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STATE ANNOUNCES UPDATE TO FOOD CODE, IMPROVES INSPECTION PROCESS FOR FLORIDA RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today announced updates to the Food Code for restaurants throughout the state. The 2009 Food Code will improve the inspection process for restaurant operators and will address new safety concerns, such as warnings for food allergens. The new code will go into effect for Florida restaurants as of January 1, 2013.
“Florida continues to lead the nation with its pro-active measures in keeping 19 million residents and 86 million tourists safe through stringent food safety guidelines when dining in Florida’s hotels and restaurants,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The adoption of the 2009 Food Code by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will further improve upon regulatory compliance, and members of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association look forward to implementing these common sense procedures.”
The most business-friendly aspect of the updated Food Code is the new descriptions of safety and sanitation violations, which will divide violations into three categories: High Priority, Intermediate and Basic. High Priority violations are those which could contribute directly to a foodborne illness or injury and include items such as cooking, reheating, cooling and hand-washing. Intermediate violations are those which, if not addressed, could lead to risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness or injury. These violations include personnel training, documentation or record keeping and labeling. Basic violations are those which are considered best practices to implement. This new system will better define violation information for operators and their customers, making the whole process easier to understand.
The updates to the inspection processes and the 2009 Food Code are part of regular updates by the Division and the Department to ensure the state’s regulation of the industries is streamlined and efficient. The updates will lead to more efficient and smarter regulations which will improve restaurants’ inspection process, ultimately allowing them to better serve their customers. Specific information about the updates is available online at www.myfloridalicense.com/foodcode.
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants will work with operators over the next inspection period to educate them about the new process. New technology will also improve the process, allowing inspectors to access the Food Code and other online resources during on-site inspections to make those resources directly available to the operators. Licensed operators may also visit field offices in the seven districts throughout the state if they have questions about the new process.
In addition to the changes for food service operators, lodging operators will also see the three-tiered system replace the designations of “critical” or “non-critical” violations.
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants works to protect the health and safety of the public by providing the industry with quality inspections and fair regulation. The Division’s main priority is to ensure that food is stored safely, prepared safely and served safely so that Floridians and guests can enjoy it safely. The Division also regularly recognizes establishments with a history of zero-violation inspections over a 12-month or longer period of time.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from hotels and restaurants, real estate agents and certified public accountants to veterinarians, contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
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