North Carolina Food Safety Rules to Tighten

Anyone who has suffered a bout of food poisoning can attest to how important good food safety practices are. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills, and in rare cases, it can even cause death. Restaurant patrons are not the only ones to suffer when bad practices are used, considering that one outbreak of foodborne illness costs a restaurant an estimated $75,000. To protect both patrons and restaurants, North Carolina plans to adopt food safety regulations issued by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which are more stringent than the current state laws in place.

The FDA’s 2009 Food Code is supported by an array of professionals in the food industry, academics, regulators, government agencies and consumer groups. The Code is updated every four years to reflect the most recent scientific developments and is created in partnership with physicians, scientists, industry representatives and academics. The Code equips food service workers with thorough training methods and supporting documentation and allows national chains to adopt uniform food safety measure in all their locations.

The Code concentrates on diminishing risks connected to improper temperatures for both storing and cooking food as well as those associated with equipment and utensils that have been contaminated. Other areas of focus include ensuring food comes from safe sources and encouraging employees to utilize good hygienic practices. One particular practice of concern is making certain that ill employees do not come to work when they are exhibiting particular symptoms of concern.

The implementation of the new Code is estimated to cost restaurants nearly $5 million in its first four years; however, officials stress that the costs will be offset by the savings restaurants will experience by the lack of foodborne illness incidents. The FDA Food Code is scheduled to take effect on September 1st of this year.