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Approximately every eight years, Washington updates the state food code based on the up-to-date U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Model Food Code. Local, state, tribal and federal regulators all use the FDA food code as a model to develop or update their own rules and remain consistent with national food policy. The changes also reflect the stakeholder process that ensures policies are practical for individuals and businesses across sectors.
These are the most important health code changes impacting hospitality businesses in 2022:
- Management and personnel changes – There will be changes to the duties outlined for a person in charge or shift manager. The certified food protection manager requirement will be updated.
- Potentially Hazardous Foods – This familiar term will be updated to “Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) foods.”
- There are new reporting requirements around employee health and new guidelines on bare hand contact.
- There are new standards for date marking foods.
- There are changes to the code in regard to cooking ground meat and poultry products.
- There are changes to the rules on fish, shellfish and produce washing.
- Operational changes include the requirement of written plans on vomit and diarrheal cleanup;
- The rules surrounding pets on premises, including comfort animals;
- And code updates related to washing and sanitizing utensils. Rules on refilling customer-owned containers will also change.
- Some establishments were also removed from the code. One change excludes certain types of beverage businesses that meet a very specific definition from some rules. For example, lemonade stands and small bed and breakfasts that are not operated year-round are excluded.