Colorado/FDA Food Code Transition

April 11, 2018

 

On January 1, 2019, Colorado will adopt the 2013 FDA model Food Code. This will mean some operational changes for all retail food establishments.

 

One change is a requirement that at least one manager or supervisor with the authority to direct and control food preparation, shall be Certified as a Food Protection Manager.  ServSafe Food Manager classes not only fulfill this requirement, but also benefit our own Colorado Restaurant Foundation and the important work they do in workforce development and industry support.

 

Another notable change is required date marking of certain foods.  Certain ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous foods, which require time and temperature control for safety, kept for more than 24 hours must be date marked, and sold, served or discarded within 7 days.

 

Additional changes include: 

  • Procedures in place for the proper cleanup of a vomiting or diarrheal event
  • Hand-washing signs at all hand-washing sinks used by employees

 

Get a list of the top 10 questions regarding the changes to the Colorado Food Code, click here. As always, contact our office if you have any questions!

 

Menu Labeling Standards Go Live May 7

April 4, 2018

The FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule will become enforceable on May 7, 2018.

The FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule sets standards for the menus of food establishments with 20 or more locations or a franchisee part of a chain with 20 or more locations. In general, a restaurant must list the number of calories for each “standard” menu item next to the item on the menu or menu board, as well as keep additional nutrient facts on hand for any customer request.

To help with compliance the FDA has released guidance for restaurants, located here.

 

What you need to know:

If you fall under the rule (20 or more locations or part of a chain with 20 or more locations) you will need to provide the following information:

  1. The number of calories contained in a standard menu item listed on a menu or menu board
  2. The number of calories contained in a standard menu item that is a self-serve food or food on display on a sign adjacent to the corresponding item
  3. Additional written nutrition information upon consumer request ( see paragraphs 5.56 – 5.75 of the guidance)

 

What is exempt from this rule?

  1. Temporary menu items (see paragraph 3.20 of the guidance)
  2. Condiments that are for general use (see paragraph 5.2 of the guidance)
  3. Daily specials (see paragraph 3.12 of the guidance)
  4. Custom orders by customers (see paragraph 3.11 of the guidance)
  5. Food for a market test – less than 90 days on the menu (see paragraph 3.15 of the guidance)

However, if you choose to provide nutrition content on the exempt items you will need to follow the standards outlined in paragraph 4.3 of the guidance.

 

What information do you need to provide on your menus?

  1. The number of calories in each listed standard menu item
  2. The following statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.” (see paragraph 5.14 for the guidance)
  3. The following statement: “Additional nutrition information available upon request.”

 

How do I determine the calorie and nutrient values for my menu items?

The FDA guidance provides several different ways to determine this information (see paragraphs 6.1 – 6.25 of the guidance), including:

  1. Using the USDA’s National Nutrient Database
  2. Using the values listed in a cookbook
  3. Using a laboratory analysis of your menu items
  4. Using the Nutrition Facts on the labels of packaged foods that comply with federal standards
  5. Using the FDA’s nutrient values for raw fruits and vegetables
  6. Using the FDA’s nutrient values for cooked fish

 

RESOURCES

Click here to read the FDA’s

“A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away from-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11): Guidance for Industry”

Service Animals in Your Restaurant

June 20, 2017

Every year, as the weather gets warmer in Colorado, restaurants are confronted with the familiar issue of people bringing their pets with them into a restaurant. In Colorado, the food code doesn’t allow restaurants to permit animals inside of their restaurant unless the animal is a service animal. Because of that, it becomes the responsibility of the restaurant to determine if a dog is a service animal.

How can a restaurant determine if a dog is a service animal? Short answer, the animal must be a dog or a miniature horse. No other animal qualifies as a service animal under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If it is not easy to identify that the animal is a service animal, the business is allowed to ask only two questions per the ADA:

  • 1.  Is the animal required because of a disability?

 

2.  What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

 

If the customer responds in a way that even seems appropriate, the restaurant must and should allow the individual in with their service dog. The customer must maintain control of the animal at all times, and must not allow the animal to contaminate any foodservice surfaces. If the animal is running around the establishment, going to the bathroom on the floor, begging for food from other customers, or sitting on the table and the owner is not controlling the animal, the business has the right to ask the individual to leave. According to the health department, if they witness an animal acting like this in a restaurant and the business doesn’t control the situation or ask the customer to leave, that would be a violation of the health code, even if it was a service animal.

 

TIPS FOR SUCCESS!

  • DO NOT ask about the customer’s disability! Doing so could put your business in trouble.
  • Inquiring into the validity of a service animal should be done by an individual who is a supervisor or a manager. Getting this inquiry wrong could put the business in trouble.
  • If there is even a small chance that the animal is a service animal, act as if it is. If a business gets it wrong and doesn’t allow someone to enter with a service animal, the business will be in violation of the ADA.
  • Psychiatric Service Animals ARE service animals.
  • Emotional support animals ARE NOT service animals.
  • Therapy animals ARE NOT service animals.
  • Service animals DO NOT need to wear a vest or have “paperwork” to verify they are a service animal.
  • Service animals DO NOT need to be on a leash if the use of a leash will interfere with an individual’s disability. However, the individual must maintain control of the animal.

 

*This information is meant to be educational and not legal advice. If you have specific questions or need legal advice on this topic, please call 303-830-2972 and we will help get you the support you need.