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DHEC seeks your input on proposed food code changes

Monday, October 1, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Montgomery
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The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control is proposing updates to food code regulation 61-25 and wants your input. DHEC is holding its second round of interactive forums to provide you with information on the proposed revision.


Click here for information on the forums DHEC is hosting around the state to find one near you.


It is the goal of the program to stay aligned with the most current version of the FDA Food Code and to incorporate those changes that are beneficial to promoting food safety in South Carolina.


Some of the biggest proposals include wording about service animals, time/temperature controls and how often a certified food protection manager needs to be at the establishment.


The SCRLA has highlighted some of the biggest proposed changes to the code.


In Chapter 1, Purpose and Definition, the following changes apply:


Amended: (106) “Retail food establishment” by changing “any” to “an” to match the intent of exemptions in Chapter 8-103.12(A)and by deleting “temporary food establishments” from the examples as they are not issued a retail food establishment permit.


Amended: (112) “Service animal” to clarify that the ADA service animal definition does not include “comfort animals” or any other type of support animal not recognized as a service animal under the ADA and its implementing regulations.


Amended: (117) to correct denotations of the E.coli strains listed.


Amended: (127)(b)(ii) Time/temperature control for safety food (TCS) Tables A and B to match the tables and wording in the 2017 FDA Food Code and include the term PA for product assessment.


Amended: (132)(a)(i) and (b)(i) to add that Priority and Priority Foundation violations are denoted in the body of the regulation with superscript of either “P” or “Pf.”


In Chapter 2, Management and Personnel, the following changes apply:


Added: 2-102.11(C)(9) requiring knowledge of major allergens and renumbered remaining items.


Amended: 2-102.12to add “and Food Handler Certification” to title.


Amended: 2-102.12(A) to add requirement for the certified food protection manager to be present at the facility frequently and to be responsible for ensuring employee health policies are implemented.


Added: 2-102.12(B) requiring that at all times during food service operations a person in charge with a Food Handler Certification be on duty and renumbered remaining items.


Section 2-2


Amended: 2-201.11(A) to remove “person in charge” and replace with “permit holder.” Added that the food employee is to report illness to the person in charge.


Amended: 2-201.12 to add all of that section from the 2017 FDA Food Code not adopted from the 2013 FDA Food Code. This section provides clear guidance to industry on managing exclusion and restrictions of ill workers.


Section 2-4


Added: 2-401.13 Use of Bandages, Finger Cots, or Finger Stalls from the 2017 FDA Food Code.


Amended:2-402.11(A)to clarify when beard restraints are needed.


Amended:2-403.11to include 9-3 “Outdoor Pet Dining.”


Section 2-5


Amended: 2-501.11 to require that vomiting and diarrheal event clean-up procedures be in writing.


Section 3-3

Amended: 3-302.11 (A) to correct reference from (c) to (d) and to add fruits and vegetables to the list of foods that must be separated from raw animal foods during storage, prep, holding and display.


Section 3-4


Amended: 3-401.13 to change “fruits and vegetables” to the more inclusive “plant foods.”


Section 3-5


Added: 3-502.11(H) to clarify that a HACCP plan is not required for special processes that are for flavor enhancement only. A written statement must be provided indicating foods to be enhance and food safety measures taken.


Amended: 3-502.12(C) to add the requirement for a label indicating that fish must be kept frozen until time of use


Section 3-6


Added: 3-602.11 (B)-(D). These provisions specify labeling requirements from the 2017 FDA Food Code providing for allergen labeling on packaged “grab and go” foods where there is no interaction with a server. Labeling will not apply to takeout or delivered food. The requirement allows the consumer to be aware of allergens present.


In Chapter 4, Equipment, Utensils, and Linens, the following changes apply:


Amended 4-101.17 to correct internal references, allow single use of cedar cooking planks, and move the allowance of wicker baskets when suitably lined to (F).


Added:4-303.11. This is a new section on cleaning agents and sanitizers from the 2017 FDA Food Code. Clarifies that both must be present and available for use during operations.


In Chapter 5, Water, Plumbing, and Waste, the following changes apply:


Section 5-1


Amended:5-103.11(B)to remove the requirement for separate hot water systems for food preparation areas to allow for more flexibility in system design. Hot water systems should meet the local plumbing requirements and are evaluated operationally by the Department.


Section 5-2




5-202.14 to clarify that an internal to the building water supply backflow preventer needs to be ASSE certified.


Amended: 5-203.11 to clarify language that the number of hand sinks required is related to the size and scope of the food service operation


In Chapter 6, Physical Facilities, the following changes apply:


Section 6-2


Amended: 6-202.14 by adding “or for public access restroom, an alcove opening as approved by local building codes” to allows for the industry standard of using alcove openings and to harmonize with building codes.


In Chapter 8, Compliance and Enforcement, the following changes apply:


Section 8-2


Amended: 8-301.12 (A)(19)to clarify introductory language and by adding (g) to allow the Department to make risk-based decisions for permit exemptions for additional non-time/temperature control for safety foods that use a low-risk food process.


Added: 8-301.12(A)(20) to extend permit exemption to include individuals preparing and selling additional non-time temperature control for food safety foods (“cottage food” items such as jams/jellies/dried seasonings)from their homes and renumbered remaining items.


Amended: 8-301.12(A)(21) to remove restriction on using a blender to make single-serve smoothies with additional non-time temperature control for food safety food ingredients in (b) and to add new (g)-(h), exempting time controlled waffle/funnel cake/mini donut mix for hotel breakfast service and roadside sale


Section 8-3


Amended: 8-302.13(D). As part of combining R.61-37 into this regulation, the Department has added a new $100.00 fee for first-time permit/preoperational inspections in addition to the annual inspection fee.


Added: 8-304.11(A)(3). As part of combining R.61-37 into this regulation, added the fee renewal requirement and scale and other material information currently contained in R.61-37. The fee scale has been increased to provide for necessary support of the program.


Added: 8-304.11(A)(5) to require a facility to operate at least 15 consecutive days a year or one day a week for 15 weeks to retain its permit.


Added: 8-304.11(B)(8) to require the permit holder to notify the Department when the billing or mailing address changes.


Added: 8-304.11(B)(9) to require the permit holder to notify the Department of a change in the capacity of a shared use kitchen.


Section 8-4


Amended: 8-402.20(C) to clarify that the Department may obtain a warrant if access is denied.


Amended: 8-402.40 to clarify Department enforcement options when a facility denies the Department access to the retail food establishment.


Amended: 8-403.10(E) to prohibit covering, obscuring, defacing, relocating, or removing the posted food grade.


Added: 8-404.11(F) from 2017 FDA Food Code allowing a facility to continue to operate in emergency situations if it has a written emergency operating plan approved by the Department.


Amended: 8-405.11(A)(2) to require all core violations, regardless of grade, to be corrected as soon as possible.


Section 8-9


Amended: 8-904.110(A)(5) to clarify the Department’s authority to suspend a facility’s permit for failure to notify the Department of facility changes.


Amended: 8-904.110(A)(9) to clarify the Department’s authority to suspend a permit upon a facility’s failure to pay a civil penalty required by a Department order.

Chapter 9, Standards for Additional Retail Food Establishment Operations, the following changes apply:


Amended:(A)(1) Mobile food establishment definition to add that a mobile food unit can be a watercraft and is movable or portable.


Amended: (A)(2) commissary definition to provide that a retail food establishment that serves a highly susceptible population and is regulated by the Department as a health care facility may not be used as a commissary.


Amended: (B)(3) to remove the requirement for daily return to commissary and storage at commissary; added new requirements (a)-(c) to allow for up to

seventy-two (72) hours of operation before servicing for fully self-contained units and to allow Department approval of alternative storage locations for all types of units.


Added: (H)(6) to allow for units to hook up to a public water supply on a temporary basis at location provided that they can also hook up to approved wastewater disposal system. This provision supports the allowance for longer times between servicing at commissary.


Amended: (K)(2) to clarify enclosure exemption is for units that serve only commercially, fully cooked, TCS foods that only require heating, not cooking.


Deleted: (K)(3) to remove exemption from CFPM requirements for mobile pushcarts. Mobile units will comply with Food Handler section of 2-102.12 or be exempted under 2-102.20 (B), depending on menu.


Section 9-2


Amended: (D)(6) to add that the waste container needs to be in the outdoor pet dining area and used exclusively for storing pet waste.


Amended: (E)(1) to require that signs shall be posted at all dining entrances stating that the facility is pet friendly and has an outdoor pet friendly dining area.


Amended: (E)(6) to remove restriction allowing pets on chairs and to change the restriction to apply to food contact surfaces.


Section 9-7


Amended: The introduction to add that the standard is applicable to a smokehouse room.


Section 9-8


Amended: (A) to add “movie or filming location” to the list of allowed events.


Section 9-9


Added: (D)(13)-(14) to require that food must be kept covered and that covers or lids may only be removed for stirring and similar actions.


Deleted: (I)(4). The reference to mechanical ventilation is not required as it was an unnecessary statement.


Section 9-11


Amended: Section title to read “Retail Food Establishment –South Carolina Farmers Markets, Seasonal Series and Remote Service” to allow this section to cover other types of events and activities not previously covered by the regulation. Made corresponding changes to introduction.


Added: (A)(3) to define “remove service operation.”


Amended: (B)(3)-(4) to expand the number of days a week allowed for these functions to two days a week to accommodate the schedules of the farmers’ markets and similar events.


Added: (D)(9)-(10) to require food must be kept covered and that covers or lids may only be removed for stirring and similar actions.


Amended: (F)(2) to remove requirement for one hundred (100)-degree Fahrenheit temperature water at handwashing facility and to require handwashing facility to be of adequate storage capacity to meet the demand of the food service operation.


Amended: (F)(3) to delete specific water storage requirements and replace them with requirement for soap and disposable towels.


Deleted: (I)(1) to remove the exemption from CFPM for seasonal series and community-based farmers’ markets as the revised Food Handler requirements in the body of the regulation cover these operations.

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