Hello Food Service Establishment Operators,
The Washington State Food Code changes begin in March 1, 2022. We have created a Food Code Updates webpage dedicated to the upcoming changes. This is a great place to find new guidance and resources that have been created to help meet the new requirements. Here are the 3 code changes that every food establishment should start working on now.
Clean Up Plan of Vomit and Diarrhea Events (Code Section 02500)
Establishments must have written procedures for employees to follow when responding to events that involve the discharge of vomit or fecal matter onto surfaces in the food establishment. The procedures must include specific actions employees must take to clean and sanitize the area to:
- Minimize vomit and fecal matter exposure to employees and customers.
- Minimize the contamination of food and surfaces.
The Washington State Department of Health is currently working on a template to help establishments with their written clean up procedures. Stay tuned for that in the new year.
Employees must be trained so that they understand these written procedures. The plan should be specific to each facility, but must include the following information:
- Quickly remove the ill person from the area.
- Block off and clean the affected area. Other staff and customers must be 25 ft. away from the contaminated area.
- Have available and use proper personal protective equipment like gloves and masks.
- Use an approved disinfectant that will be effective against Norovirus (read the label).
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Norovirus contaminated materials should not be cleaned in the kitchen.
- Procedures for disposal or disinfection of tools/equipment used for cleanup.
- Dispose of any food that may have been directly or indirectly exposed.
- Employee must change outer clothes after cleaning up the mess.
- Watch for symptoms of illness after cleanup for at least 24 hours. Norovirus can be airborne and is very contagious.
Employee Health (Code Section 02205)
The information below must be provided to each food worker in a way that can be verified. The Person in Charge must be able to prove that every food worker has received this information.Food workers must inform the Person in Charge if they have:
Diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat with fever, jaundice, a lesion on hand or wrist containing pus or an infected wound on hand or wrist that is open and draining.Food workers must inform the Person in Charge if they are diagnosed with:
Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Shigella, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, Salmonella Typhi (typhoid fever), Salmonella (non-typhoidal).
Some examples of verifiable methods:
- Keeping a signed statement for each employee stating they have been made aware of this requirement.
- Clearly posting the information in the employees work area or break room, with a sign-up sheet that employees sign once they have gone through it.
- Creating a curriculum and keeping a roster of the employees that attend or go through that training.
The Snohomish Health District has created Restriction and Notification of Ill Food Workers posters and employee signature handouts to help you meet this requirement in a verifiable way. They are all located on our Educational Resources page.
Date Marking (Code Section 03526)
There are some specific foods that will need to be marked and used within 7 days. Those foods are refrigerated, ready-to-eat, perishable foods that are prepared in-house or in opened packages. This applies only to foods that will be held in the establishment for more than 24 hours. Written labels on food containers, day dots, or other systematic procedures that effectively track the expiration of foods are acceptable. The day of preparation counts as day one. If you combine any ingredients that are date marked, you must continue to use the earliest date for the new product.
If a food item has been cooled on-site and will be held in the establishment for more than 24 hours, date marking will be required, starting with the first day of cooling. Below are some other examples of foods that require date marking, as well as some exceptions: