Alabama Adopts FDA Food Code; Most Changes Effective Oct. 3

Enforcement of food safety certification update delayed to 2020

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the Alabama State Board of Health will begin enforcing a requirement that food service operations have a certified food safety manager on duty any time the doors are open.

Currently, only one person per food establishment must be food safety certified. The rule change could mean businesses that serve food need more than one staff member who is food safety certified.

The rule reflects a requirement first put forth in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2013 Food Code.

While other of the State Board of Health adopted food code rule changes take effect Oct. 3, 2016, the enforcement of the certification requirement doesn’t kick in until 2020 to give food service operators more than three years to get additional certified employees on staff.

Under the Oct. 3 rule change approved by the State Board of Health, several food safety violations increase in point value in relation to health inspection scores and require correction within 10 days.


Going from a 1-point to a 5-point violation: Failure to discard disposable gloves after each task that damages or soils the gloves.

The biggest increase, going from one point to five points, is the requirement that disposable gloves must be used for only one task and discarded after becoming damaged or soiled. An example of switching tasks that would require a glove change includes going from working with ready-to-eat foods then moving to working with raw animal foods. Gloves are not required when working with raw animal foods.

However, if a food handler is wearing them to do so and changes tasks, the worker is required to dispose of those gloves and wash his/her hands before continuing to work with food.

Several violations go from one point to four points, including failure for food workers who don’t wear gloves to have short and clean nails and failure to have toilet paper available at each toilet.

Other changes related to Alabama adopting the 2013 FDA Food Code include:

  • Cut leafy greens and cut tomatoes (sliced, diced etc.) now are among foods that must be time/temperature controlled.
  • Procedures must be in place for responding to vomiting or diarrheal events.
  • Toilets and urinals may not be used for disposing mop water.

The Bureau of Environmental Services within the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has distributed a brochure highlighting the major changes through its county inspectors.

Download the brochure.

Read the new food code rules in their entirety under Retail Food Establishment Sanitation at this link.

Prometric, a testing service endorsed by the Food Marketing Institute, offers training and certification for certified professional food managers. Learn more here.

Find this article on Page 20 of the November 2016 Alabama Retailer