U.S. FDA releases searchable food code database

April 23, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created the Food Code Reference System (FCRS) as part of an effort to promote consistent understanding and application of the FDA’s Food Code. The FDA Food Code—a model that has been widely adopted by state, local, tribal, and territorial regulatory agencies—provides FDA’s best advice for a uniform system of provisions to address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in foodservice. The food code assists food control jurisdictions at all levels of government by providing them with a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and foodservice segment of the industry. Regulators use the FDA Food Code as a model to develop or update their own food safety rules and to be consistent with national food regulatory policy.

The new Food Code Reference System, a searchable database that answers questions users may have about the Food Code and the application of its model regulations, will help to promote nationwide consistency and increase transparency about the Food Code. The Food Code Reference System contains entries derived from responses to Food Code-related questions posed to the FDA. 

Initially, users of the FCRS will find more than 20 entries that clarify many issues including:

  • The storage of foods that require temperature control for safety.
  • The design of food establishments and the cleaning of food equipment.
  • Bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
  • Preventing contamination of food through proper hand hygiene and employee attire.

The FDA intends to add entries it believes are important to the uniform application of the Food Code and that may have implications across all jurisdictions that regulate food establishments. These entries will reflect questions previously answered by the FDA as well as responses to future inquires that the FDA receives.

Food Code Reference System