March Food Safety Education: Where do these crazy rules come from?

Just how are regulations made? Why are rules different from state to state? Why are they updated? Here is a little background to understand why and how we have new regulations being added to the Food Code.

The Food Code has been around in a basic form from the early 20th century. Rules were not updated regularly, and the regulations were very basic as compared with today. In the early 90’s, there was a terrible breakout with illness and deaths connected to E Coli. This caused a major shift in food safety. Currently, the regulations are updated every 4 years, with minor revisions and updates in between. The current Food Code was released in 2017

The FDA Food Code is updated and created by using practical, science-based guidance for Health agencies to regulate operations in order to reduce the risk factors to food safety, and be consistent with national policy.

The FDA Food Code is not a law, but rather a model or outline for local agencies to follow. Local agencies are not required to follow the code or updates. However, agencies can follow different versions – some states follow codes from the mid 2000’s – or add only certain sections to the local Food Code.

One of the recent updates that Hawaii adopted from the FDA is the rule that the Person In Charge has to possess a Certification of Food Safety Training. Hawaii does give a generous grace period when a new regulation goes into effect. For example – the rule requiring the PIC Food Certificate was in the HI Food Code for a year before it became required – and a violation if not met. DoH inspectors had been reviewing the new rule while in that grace period, so all facilities in the state were informed of the new rule, and gave everyone a chance to become compliant.

To learn more detail about Food Safety procedures, or to set up an independent discounted audit of your facility, please contact Peter Bellisario of at  or (808) 491-7766. Check out my website –


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