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Old 07-16-2010, 11:10 PM   #1
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2009 FDA Food Code

I've not been on this board in some time - but I wanted to post this because I think many here might find it useful. I just posted this elsewhere, am now rather tired (been a long day), so am simply quoting my post in its entirety. Maybe some of you will find this helpful. The stuff at the bottom of the post holds true here too. If anyone wants help with the regs or procedural details, or if something isn't clear, just shoot me an email or post here.
************************

In a discussion on another thread I offered to send the pdf of the 2009 Food Code to another member. (I've had an advance copy for a bit.) Checking the FDA's site for professionals, I've found they have posted it, finally.

The Food Code is lengthy in its entirety. It is divided into several chapters and covers water, plumbing and waste to compliance issues, linens, equipment - the list goes on. Much is not germane to most of us.

The relevant chapter, imo, for most of us here that might be interested is the Food chapter. It is available as a pdf here. For those interested in the entire Code outline (with links to all the chapters, available as pdfs), here.

For those of you already catering (whether DL or legit) or those thinking about it, or those that would like to know the actual regs and guidelines rather than the consumer-oriented info that the USDA and FDA have on their main site (and the stuff endlessly repeated hither and yon), it's worth downloading.

What you will not find is single-number internal temps for safe finish internals; you will not find what we know as the Danger Zone referred to as 40-140?. What you will find is the time at temp figures I've referred to numerous times here over the years, and you'll see the low end of the DZ as 41?, the top end at 135?*.

You will also not find many specific procedures. Instead, you'll see either no reference at all or you will see a reference to FSIS or USDA codes or procedures.**

For those that wish to follow the consumer-oriented info - fine; nothing wrong with that at all. But many here have expressed an interest in better info, and info relevant to the regulations extant today. Here it is.

Note: The FDA's Food Code is developed and released on an erratic schedule, sometimes two years pass, sometimes three, four or five. The one prior was 2005, for example. States are not required to adopt the Food Code - they are free to or not, and are free to modify as they wish (within reason, there are some things that probably wouldn't fly). Many states do adopt the Code but, governments being governments, this can take some time, like several years after the Code is published. Then, within individual states, the Code can vary. Some states require all their counties to follow whatever regs the state has adopted and/or legislated. Other states allow individual counties to modify (within reason) the regs to better suit that county. The 2009 FDA Food Code should not be viewed as absolute - though if you have a business that requires Federal licensing, it likely is - but viewed as a reference only. You - if you have a licensed food service business - are responsible (by law) for knowing what code you are to follow, whether county, state or federal - or some combination of them. Unfortunately, that's how it works.

I hope those interested find this helpful.


Kevin


* I've made the statement on this board and elsewhere - too many times to count - that the top end of the Danger Zone is 130?. It is, though the Code says 135?. The top end of the Zone is determined by the highest temp food pathogens can outgrow, i.e., multiply. Only one, Clostridium perfringens, mostly associated with meat, outgrows at these higher temps (the others mostly fall into the 70-110 range, though there are variances, and Listeria can grow at fridge temps, though quite slowly). C. perf. stops growing at a bit over 127?F. Rounded up, we get 130?. FSIS was using 130? back in the 1970s and attempts were made to revise the status quo to this scientifically-based number, then and into the 1980s. In committee, many states opposed changing to 130? from 140?. A compromise of 135? was reached. So 135? is a political number, not a science-based one. For that, 130?. (It need not be repeated that for checking safe internals - especially of thin items - a tip-sensitive digital therm is the only way to go. Bimetal analog therms will not do. They only take an average temp and require 2-2.5-inches of probe to be inserted in the item.)

** If any come across procedural requirements that aren't clear (few are, they are simply referenced elsewhere) and would like explanation or explication just ask and I'll help.

[Note to John: In the other thread you expressed some frustration in trying to convert canner recipes you have to something safer, if necessary. You will not find those specifics in the Code - though I think you will find other useful information. Send me an e (address is in my profile) and I'd be happy to help you convert the recipes, and/or provide you documentation for same.]
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Wow thanks. That was like getting a cool sip o water from a fire hose Can you expand a bit on the Listeria. Notice you say it can grow at ice box temps. Thats a bit skerry for me. What temps do it die etc? Now are we speaking of the surface of the meat or the interior and if the former at whut rate can these pesky critters migrate to the inside. Now this do not count grinding or injecting etc. I figger at that point there aint much difference twixt the two geographies. Now is this hot or warm? Thanks.

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Old 07-18-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Here is a little bit of info on Listeria monocytogenes:
Listeria monocytogenes can grow in cool, damp environments such as those found in any process area, coolers, or on slaughter floors.The incomplete removal of meat and fat from equipment and improper sanitation can allow biofilms to develop. The most common reservoirs are drains and hoses that lay or drag across the floors in processing facilities.

Temperature
Listeria monocytogenes has the capability to grow at refrigerated temperatures. L. monocytogenes can grow and reproduce at temperatures from 1°C (33°F) to 50°C (122°F), with the optimum reproduction temperature between 30°C (86°F) and 37°C (98.6°F).
Freezing does not eliminate the organism. Listeria is killed by pasteurization, and heating procedures used to prepare ready-to-eat processed meats should be sufficient to kill the bacterium; they do not survive heating to 60C for 30 minutes.

pH and Salt
Listeria monocytogenes can also survive and grow in foods having moderate to low acidity and salt levels, as well as flourish in moist foods. Many foods are prepared with salt concentrations and pH levels that are optimum for the growth and reproduction of L. monocytogenes. The pH influence on the growth of Lm depends on both the absolute value and the acid type, ranging from 4.0-9.5.

The organism is capable of growth in a salt concentration of up to 10 percent, and can survive for a year in a concentration of up to 16 percent.

Atmosphere and Water Activity
Growth of L. monocytogenes continues in an aerobic environment, but can be enhanced under decreased oxygen levels when carbon dioxide is present. Growth can also flourish where water activity is .90 -.97.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:57 PM   #4
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Good stuff Tim.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:01 PM   #5
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

There are several species of Listeria bacteria. L. monocytogenes is the human pathogen. They are, unfortunately, a widely distributed bacterial pathogen and have been found in a wide variety of foods.

Unlike other pathogens we should be concerned about, L. mono. not only can survive refrigeration temps but can outgrow at temps as low as just over 0?C, as Tim notes. (The 'good' thing is that they grow slowly at low temps.) Listeria are heat labile, i.e., they are affected (inactivated/killed) by heat, but are more heat stable than many other pathogens. Still, cooking food - especially to pasteurization temps - does control Listeria.

Listeria has been a problem for the food service industry. Very strict controls need to be in place in commercial processing environments. It has been a particular issue for the cooked meat industry, especially producers of deli meats. Though cooking (of the meats, in this case) pasteurizes them, strict care must be taken that the meats are not contaminated after cooking and before packaging because of the potential for bacterial growth during refrigeration. This means strict cleanliness of all food contact surfaces or potential contact surfaces. Similar concerns arise for other non-cooked, packaged retail food products, like cheeses, cut vegetables, and so forth. Sanitation in the cooking facility, processing facility, and packaging facility must be adhered to without fail so that foods are not contaminated before packaging. Though illness from Listeria is quite rare, its fatality percentages are relatively high.

Just because a food item is cooked to pasteurization temps does not mean it cannot be contaminated after cooking, as you know. This is why (in the home, in a catering rig) all food contact surfaces and potential contact surface must be cleaned and sanitized regularly - especially, in this case, prior to the cooked item being finished, so that when it is cooked the surfaces is touches or that are touched by it (hands, knives, forks, etc.) are clean.

We do not generally think of bacteria as being able to migrate into meat. But you are quite right - they can be pushed in by knives, injector needles, and so forth. For food being thoroughly cooked throughout - like brisket or butt, e.g. - this is not so much a concern. For foods being cooked to low internals - especially those that will not be consumed immediately after cooking - its best to wait to insert a probe until after the surface temp has risen to pasteurization temps. (If in doubt, let the roast cook a while. We don't really need to watch the internals climb from, say, 40 or 60 to 100.)

Does this and Tim's info answer your questions bigwheel?
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Yep good info. I'm still a little confused on this bouncing back and forth between Celsius and Fahrenheit. For example if a person had an enhanced or injected pork loin. What would be the time and internal temps needed to slay the Listeria using the Fahrenheit scale. Thanks.

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Old 07-21-2010, 08:37 AM   #7
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Good Stuff Indeed. Where do you find food codes for specific states, say Virginia? Is it posted on a states site?
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Great point on the cooking untensils and surface temps. Since re-reading all this stuff yet again all I need is some math major to tell me how much is 60 centigrade. I could figger it out if my slide rule was handy. Sure a person could google up the info but who has time for that kinda stuff?

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Old 07-21-2010, 08:47 PM   #9
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Dear Mr. Wheel,

Click on this link.

http://www.goodcooking.com/conversions/temp.htm

Save it to your favorites, right next to the link for this FORUM

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Old 07-22-2010, 11:12 AM   #10
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Re: 2009 FDA Food Code

Thank you sir. Using the info provided I have figgered out that 60 celsius is 140 F. which means all these folks who like to eat raw bloody meat is in some danger. Not to even get into Sheep Liver Flukes. We just speaking Listeria here. Its a wonder some of them are still on the top side of the dirt huh?

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