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The United States Food Code is a model created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purpose of regulating any entity that sells, manufactures, or provides food as part of their services. The Food Code originated from the Pure Drug and Food Act of 1906. This law was instituted, because food manufactures were producing and selling impure products for consumption. Because of this, the bottom line purpose of the FDA Food Code is to protect the citizens of this country from bodily harm that could arise from consuming contaminated food. An additional purpose of the FDA Food Code is to provide various entities a uniform standard, and a final authority regarding any questionable practices in the preparation or sales of food.
Some of the safeguards that have come from the FDA Food Code work to protect the public when purchasing food at grocery stores. The safeguards include listing product ingredients on the back of food labels, stamping expiration dates on packaging, nutritional values, and clearly labeling the type of products being purchased. A recent addition to food labeling now includes information about the food processing plant itself. This information is for the protection of those consumers who have food allergies. Knowing that a food product was processed in a plant that handles nuts, for example, could protect a consumer from grave illness, or death.
Restaurants, food vendors, and institutions that serve food must follow the FDA Food Code strictly in order to stay operational. The FDA Food Code prescribes rules that mandate the cleanliness of equipment, utensils, and food preparation areas. To this end, all of these entities must obtain food preparation licenses. These businesses cannot obtain a license unless they have passed inspections that are performed by local officials.
The FDA Food Code is updated currently every four years. The updates changed from every two years, to every four years in 2005. The FDA ensures that these updates include any new findings, and expands on any previous mandates. The FDA wants to ensure that the FDA Food Codes are kept current as new cuisines, food sources, methods of preparation, and food storage methods are introduced into our society.
There are many resources on the Internet that further expands upon the history of the FDA Food Code, and give examples of the FDA Food Code in action. Here are some websites with FDA Food Code information and health and safety information. Most of these are indexed and listed courtesy of Food Safety Magazine.com:
Other Food Safety Resources:
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