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2014 South Carolina Retail Food Establishment Regulation Changes

On June 27, 2014, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) began implementation of a new Retail Food Establishment Regulation. The new Retail Food Establishment Regulation (R.61-25) was revised so that it is now more closely aligned with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2013 Model Food Code. Until the adoption of the new regulation, DHEC had been operating on periodic updates to the 1993 FDA Food Code.

When do the new rules become effective?
The new food safety rules became effective in South Carolina on June 27, 2014.

What types of establishments are affected by the new rules?
The new regulation applies to all retail food establishments for which DHEC has oversight such as restaurants, delicatessens, snack bars, catering operations, ice cream parlors, school cafeterias, independent living food service operations, licensed healthcare facilities, temporary food establishments, grocery stores, retail meat markets, fish/seafood markets, retail ice merchants, shared-use operations, and mobile food establishments.

3-Tier Violation Classification System

One of the more significant changes to the South Carolina regulation is the implementation of a new 3–Tier violation classification system that places violations in three categories – Priority, Priority Foundation, and Core.

What are the new rules?

The new regulation contains several significant changes affecting food service operators in the state.

  • New key definitions - Potentially hazardous foods are now called 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.

  • No “bare hand contact” with ready-to-eat foods

  • Allowance of time as a public health control instead of temperature

  • Cooling of TCS foods from 130°F to 45°F within a total of 6 hours (See important information on delayed temperature implementation below.)

  • Designation of a Person In Charge (PIC) who must be present during all hours of food service operation

  • Requirement for employees to report diseases that are transmissible through food to the PIC

  • Reduction in required hot water temperatures from 140°F to not less than 110°F for general use and 110°F to 100°F for hand washing

  • Clear, consistent language for consumer advisories for food such as undercooked hamburger and tenderized whole muscle meats

  • Prohibition of offering or serving raw or undercooked comminuted (ground/minced etc.) meat from a children’s menu

  • Requirement for hair and beard restraints that are designed and worn to effectively prevent hair from contacting food and food contact surfaces and a definitive rule for fingernail length

  • Processes are provided for evaluating and allowing variances

  • The creation of a new combined application and permit document (new form) which will denote conditions and special provisions for that operation

New Line Item Inspection Form

The updated Retail Food Establishment Regulation created a completely new fifty-four (54) line item inspection form that provides details as to whether a condition is in or out of compliance, is not applicable to the establishment, was not observed during the inspection, was corrected during the inspection if found to be out of compliance, is a consecutive violation (penalty situation), or verification is required.

To see an example of the new inspection form please go to: www.scdhec.gov/FoodSafety/Docs/NewRegulation/1722A%20-%20RFE%20Inspection%20Report.pdf

What provisions in the new regulation will be DELAYED?

Full implementation of several provisions in the new Retail Food Establishment Regulation will be delayed for 2 years.

  • The regulation section(s) requiring refrigeration equipment to be capable of maintaining 41°F or below cold holding temperature
  • The regulation section(s) requiring date marking of ready-to-eat foods, providing a barrier to the growth of Listeria monocytogenes
  • The regulation section(s) requiring hot holding to be 135°F or above (up 5°F from the current 130°F allowance)
  • The requirements for one manager or person with supervisory responsibility per facility (permit) to be certified by a food protection manager certification program

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