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BREAKING NEWS: Enforcement of food code updates will be delayed until Sept. 1

Feb. 17, 2022 – New changes are coming to the state food code starting on March 1. However, the Washington State Department of Health recently announced enforcement of these new rule changes will be delayed until Sept. 1.

March 1 – Aug. 31 will be an “Educational Period” when local public health inspectors will be focused on educating operators of food establishments. They will be a resource to you to provide technical assistance and guide you through any corrections that may need to be made.

You should not be cited for any violations related to the new rules during this six month educational period. (Citations will continue for existing food code rules.)

The webinar replay below goes into more detail about this new educational period, in addition to this letter and description from the Department of Health.

Additional Resources from the Department of Health (DOH)

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Quick Bites: Webinar

Several changes to the Washington State Food Code went into effect on March 1 with enforcement of these new changes starting on Sept. 1. Are you prepared?

Be sure to watch our webinar with the Department of Health to learn about the top 10 changes coming to the state food code.

Thank you to Harbor Foodservice for sponsoring this webinar.

Quick Bites: Series Overview

The Washington Hospitality Association presents Quick Bites – a video series that will help prepare members for upcoming changes to Washington State’s food code in 2022. The series features Susan Shelton, a public health advisor with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). In part one of our series, Susan gives an overview of some of the changes taking effect March 1, 2022. In future Quick Bites videos, we will take an in depth look at each of the changes.

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.

Stay tuned as we break down each one of these changes to Washington’s food code in our video series with the Washington State Department of Health available here. You can look over the changes on the DOH website here: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/4400/FoodCodeRuleRevision-Top10Changes.pdf