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GA Aligns Food Service Establishment Rules to FDA 2013 Food Code

On November 1, 2015 the Georgia Department of Public Health will begin implementation of the new Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments. The new Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments were revised to be more closely aligned with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code. This document highlights the biggest and most critical changes for operators.

Download GA Aligns Food Service Establishment Rules to FDA 2013 Food Code

Background and Summary

On November 1, 2015 the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will begin implementation of the new Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments. The new Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments were revised to be more closely aligned with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2013 Model Food Code. Until the adoption of the new regulation, Georgia DPH had been operating on the 2005 FDA Food Code.

When do the new rules go into effect? 
The new food safety rules become effective in Georgia on November 1, 2015.

What types of establishments are affected by the new rules?
The new regulation applies to all retail food establishments for which Georgia DPH has oversight such as restaurants, snack bars, catering operations, ice cream parlors, school cafeterias, licensed healthcare facilities, temporary food establishments, shared-use operations, and mobile food establishments.

What are the new rules?
The new regulation contains several significant changes affecting food service operators in the state. This document contains a summary of key changes that may affect operators and their establishments.

3- Tier Risk Designation

One of the more significant changes to the Georgia Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments is the addition of a new 3-tier risk designation that utilizes a risk evaluation process to assign Chapter provision compliance priority as Priority Items P , Priority Foundation Items Pf, and Core Items C .

  • Priority violations include items such as:
    • Cooking
    • Reheating
    • Cooling
    • Hand-washing
  • Priority Foundation violations include items such as:
    • Personnel Training
    • Documentation
    • Record Keeping
    • Labeling
  • Core violations include items such as:
    • General Sanitation
    • Operational Controls
    • Standard Operating Procedures
    • General Maintenance

Key Definition Changes

  • The term “potentially hazardous foods” is replaced by the term Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food (TCS). The definition of TCS food now includes raw or heat treated animal food, heat treated plant food, raw seed sprouts, cut melons, cut leafy greens, cut tomatoes or mixtures of cut tomatoes, and garlic-in-oil mixtures.
  • “Key Drop Deliveries” definition was added to define methods of product delivery after normal business hours.
  • Catering definition and requirements were added.

Additional Important Changes

  • Nontyphoidal Salmonella was added to pathogens that prompt employee exclusion/restriction
  • Changed Salmonella typhi to typhoid fever (Caused by Salmonella typhi)
  • Revised “Imminent Health Hazard” by adding an option whereby facilities having a preapproved plan may stay open during an emergency event
  • Revised to require that at least one employee with supervisory and management responsibility and authority to direct and control food preparation and service be the Certified Food Safety Manager
  • Revised Food Safety Training by adding training on food allergy awareness for employees based on duties
  • Added language that allows bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods (RTE) that are subsequently heat treated, separated and identified to eliminate comingling with RTE foods that will not be heat treated
  • Added requirements for non-continuous cooking of raw animal foods
  • Clarifies that when gloves are used to handle food, hands must be washed and cleaned prior to donning gloves to initiate a new task
  • Clarifies that undercooked comminuted meats may not be offered on a kid’s menu
  • Clarification of labeling requirements for food packaged at retail
  • Clarifies foods by which an expiration or use by date prohibits use
  • Reduced Oxygen Packaging (ROP) requirements were modified
  • Allows refillable containers for TCS and Non-TCS foods based on specifications and standard operating procedures to prevent cross-contamination
  • Non-heated, forced air dryers added to hand drying provisions
  • Added a requirement for irreversible registering temperature indicator for hot water mechanical warewashing operation
  • Added allowance and requirements for chemical sanitizers generated on site
  • Low Temp. Dish Machine – Flow pressure device not required if pump rinsed
  • Added allowance of pets in outside dining areas with conditions
  • Requires HACCP plans to be reviewed by the local EH office and the State EH office to ensure compliance with the Chapter before implementation of a required HACCP plan
  • New language added to clarify food service equipment acceptability
  • Code chapter changed from 290-5-14 to 511-6-1 as assigned to the Department of Public Health

Changes Affecting Select Operators

Some additional changes in the new regulation that may not affect all food service operators in the state include:

  • “Incubator food service establishment” definition and requirements added
  • Added family style service and requirements
  • Struck subsection (i)1(i) that limited Mobile Food Service units (MFU) to two (2) locations only and replaced with requirements for the MFU operator to provide a list of the MFU vending locations to the Health Authority; MFUs must notify the Health Authority 7 days prior to change the location
  • Revised subsection “Responsibilities of Permit Holder” by adding a requirement for mobile units with several locations to provide a current listing of food vending locations to the Health Authority
  • Provisional permits added to the types of permits that may be used
  • Added allowance for cooling of RTE foods such as soups, chili, sauces, etc. in the fruit and vegetable sink provided the sink is cleaned and sanitized before and after use
  • Clarified outdoor barbeque use requirements
  • Clarified CEUs as maintenance for re-standardization of Environmental Health Specialists

Where can I find a copy of Georgia's DPH's 2015 Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments?

To download a complete copy of Georgia DPH’s 2015 Rules and Regulations for Food Service Establishments, please visit:

http://dph.georgia.gov/food-rules-and-regulations


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