will be assessed 20 points. The goal is to provide a more accurate picture of how an establishment is performing.

Colorado has adopted the 2013 FDA Food Code!

Colorado legislature has adopted the 2013 FDA Food Code, which will replace Colorado's current rules and regulations. This change will become effective January 1, 2019. These changes will affect all establishments holding a retail food license, including but not limited to restaurants, delis, cafeterias, and grocery stores. Numerous sections of the FDA Food Code are incorporated in Colorado’s current food safety regulations, so establishments should not see a great deal of new requirements. However, there are several changes that will impact currently operating establishments. Some of the major changes include:

  • Date marking procedures would be required for all food service operations. Refrigerated, ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods prepared and held in the establishment for more than 24 hours will be required to be clearly marked to indicate the date or day by which the food is to be consumed, sold, or discarded. These foods must then be consumed, sold, or discarded within 7 days. This requirement is to help control the growth of deadly Listeria bacteria.
  • Establishments will be required to have at least one employee, with supervisory and management responsibilities, that holds a Certified Food Protection Manager Certification. Studies have shown establishments with certified managers have fewer food safety violations.
  • Establishments must have procedures for employees to follow when responding to vomiting or diarrheal events within the establishment. Illness outbreaks have been documented when proper clean up procedures were not followed.
  • Facilities with high temperature dish machines will need to have means to check the final sanitizing rinse temperature by using heat tape thermometers or a maximum registering thermometer. Actively managing ware washing equipment can reduce violations associated with inadequate sanitization.
  • A sign or poster that notifies food employees to wash their hands will need to be displayed at all hand washing sinks. Signage is intended to improve the frequency of hand washing.

New Regulation Brings New Terms to Learn

With the adoption of the 2013 FDA Food Code, common terms from the Colorado Retail Food Regulations will be changing to reflect the language of the Food Code. Mostly notably are the changes to citation names. Under the current regulations, citations were either Critical or Non-Critical items. Under the Food Code, citations now fall into 3 categories: Priority, Priority Foundation, and Core items. For ease of understanding, think of Priority and Priority Foundation items equivalent to Critical items, and Core items equivalent to Non-Critical items. Formal definitions of the new verbiage are as follows:

Priority: A provision in this Code whose application contributes directly to the elimination, prevention or reduction to an acceptable level, hazards associated with foodborne illness or injury and there is no other provision that more directly controls the hazard. Priority items includes items with a quantifiable measure to show control of hazards such as cooking, reheating, cooling, hand washing.

Priority Foundation: A provision in this Code whose application supports, facilitates or enables one or more priority items. Priority foundation items includes items that requires the purposeful incorporation of specific actions, equipment or procedures by industry management to attain control of risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness or injury such as personnel training, infrastructure or necessary equipment, HACCP plans, documentation or record keeping, and labeling.

Core: An item that usually relates to general sanitation,  operational controls, sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs), facilities or structures, equipment design, or general maintenance.

An additional change taking place with the adoption of the 2013 FDA Food Code is that Potentially Hazardous Food (PHF) is now referred to as Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food  (TCS). The definition will remain unchanged, it is only the name that will be revised. Time/temperature control for Safety Food refers to foods that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation. This group includes, but is not limited to items such as meat and fish, dairy products, cut melons, tomatoes and leafy greens, and cooked rice, beans or vegetables.