The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Nov. 13 announced that, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), it has published the 2013 Food Code (eighth edition).

As stated in the Introduction to the document, "the Food Code is a model code and reference document for state, city, county and tribal agencies that regulate operations such as restaurants, retail food stores, food vendors, and foodservice operations in institutions such as schools, hospitals, assisted living, nursing homes and child care centers. Food safety practices at these facilities play a critical role in preventing foodborne illness. The Food Code establishes practical, science-based guidance for mitigating risk factors that are known to cause or contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks associated with retail and foodservice establishments and is an important part of strengthening our nation's food protection system."

Signed by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, FSIS Administrator Alfred V. Almanza, and CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, the Introduction also explains: "As of 2012, all 50 states and three out of six territories report having retail codes patterned after previous editions of the Food Code. We strongly encourage the adoption and implementation of the 2013 Food Code at all levels of government.

"This edition of the Food Code reflects our current understanding of evidenced-based practices for the effective control of microbiological, chemical and physical hazards in food facilities that can cause foodborne illness. Many of the changes to this edition reflect recommendations made at the 2012 biennial meeting of the Conference for Food Protection, a national organization that affords scientists and policy makers from all levels of government, industry, academia and consumers the opportunity to propose and deliberate on improvements to the Food Code."

The 2013 Food Code (769 pages, 8.88 MB) is available for download here.

To read FDA's "Summary of Changes in the FDA Food Code 2013," web page, click here. The summary provides a synopsis of the textual changes from the 2009 FDA Food Code and the Supplement to the 2009 Food Code Chapters and Annexes to the 2013 edition. As explained on the web page, "The primary intent of this record is to capture the nature of the changes rather than to identify every word or editing change. This record should not be relied upon as an absolute comparison that identifies each and every change [emphasis theirs]."