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Division of Hotels and Restaurants: Meeting National Standards to Protect Floridians By DIaNN Worzalla, reHS, MPa


n September 2001, the Division of Hotels and restaurants voluntarily enrolled in the U.S. Food and Drug administration’s (FDa) National retail Food regulatory Program Standards (Standards). These Standards are not simply a list of minimum requirements, but are the gold standard for all retail food safety inspection programs. Utilizing the Standards provides a framework for regulatory entities to voluntarily assess their retail food safety programs using nationally recognized criteria that enumerate the best practices for retail food safety inspection programs. achieving the Standards advances objectives set out in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Healthy People 2020” initiative, which lists food safety as one of its 42 priority areas. Currently, there are 558 programs enrolled. enrollment in the Standards provides an inspection program with national thirdparty recognition of the quality of their program. Since enrolling over a decade ago, the Division has achieved five of the nine Standards. We are proud to say that we are the largest restaurant inspection program to reach this accom-

w w w.Res t au ra n t A nd lodgi

plishment and no other program of our size in the nation has achieved more. When applied in the intended manner, the Standards enable a regulatory program to: • Identify program areas where the greatest impact on retail food safety can be made and prioritize resource allocations accordingly; • Promote wider application of effective intervention strategies designed to reduce the occurrence of factors that contribute to foodborne illness; • assist in identifying program areas most in need of enhancement; • Provide information needed to justify program resources; • achieve a “Best Practice” model using innovative ideas to implement and administer programs; • Improve industry and consumer confidence in food protection programs by enhancing uniformity within and between regulatory agencies; and

Charles Cox of San Sebastian Winery and Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards; Phillip McDaniel, President/CEO of St. Augustine Distillery; and Ken Lawson, Secretary DBPR, review plans of FRLA members for the new St. Augustine Distillery.

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• enhance program accountability through the establishment of baselines on the occurrence of contributing factors to foodborne illness that can be used to achieve measurable program outcomes. The criteria specified for each of the standards are not minimum standards, but represent a high benchmark to which a regulatory retail food program should aspire. Together, the nine Standards listed below provide a comprehensive set of performance measures representing every facet of the retail food regulatory program. The division has achieved the five highlighted Standards. 1. Regulatory Foundation 2. Trained Regulatory Staff 3. Inspection Program Based on HaCCP Principles (projected to achieve in July 2014, with implementation of risk-based inspection frequency) 4. Uniform Inspection Program (projected to achieve in July 2014, with implementation of risk-based inspection frequency) 5. Foodborne Illness and Food Security Preparedness and Response 6. Compliance and enforcement 7. Industry and Community Relations 8. Program Support and resources 9. Program Assessment The Standards are designed to encompass traditional and cutting-edge food safety program approaches, encourage program enhancement, and promote uniformity. The Conference for Food Protection, with which the division actively participates, recommends improvements to the Standards and the FDa Food Code.

DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS & ECONOMY Florida is the fourth most populous state in the U.S., surpassed only by California, Texas and New york. Despite slower population growth than previous decades, Florida is projected to replace New york as the third most populous state in 2016, reaching an estimated population over 20 million . Demographically, Florida’s population is older, on average, than that of any other state in the nation, with a median age of 40.7 and 17.3 percent of the population 65 years of age and older . according to census data , the counties with the greatest growth percentages are rural. The trend points to continued rural growth and sustained urban population. Florida attracts around 90 million tourists a year , mostly to urban areas. 26  AU G UST/SEPT EM B ER


Together, these two facts indicate a steady increase in restaurant and lodging facilities in rural areas, with no reduction of accounts in the urban areas. The industries regulated by the division provide significant impact to Florida’s economy. The National restaurant association estimates the state’s restaurant industry alone will account for $31.3 billion in gross sales in the year 2013. Florida’s $71.8 billion “hospitality” industry represents 23 percent of Florida’s economy, generating $4.3 billion in sales tax revenue and employing more than one million people.

IMPLEMENTATION OF FDA PROGRAM STANDARDS The operation of a statewide food safety program provides extraordinary consistency and standardization from Key West to Pensacola, a factor extremely important to Florida’s hospitality industry and tourism-driven economy. The division enjoys a reputation as a national leader in the food safety community and has significant representation in most national forums and initiatives regarding food safety. These leadership roles are of critical importance to the division’s success in providing quality control and public safeguards for the state’s at-risk populations and 90 million annual visitors who eat in our restaurants and sleep in our lodgings. The division has the goal to become one of the nation’s first statewide restaurant inspection programs to be recognized for achieving all of the Standards. as the cost of traditional regulatory activity grows and the public’s desire to minimize the growth of government increases, regulatory agencies are challenged to maximize the effectiveness of existing staff and resources. Implementation of the Standards, along with a risk-based inspection system, will allow the division to concentrate

its efforts on the most critical aspect of its mission - protecting the public by eliminating sources of foodborne illness. This approach is both cost effective and empowering as it allows inspectors to actively involve restaurant operators in keeping the food supply safe. The net effect, when properly instituted, is equivalent to having an inspector on premises full time.

EXPECTED OUTCOME With full implementation of the Standards, the Division of Hotels and restaurants will realize the full potential offered by the Food Code to protect the public’s health. raising the professional stature and competency of the field staff will increase the quality and effectiveness of the inspections performed as well as the staff’s job satisfaction level. Being recognized by the FDa for “clearly demonstrating a remarkable level of commitment to achieving program excellence” is a source of pride and professionalism that has helped the division not only retain its best employees, but also attract the highest quality applicants for future positions. as more and more consumers use convenience foods purchased in markets or eat-in restaurants, it is important to provide that extra margin of food safety. By hard work and diligent effort, the division will continue to be proactive in the goal of reducing foodborne illness - which ultimately will result in a safer experience for the dining public. Diann Worzalla is Director of Hotels and Restaurants. 1. Florida: An Economic Overview , Office of Economic & Demographic Research, The Florida Legislature, June 19, 2013. 2. Florida: Demographic Trends, Office of Economic & Demographic Research, The Florida Legislature, September 26, 2011. 3. Florida: Demographic Trends, Office of Economic & Demographic Research, The Florida Legislature, September 26, 2011. 4. Calendar Year Visitor Numbers for 2012, Visit 5. Florida Restaurant Industry at a Glance, National Restaurant Association 6. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association F lo R i dA R ESTAU R A n T & lo d G i n G A S So ci AT i o n

Another Perspective

Active Managerial Control By Steven Hoffmann and Cynthia Walker


ast year around this time, you were reading an article in this publication about “active managerial control” and what it meant to the food service industry. Now, let’s take a look at what it means from the regulator’s point of view. The 2009 Food Code defines active managerial control as an industry responsibility to “develop and implement food safety management systems to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors”. This is a broad concept, but when applied appropriately, helps provide guidance to employees and keeps food safety issues under control. Out of control risk factors can lead to a foodborne illness outbreak. Risk factors include food from unsafe sources, poor personal hygiene, contaminated equipment, inadequate cooking and improper holding temperatures. The Division of Hotels and Restaurants (DHR) conducts risk-based inspections that focus on these risk factors and educates operators on how to control the risk factors. For each of the five major risk factors, the Food Code provides an intervention – or control measure - including hands as a vehicle for contamination, time and temperature parameters for food, use of a consumer advisory, employee health measures, and demonstrations of knowledge. All of these interventions are part of and should be included in active managerial control. Looking back, the original 1976 FDA Food Code devoted fewer than two pages to the responsibility of management. The 2009 Food Code devotes 23 pages and an entire chapter to this subject. As knowledge grows, so does the responsibility to ensure food safety. In the past 16 years, Florida’s restaurant industry has grown by 31%. There are approximately 48,000 licensed public food service establishments in Florida that feed 19 million residents and 80 million visitors each year. Through sustained industry efforts and its partnership with the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, the number of foodborne illnesses in Florida has been reduced by 84% during this same 16-year period. Such a reduction is quite impressive, but there is always room for improvement. In July 2014, DHR will implement a risk-based inspection frequency program. This program will allow regulatory and compliance efforts to be focused on food service establishments that pose a higher risk to the public or have a history of non-compliance. Inspectors will be asking a lot of questions about various processes and how foods are handled in the establishment. Simply knowing the correct answers will no longer be sufficient; inspectors will be checking to see if knowledge is translated into action. Let’s take one risk factor for example - lack of proper handwashing. The food manager may be able to explain why handwashing is important, when it is required and how to do it, but if the handwash sinks are not supplied with soap, running water and paper towels, proper handwashing cannot be accomplished. When proper handwashing does not occur, there is a lack of active managerial control over this risk factor. So as you can see, possessing food safety knowledge is only the beginning. You certainly must know your risk factors, identify your hazards and know how to make corrective actions, but to fully implement active managerial control, you must put action behind that knowledge. In other words, you must practice what you preach. If you do, you can feel confident you have done everything in your power to serve your customers the safest and best food your efforts can provide – and that’s a goal we can all agree upon. Steven Hoffman and Cynthia Walker are Management Review Specialists and FDA Standardized Training Officers with the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, DBPR. w w w.Res t au ra n t A nd Lodgi

Let RCS Help With All Mandatory Food Handler Training Needs FRLA’s Regulatory Compliance Services (RCS) provides mandatory food handler training


ince 1997, Florida law requires that all food handlers (employees whose job involves the occasional or routine handling of food or beverage or the contact surfaces involved in the production, storage, or service of food or beverage products) be provided a course of study utilizing a state approved basic food safety curriculum. The training must be conducted by a certified food manager, and records of the training must be kept on file. Companies trained by RCS can find their training records in the DBPR online database.

The FRLA SafeStaff® Foodhandler Training Program is the contracted program of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and contains the following six mandated key food safety principles: 1. Ensuring proper personal hygiene 2. Preventing cross-contamination 3. Controlling time and temperature when handling food 4. Proper cleaning and sanitizing 5. The causes and effects of major foodborne illnesses 6. Ensuring proper vermin control FRLA offers food handler training via an online system or via onsite training by FRLA’s Regulatory Compliance Services’ training team. During onsite training, one of our professional training staff comes to your establishment and provides a live employee food handler training for you. In addition, the trainers assist you in assuring you have the necessary documentation to avoid problems during an inspection. To schedule your SafeStaff® food handler training, call 800-537-9863 or log on to F lo r i da R estaura n t & Lo d g i n g  


During plan review several key food safety components are evaluated

Aspects of Food Safety in Plan Review By Lydia Gonzalez


he Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), Division of Hotels and Restaurants requires all public food service establishments licensed by the Division to undergo a food safety-based plan review. The local municipality conducts their own plan review to check for building code compliance and construction standards. A food safety based plan review provides a basic framework for successfully operating a safe and sanitary food service establishment. Plan review ensures a uniform set of standards is applied to all establishments across the state and each establishment meets the minimum requirements for food safety. Conducting a food safety based plan review prior to a food service establishment being built or remodeled helps operators avoid costly delays in opening and future violations. The plan review process also provides the operator the opportunity to propose a food safety layout that is organized and efficient for their specific operation. A plan review is required for public food service establishments during the following situations: New construction of a building, new build-out in an existing building, or a food establishment transferred to the Division by another regulatory agency Remodeling an existing public food establishment by adding a room or food preparation area, expanding into an adjacent space, removing/adding walls and floor-mounted equipment or other changes that affect safety and sanitary requirements Re-opening a food establishment licensed by the Division after it has been closed for over 1 year During plan review several key food safety components are evaluated. For example, the plan reviewer will examine the proposed menu for approved source, quantity and type of food being served, and the need for a consumer advisory. New operators may not have a food service or food safety background and the concept of ‘approved source’ may not be fully understood. A review of the menu can reveal if an operator intends to use a kitchen in a private home to prepare any menu items. The menu can also help determine the space and equipment (such as sufficient cold-holding and hot-holding units) needed at the food service estab28  AU G UST/SEPT EM B ER


lishment for a safe operation. Plan reviewers can assess the configuration of the storage, preparation, and cooking areas and discuss the intended use of each area and the number of employees expected to work in each area at one time to determine if the areas are adequate to safely produce the projected menu items. The proper location of handwashing sinks is a critical food safety component evaluated during plan review. A conveniently located handwashing sink is required in every area where food is prepared (including dispensing food) or clean dishware is handled. Other sinks, such as warewashing, preparation and mop sinks, may not be used for handwashing. The number of handwashing sinks required will depend on many factors, such as the flow of food, number of employees in the area, level of risk inherent to the food or process, accessibility during peak operating hours, visibility of the handwashing sinks to the employees, etc. Having a sufficient number of handwashing sinks conveniently located and easily accessible to all employees will encourage handwashing and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Handwashing sinks need to be located not just so handwashing is possible, but that it is likely. The plan reviewer will also be looking for possible cross-contamination issues caused by handwash sink placement: splash from a handwash sink could contaminate food, equipment or utensils. Having the proper warewashing capacity is another matter of food safety that it is assessed during plan review. The minimum requirement is to have a three-compartment sink with each compartment large enough to accommodate the largest pot, pan or piece of equipment in the food service establishment. A commercial dishmachine is also an acceptable method for warewashing. Whether equipment and utensils are washed, rinsed and sanitized manually in a three-compartment sink or mechanically in a dishmachine, the warewashing process is not complete until the equipment and utensils are air dried. For this reason, two drainboards or their equivalent (such as racks, shelves or dish tables) must be provided – one for soiled dishware and one for air drying clean dishware. The plan reviewer will determine if adequate warewashing facilities, including air drying, are provided. Removing all food residue and providing the contact time needed for sanitizers to kill existing patho-

gens on food-contact surfaces is an important factor in reducing the risk of foodborne illness. Not having a safe water supply is a potential source of contamination for food, equipment, utensils and hands. Likewise, not having an approved sewage disposal system can increase the risk of diseases transmitted by fecal contamination, pollute ground surfaces and natural water supplies, and provide a breeding ground for rodents and insects. Providing documentation of approved potable water and sewage disposal systems is an essential food safety requirement that is examined closely during plan review. Approval for municipal systems can be in the form of a recent water and/or sewer utility bill showing the address of the establishment. If the establishment is on a well and/or onsite sewage treatment and disposal system (a septic tank system), or a water/sewer bill is not yet available, the operator may complete and submit the division’s Evaluation of Onsite Sewage (septic) and Water Supply Capacity form. This form must be signed by the authority having jurisdiction over the particular system. For well and septic tank systems, the authority having jurisdiction is often the local County Health Department. Due to water and sewer restrictions and limitations, it is recommended that operators verify availability of and/or obtain approval for these systems before investing large amounts of time or money. Disposing of wastewater properly also applies to the next set of requirements reviewed during a plan review – providing a mop/service sink and a bathroom. Plan reviewers verify that a mop/service sink or curbed cleaning facility is available for the disposal of grey water that is produced when cleaning the physical structure and non-food contact components, such as floor mats. Mop water and other similar liquid waste may not be disposed of in handwash, warewash or food preparation sinks; or toilets or urinals. With the exception of mobile food dispensing vehicles and vending machines, each public food service establishment must provide a bathroom for employee and customer use. Even caterers and take-out or delivery only operations have to provide a bathroom that is accessible to customers without entering the food preparation or warewashing area. This ensures human waste is disposed of properly and F lo r i da R estaura n t & Lo d g i n g A sso ci at i o n

food service operations are protected from customer contamination. The number of bathrooms and/or toilets needed is determined by the local building or plumbing authority. Plan reviewers also analyze adequate protection of food. All food being displayed, served or held must be protected from splash, dust or other sources of cross-contamination. At times, a simple splash guard/barrier can alleviate a cross-contamination concern. Establishments that offer foods for customer self-service, such as salad bars or buffet stations, are required to provide a barrier that blocks the direct line between the displayed food and the customer’s nose and mouth. This is commonly referred to as a sneezeguard. Ice machines and food preparation areas are also evaluated to ensure that they are located in an enclosed portion of the building where they are protected from environmental contamination and in an area that is not accessible to customers. The type of construction material used in certain areas is examined during plan review as well. This is because in areas of moisture, such as food preparation and warewashing areas, the surface finish of the floor, wall and ceiling must be smooth, nonabsorbent and easily cleanable. These areas may not have exposed studs, joists or rafters; and a coved base is required at floor/wall junctures. Proper construction finishes will ensure the surfaces are durable and easy to clean; no liquid can seep into the surfaces, dust and debris cannot accumulate on rough surfaces and food particles cannot become trapped in cracks or crevices. Unclean floors, walls and ceilings can attract pests and harbor pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes. The above examples of food safety issues addressed during plan review illustrates how a plan review can assist new operators in identifying possible operational problems and ensuring compliance with minimum construction requirements prior to opening/operating. Because many questions regarding plan review can be highly technical in nature, the division created an email address just for plan review questions. Email plan review questions or concerns to dhr. Plan reviewers are available Monday thru Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For more information about the division’s plan review process please visit www.myfloridalicense. com/dbpr/hr/licensing/planreviewindex.html. Lydia Gonzalez is a Management Review Specialist and FDA Standardized Training Officer with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants. w w w.Res t au ra n t A nd Lodgi

Seafood Fraud


eafood misrepresentation is a crime. It is fraud. Operators should be aware that serving any misrepresented, mislabeled or misbranded food is illegal. Operators knowingly serving misrepresented food can be found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. Fines may also be charged and restaurant licenses can be suspended or revoked.

Seafood “fraud” is an issue that operators and consumers, alike, face frequently Seafood fraud is essentially serving one type of seafood and declaring on the menu or the daily specials board that it is another type of seafood. There are many scenarios in which this violation plays out: wild seafood is substituted for farmed seafood, imitation crab is served and is declared as real crab, one type of fish is served and another is described on the menu, and the like. Typically, the misrepresented fish is a species of lesser value that is imported from another country that may or may not have food safety standards equal to those of the United States.

All seafood must be honestly labeled A recent study conducted by Oceana, an international ocean conservation group, found “…seafood fraud everywhere it tested, including mislabeling rates of 38 percent in South Florida….” In addition, Oceana noted, “Fish on the FDA’s “DO NOT EAT” list for sensitive groups such as pregnant women and children because of their high mercury content were sold to customers who had ordered safer fish: tilefish sold as red snapper and halibut in New York City and king mackerel sold as grouper in South Florida….” When purchasing seafood for your operation, be certain that your supplier is a licensed seafood dealer. If the price for the seafood seems to be less expensive than usual, the seafood may be misbranded or misrepresented. Be familiar with the color and texture of the popular seafood that you serve. If you receive seafood that doesn’t appear to be “legit,” don’t accept it, and return it to the vendor. By following these recommendations, you can help prevent seafood fraud in your operation. Susie McKinley is the Editor of the FR&L Magazine.

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2013 Highlights

FDA’s Oral Culture Learner Project By CoMMaNDer DIaNe KelSCH


any of you are already aware of or have even used FDa’s oral Culture learner Project materials, but did you know that FDa released new materials this year and has plans to release even more? The FDa’s oral Culture learner Project was initiated in 2008 to develop training materials focused on communicating the consequences of food employees not following safe food preparation practices. The goal of this project is to change food employee behaviors and practices to reduce foodborne illness. The project was based on research conducted by Donna Beegle, ed.D. (2004) that suggested food employees are predominately “oral culture learners,” whereas health inspectors and industry quality assurance personnel are “print culture learners.” The concept of print versus oral culture learning styles has to do with the way we receive and process information. although most people utilize both communication styles, we tend to prefer one style over the other depending on our background, education, and other factors. The workgroup’s initial research suggested that although food employees are predominantly oral culture learners, the majority of food safety training materials and instructional methods were designed by and for print culture learners. as a result, FDa created numerous training materials using oral culture learner principles including storyboards, cause and effect posters, audio testimonials of victims of foodborne illness, and demonstrations and activities. This year, FDa released several foodborne illness testimonial videos, new training posters were created, an oral Culture Display Kit was developed, and the effectiveness of the oral Culture learner training materials will be tested through “Project Google”. • Foodborne Illness Testimonial Videos: In april of 2013, FDa released three foodborne illness victim video testimonials as part of the agency’s efforts to develop and disseminate food safety educational materials for oral culture learners. less than ten minutes each, the videos can be used to educate retail and foodservice employees on the dire consequences of poor preparation prac30  AU G UST/SEPT EM B ER


safe food preparation practices. These posters are not copyrighted and are available in nine different languages including arabic, english, Chinese (Traditional and Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, russian, Spanish, and vietnamese. • Oral Culture Display Kits: oral Culture Display kits were developed and will be distributed to FDa Public affairs Cool Food Properly to Prevent Illnesses and Save Your Job Specialists. The kits will be used to display, promote, and discuss the oral culture project and materials at international, national, regional, and state conferences. The kits include banners, printed oral culture posters, DvDs of project materials, continuous running video testimonials, brochures, marketing paraphernalia, and internal briefing documents that explain the oral culture Protect People eople Everywhere. Cool Food Properly. learner project. If you are interested in having an Before you go to work, ask yourself: “Do I feel well today?” oral culture display at a particular conference, please contact me at Diane. • “Project Google”: FDa, in partnership with Google, will be testing the effectiveness of the FDa’s oral culture learner materials in changing the long term behavior of food employees at the Googleplex – the corporate headquarters complex of Google, Inc. Protect People Everywhere By Not Working When You Are Sick. located in Mountain view, Ca. We are excited about the opportunity to tices and provide tips to prevent foodborne illness. partner with Google on this experiment Two of the videos feature family members of and look forward to presenting the results. zella Ploghoft of athens, ohio, who died of comThe FDa oral Culture learner Project materials plications from a Salmonella infection at age 82. (videos and posters) are available at http://www.fda. The other features Bernadette Jacobs, a mother gov/foodemployeetraining. The videos are available of three who describes how she almost lost her for download on FoodShield: https://www.foodnewborn daughter due to a listeria infection she while pregnant. videos/fda-retail-food-safety-educational-videos/ • Educational Posters: eight new postFor additional information regarding the ers related to improper holding of time-temperature FDa’s oral Culture Project, please refer to the control for safety food (TCS food) and inadequate article entitled “FDa’s oral Culture Project cooking temperatures were created based on feedrepresents Innovation in Food Safety education back we received in workshops with food employand Training”, by alan Tart, in Frla’s august/ ees. These posters are currently being reviewed by September 2010 issue of the Food Safety a group of 50+ industry, regulatory, and academia Supplement Final posters are expected to be posted age/docs/FoodSafety_Frl_15-04.pdf on the FDa website by December 2013. The posters are directed at improving how indusCommander Diane L. Kelsch is a Regional try and regulatory food safety professionals commu- Retail Food Specialist with the U.S. Food and nicate with front line food employees on the imporDrug Administration, Southeast Region, State tance of food safety. The posters use a minimum of Cooperative Programs. Readers can reach the text, relying on photographs or drawings to show author by E-mail: or food employees the consequences of not following Phone: (407) 475-4747. Proper cooling can be done by:

Placing food in shallow pans, uncovered, under refrigeration Separating food into smaller containers Using rapid cooling equipment Stirring the food in a container placed in an ice water bath Other effective methods

F lo R i dA R ESTAU R A n T & lo d G i n G A S So ci AT i o n

Food Defense Tools Now Available From the US FDA By Susie McKinley


ccording to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Food Defense is the collective term used by the FDA, USDA, DHS, etc. to encompass activities associated with protecting the nation’s food supply from deliberate or intentional acts of contamination or tampering. This term encompasses other similar verbiage (i.e., bioterrorism (BT), counter-terrorism (CT), etc.).” Food defense is one important aspect of the Nation’s protection of food along with food safety and food quality. To assist the US food industry, the FDA has produced a comprehensive array of free tools to assist operators in developing a food defense plan for food establishments. These programs run the gamut from training programs, to food defense marketing campaigns and customizable plans. The FDA has developed a training program titled “Food Defense 101” which provides training to assist in preventing an intentional effort to damage the food supply. Food Defense 101 prepares attendees to develop their own Food

Defense plans. The Food Defense Plan Builder Tool is software that walks users through development of a personalized food defense plan, and in addition to these efforts, the FDA is hosting a series of Food Defense Awareness Workshops to be held around the country. Other related materials offered by the FDA are the Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B) which is a compilation of tabletop training exercises, and Employees FIRST, which is a front-line food industry training initiative teaching food defense awareness and defining the acronym FIRST - Employees are the FIRST line of food defense. The FIRST program also includes a training CD and a poster written in English and translated into Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. The “See Something, Say Something” campaign recognizes that front-line employees are often the first to observe something out of the ordinary. This program offers an easy-to-use poster available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The FDA also offers Vulnerability Assessment Software to assist operators in determining vulnerabilities within an operation or system, and the Mitigation Strategies Database to assist food manufacturers and processors in providing a further “…range of preventative measures….”.

Educational materials like these are valuable and difficult to replicate. FDA food defense resources can be customized to suit your needs. To determine which of these strategies works best for you, visit for more information.

Conference for Food Protection Comes to Florida Florida is hosting the 2014 Biennial Meeting of the Conference of Food Protection (CFP) at the Buena Vista Palace in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, May 1 to 7, 2014. The Conference is a gathering of industry, local, state and federal regulators, academia, professional organizations and consumers who meet to work on matters of food safety. The CFP is a valuable resource to all interested in the safety of our nation’s food. Watch for more information about the upcoming CFP meeting in future editions of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Magazine.

Florida’s Integrated Rapid Response Team (FLIRRT) By Rita Johnson


he Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and local governments, works to prevent disruption to Florida’s critical food and agriculture sector in the event of an emergency through the Florida Integrated Rapid Response Team (FLIRRT). The FLIRRT is a coordinated statewide response to food safety threats that includes planning, training exercises and maintaining preventative technological capabilities. FLIRRT began as a collaboration among federal and state regulatory agencies involved in the food and feed industries to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure and ability to respond to food and food emergencies. Members of the FLIRRT, including FDACS, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department w w w.Res t au ra n t A nd Lodgi

of Business and Professional Regulations and the FDA, receive training in Incident Command System (ICS), specific commodities and various food processes, as well as investigative techniques in traceback/traceforwards and environmental assessments. This team is equipped with special supplies and gear and can be deployed within a few hours of an event. A FLIRRT Advisory Group maintains communication between the core-involved agencies and develops policies and procedures to guide response efforts. The FLIRRT Standard Operating Guideline (SOG) was developed by the FLIRRT Advisory Group and was most recently activated during the Republican National Convention held in Tampa in August of 2012. Given the size and nature of the event, manpower assistance was requested by event officials to ensure food safety and food defense. FLIRRT provided 21 individuals who represented all the FLIRRT state and federal regulatory stake-

holders and offered the required food safety skill sets to support the event. Despite many challenges at this event, FLIRRT’s comprehensive planning efforts allowed the team to successfully manage the food safety and food defense of this notable event with no reported intentional or unintentional foodborne illness. As demonstrated by the success of the coordinated response during the Republican National Convention, FLIRRT protects the public from or lessens the impact of adverse effects of a foodborne illness. In a state that is highly susceptible to natural or human-made disasters due to its high profile and geographic location, it is critical for FLIRRT to continue to plan, communicate and improve Florida’s infrastructure to respond to threats to food safety and food security. Rita Johnson is an Environmental Consultant for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. F lo r i da R estaura n t & Lo d g i n g  


3 Years After G Testing Shows G

More than 3,000 Seafood Products Te


ver the past three years, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has extensively tested more than 3,000 seafood products from the Gulf of Mexico to ensure they are safe to eat by consumers in Florida and around the world. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released results recently highlighting the safety of Gulf shrimp, fish, crabs, oysters and more. “These tests show that Florida seafood is without a doubt safe to eat. Our shrimp, fish and other products continue to be some of the best quality seafood in the world,” Commissioner Putnam said. Between August 2010 and March 31, 2013, the department screened 3,090 seafood samples, including 1,828 finfish, 313 shrimp, 375 oysters, 255 crabs, 261 clams and 58 lobsters for possible oil contamination by testing for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

What’s Happening With Gulf Seafood? * By STEVE OTWELL

FR&L Magazine has asked nationally-recognized seafood safety expert Dr. Steve Otwell to share information with our readers about Gulf Seafood since the 2010 BP Oil Spill. He will be answering questions posed by readers and customers about the safety of Gulf Seafood


onsumer confidence in the safety of seafood harvested from the Gulf of Mexico has largely recovered since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, though for some, concerns still linger. Fortunately, the United States has one of the best systems in the world for testing food safety, but we all have to keep in mind that no food is risk free. We’re reminded of that every time meat gets recalled, or bags of lettuce cause food poisoning. The key is to focus on reasonably minimizing risk. No one can tell you that Gulf 32


or any other seafood is 100 percent safe—neither can they tell you that about your lettuce or your chicken. But Gulf seafood has now been scrutinized more extensively than most foods sold in the United States. Every scientific study has concluded that there is no sign of risk with Gulf seafood, and there are reams of publicly available data to back this up. As expected there is a segment of the population that is not going to believe anything or anyone making the case that Gulf seafood is safe.

Is Gulf seafood safe? Yes. By all accounts, since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf seafood has been and continues to be thoroughly tested. Even if you’ve heard statements like this before, you may have some doubts, so read on and we’ll explain more about how the testing works and why it’s effective

If Gulf seafood is safe, why can I find information on the Internet from seemingly well-informed people telling me it’s best to avoid it?

How do we know that Gulf seafood is safe?

The Internet offers the opportunity for individuals to say what they believe and have it accessible around the world. So we’d all do well to be initially skeptical of the things we read, particularly the more sensational things. Many negative claims about seafood were based on preconceived ideas about what to expect and “gut feelings.” But science doesn’t work like that. Science involves testing ideas and objectively assessing the available information. Such assessments have repeatedly supported the conclusion that Gulf seafood is safe.

Soon after the Deepwater Horizon spill began, state and federal regulators met and agreed on a set of strict guidelines to follow for closing areas to fishing, deciding when they would be safe to reopen, and ensuring that seafood remained safe after opening. The monitoring and sampling procedures were based on the most current, science-based methods and the advice of leading authorities across the nation including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and relevant state agencies around the Gulf. The rules followed during the spill are based on well-established policies for seafood monitoring that are


Gulf Oil Spill, Continued Gulf Seafood Safe to Eat

ested; All Tests Were Well Below Federal Level of Concern for Food Products In the first quarter of 2013, 399 seafood samples were tested, including 308 finfish, 18 oysters, 40 shrimp, 26 crabs and 7 lobsters. In addition to tests for oil contamination, samples have been screened for the dispersant dioctylsulfosuccinate (DOSS) since March 2011. Dispersant is the chemical that was used to help break up the oil in the water. All findings were well below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s levels of concern; 96 percent had no detectable levels of PAH or DOSS. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. In the past three years, Florida has been the leader among Gulf Coast states in testing seafood for effects of the oil spill. The department used $20 million from BP to improve seafood safety and testing and to launch a statewide and national marketing campaign to promote Gulf seafood, an industry that employs more than 10,000 Floridians. Florida ranked among the top twelve states in 2011 for fresh seafood pro-

designed to err on the side of caution. If any oil at all was spotted on the surface in a given area, it was closed to fishing, regardless of whether the fish and other marine life showed signs of oil exposure. In addition to these spill-specific efforts with samples from fishable waters, the FDA and certain state agencies regularly tested for contamination in seafood markets. If any signs of oil had been found in seafood sold, all related shipments would have been seized.

How do federal and state seafood safety tests work? There are two types of standard seafood testing. These are the same basic techniques used for testing all seafood, but the amount of testing run on Gulf seafood after the Deepwater Horizon spill dwarfed anything that has ever been done before. Standard protocols have been expanded to include tests for the presence of the dispersant used during the spill response. For an area to remain

open to fishing and for seafood from an area to be sold, the seafood has to pass both these tests, and continue passing these tests. 1) Sensory testing is the first line of defense because it can be done quickly and is extremely effective. This involves well-trained testers who sniff both raw and cooked seafood samples to detect signs of oil exposure. Though it may seem an odd system to rely on the human sense of smell, it allows for more rapid screen to detect obvious contamination before using more expensive and prolonged analytical testing. Passing the so-called ‘sniff test’ alone does not guarantee an absence of contamination, but it is a widely used initial screening test for rapidly identifying problems. 2) Agencies complement sensory testing with sophisticated chemical analyses. They use well-established techniques to check samples for the presence of 12 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are key components of oil. There can be hundreds or even thousands of different

duction with more than 107 million pounds harvested and a dockside value of more than $223 million. Florida fishermen catch more than 84 percent of the nation’s supply of grouper, pompano, mullet, stone crab, pink shrimp, spiny lobsters, and Spanish mackerel. One hundred percent of spiny lobster and 97 percent of stone crab are harvested in Florida. Detailed information on the seafood testing is available on the department’s website. Information provided in this article is courtesy the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.

chemicals in oil, so it’s not possible to test for all of them. Regulators instead focus on these 12 because, as known carcinogens in high enough doses, they have been extensively studied. They are used internationally as indicators of how the full spectrum of oil chemicals is going to behave. As mentioned, for the Deepwater Horizon spill, because of concerns over the large quantities of dispersant applied to break up the oil, an analysis to detect dispersant in seafood was also added to the testing scheme.

What does it mean for seafood to pass these tests? For the “sniff tests”, detection of any scent from oil or dispersant meant a sample failed and further chemical analysis was not necessary. Any failure meant an area would be closed, or if already closed could not be reopened. No exceptions. For the complementary chemical tests, a sample failed if it had levels of oil PAHs, or an indicator chemical

from the dispersant, that was higher than the levels established as safe based on past research. It’s important to remember that the issue with these chemicals is long-term exposure. A single fish or shrimp dinner is extremely unlikely to cause a health problem even if contamination levels are above the levels considered safe. For the spill, scientists calculated those safety thresholds by assuming that a person might regularly consume seafood with similar chemical levels daily for five years. That offered a large safety factor, because most people eat far less seafood, and it would be all but impossible for any significant contamination to continue for that long. In other words, in reality, even the most frequent seafood consumers almost certainly would never ingest as much of the chemicals in question as assumed for the calculations. Dr. Steve Otwell is the Florida Sea Grant Seafood Safety and Technology Specialist for the University of Florida/IFAS Extension!.

*This feature is an excerpt of a publication of Sea Grant, Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Florida IFAS Extension. w w w.Res t au ra n t A nd Lodgi

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It is important for food employees to be trained in food allergen awareness and is required as part of the 2011 update to the 2009 FDA Model Food Code. This includes employees knowing the most common food allergens, how to prevent cross contact of food allergens during preparation and service and how to respond when a customer experiences an allergic reaction to food while dining in your establishment.


NON-MEMBER: $24 This 18” x 24” laminated poster is an excellent visual reminder to food employees to always take appropriate steps when preparing and serving meals that contain common food allergens.

To order: 1) Complete form legibly. We are unable to ship to PO Boxes. 2) Mail the completed form and payment to: SafeStaff, PO Box 1779, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1779, or fax to 850-224-2871, or call 866-372-7233 to place your order by phone. FRLA Member: $18; Non-Member: $24 First Name ____________________________

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Florida’s Food Safety Regulations By SUSIe MCKINley


s most restaurateurs know, the state of Florida has an excellent food safety framework providing the highest of standards and protection for our nearly 19 million residents and over 90 million annual visitors. From hand-washing frequency, to hair restraints, cooling and reheating methods, and safe receiving and storage practices, just about every move made in a public food service operation has a science-based standard associated with it. They are monitored by several state agencies, depending on the type of business. regulatory activity is essential to ensuring public food safety, and in america virtually every state or local jurisdiction has some sort of food service regulation. What can be a little confusing, is knowing which agency does what, from restaurants to convenience stores to bakeries, groceries, schools, child care and more. Understanding who does what, and how they work together is valuable to navigating the regulatory waters. Here is information explaining these relationships, and how the agencies work together to ensure safe food and effective regulatory guidelines. In Florida, most food safety regulation is implemented by the Florida Department of agriculture and Consumer Services (FDaCS), the Florida Department of Business and Professional regulation (DBPr), or the Florida Department of Health (DoH). The agency having jurisdiction is determined by the licensee’s business activity. FDaCS has authority for food activity from farm and field to packing, warehousing, trucking, and retail grocers and convenience stores. DBPr takes over at “retail, ready-toeat” which includes everything from a hot dog cart to caterers, festivals and

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temporary events to restaurants, and the largest resorts and theme parks in Florida. DoH, working with its County Public Health Units, has responsibility for locations with higher risk populations such as school food service, health care facilities, shelters, civic and fraternal organizations, and camps. other agencies regulating food safety include agency for Health Care administration (aHCa), which regulates food safety in health care institutions such as hospitals; the Department of Children and Families (DCF), which monitors food safety at child care facilities and service programs, the agency for People with Disabilities (aPD), which has authority over food safety in group homes for the disabled. These agencies carefully coordinate their activity. They meet quarterly to ensure no business is overlooked, no duplication of effort occurs, licensees are provided the convenience of dealing with only one regulatory agency, and to effectively integrate emerging business trends into the regulatory framework. Food service regulation starts with a license, which establishes the technical requirements that must be met to safely conduct food service. along with the license comes an inspection program to observe compliance with and when necessary compel adherence to minimum food safety standards. The inspection program conducts enforcement activity for those operators that either cannot (undertrained, under-resourced) or will not (choose not to) implement food safety standards established by the regulator. Inspection programs, rather than being “food cops,” can be very helpful in assisting establishments understand minimum standards, adopt best practices, and design and build facili-

The activity and authority for each regulatory agency is established by the Florida Legislature in Florida Statutes (FS), and the primary laws are: • • • • • •

FDACS, Division of Food Safety - Chapter 500, FS DBPR, Division of Hotels and Restaurants - Chapter 509, FS DOH, Division of Environmental Health - Chapter 381.0072, FS ACHA - Chapters 395, 400, 408, FS DCF - Chapter 402.311, FS APD - Chapter 393, FS

ties that best foster safe food activity. Inspectors can also assist with interpretation of food safety law, sharing food safety knowledge, and assisting operators safely integrate new ideas. additionally, the three primary agencies – DaCS, DBPr, and DoH – use the US Food and Drug administration’s (FDa) Model Food Code to establish highly specific and technical food safety requirements. as new science emerges that impacts food safety, the Food Code is routinely updated by the FDa. This is done through recommendations from the Conference for Food Protection, a national “food safety congress,” comprised of representatives from local, state, federal government, consumer groups, scientific and academic communities, and all segments of the food industry. The Conference of Food Protection meets every other year to debate the current and developing state of food safety and provide recommendations for inclusion in the Food Code. This system provides regulators with a set of fully vetted scientific and technical standards that most would find cost prohibitive to develop on their own. Federal food safety agencies encourage universal adoption of the Food Code to provide the most consistent, highest level of food safety and food protection across all juris-

dictions in the US. While the Food Code establishes ideal standards for food safety and food protection, it has no force and effect of law until adopted into the laws and rules of a regulatory agency. The Food Code provides standards for every area of food safety, from management and personnel, to food, equipment and utensils, linens, physical facilities, and hazardous materials. It includes “annexes,” which provide templates that may also be adopted by jurisdictions covering compliance and enforcement, the public health scientific basis of the standards, how to conduct risk-based inspections, and model forms and guides. Florida food service businesses and our tens of millions of annual patrons can be confident that Florida’s food safety system is state of the art, and equally protects consumers and the industry. Serving more than 10,000 members across Florida, FRLA is committed to safeguarding the needs of the hospitality industry and improving the business climate. Led by Carol Dover, President/CEO, and an active Board of Directors, FRLA has influenced legislation resulting in over $1.2 billion in tax and fee savings over the past decade. To learn more about the FRLA, visit or call 888-372-9119 to find out how you can get involved. Susie McKinley is a the Editor of FR&L Magazine and is a former Director of the Florida Division of Hotels & Restaurants. F lo R i dA R ESTAU R A n T & lo d G i n G  


Food as a Means of Terrorism

(and How to Defend Against this Low-Likelihood/High-Consequence Threat) By arT JoHNSoN


groterrorism is defined as a deliberate attack or hoax targeting the food supply, with the goal of generating fear over the safety of food, causing economic losses, and/or undermining social stability.

What would the consequences be if an act of terrorism, either a hoax or a real event, was aimed at the food items necessary for the success of your business? examples of agroterrorism would include the deliberate introduction of a poison into the food supply, transmission of a disease agent into a commercial food-animal operation, or release of a plant pest or disease onto a farm or grove. The United States government has determined that the possibility of this type of terrorism is real, and much planning, training, and strategizing has been completed by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal, state, and local agencies in this focus area over the past decade. agroterrorism is characterized by most experts as a lowlikelihood/high-consequence threat, meaning that although the chance of this type of attack occurring in any given jurisdiction is very low, the consequences could be both costly (in terms of economic 36  AU G UST/SEPT EM B ER


damage, illness, and/or loss of life) and widespread (with regional, national, or international implications). as a Florida food business owner or manager with many pressing challenges to contend with on a daily basis, how concerned should you be about this particular type of risk? Is it something that should be addressed by individual businesses, or is the risk remote enough to allow it to be handled by government action alone? and if you do indeed determine that this type of risk is high enough to warrant a response, what can be done to prepare for or prevent this type of adverse event? In addressing these questions, it is worth remembering that retail products have been successfully used in the past as a means of attack. In 1982 in Chicago, a tampering incident involving extra-Strength Tylenol® capsules occurred on the shelves of several neighborhood stores, leading to the deaths of 7 people from cyanide poisoning. This incident caused millions of dollars in losses and the almost overnight change of an entire industry (replacement of capsules with caplets, and the widespread use of tamperproof packaging). although this incident did not involve a food product, it serves as a warning of how widespread the effects of a single food tampering incident could be. In 1984 in The Dalles, oregon, a religious cult with

a desire to sicken the local population and gain advantage in local elections deliberately introduced Salmonella into the salad bars of 10 restaurants, causing 751 confirmed cases of illness and 45 hospitalizations. Cult members were able to obtain dangerous biological substances and introduce them into the food supply without detection (the deliberate nature of the outbreak did not come to light until cult members confessed more than a year later). one tragic result of this incident was that the outbreak caused huge financial losses to restaurant owners due to the erroneous perception that it was caused by food handler’s poor hygiene, and all but one of the affected restaurants went out of business or changed ownership within two years. Thankfully, we have not seen any large-scale incidents comparable to these in the past three decades, but modern efficiencies of food distribution and the globalization of the food supply have increased the possibility that similar events today could have significant reach. recent, naturally occurring outbreaks of e. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis a, and cyclospora, in products as diverse as fresh spinach, peanut butter, organic berries and bagged salad, continue to remind us how widespread contamination can quickly become in today’s complex and interconnected food distribution environment. Given that food has been used as a means of attack in

our country in the past, and that modern food distribution could enable widespread consequences from an intentional attack, what can Florida food businesses do to protect their customers, employees, and their bottom lines? Following are three common sense actions that can be taken, many of them with little or no direct cost to food businesses.

Become More Aware of Food System Vulnerabilities and Mitigation Steps one of the simplest actions food businesses can take to reduce vulnerability is to ensure that managers and employees fully understand the risks inherit in the food supply. The U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDa) recently updated and released several food defense training courses and tools, all available for free at their website (http://www. default.htm). additionally, the Department of Homeland Security continues to sponsor free instructor-led agroterrorism prevention training, with many courses offered in Florida on an annual basis. These courses are designed to ensure that vulnerabilities in the food supply are well-understood, and to provide ideas for mitigation and protective actions that can be quickly and easily implemented. (For information on how to obtain notice of these free training opportunities, please see the

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contact information at the end of this article). Report Suspicious Activity The Department of Homeland Security and many law enforcement agencies continue to promote “See Something, Say Something” campaigns, designed to encourage citizens to report suspicious activity. If you or your employees come across actions or circumstances that seem suspicious (shipments or containers that appear to have been compromised, suspicious individuals seeking information about your business, or unusual symptoms experienced by food-handling employees or customers), consider reporting detailed information to local law enforcement and public health agencies. If agroterrorism is suspected, you

may also want to reach out to the nearest Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), a coordinated effort by federal and local law enforcement agencies in 103 cities nationwide, tasked to investigate potential terrorist activity. They can be reached by contacting your local FBI resident agency (http:// Have a Food Defense Plan in Place Food businesses, particularly those with a regional or national reach, should consider having a written food defense plan. Responding proactively and quickly to threats or events affecting your food business could have a significant bearing on long-term recovery following a terrorism incident or hoax impacting the food supply. A food defense plan can be a stand-alone plan, or

it can be added as an appendix to your existing HAACP or business recovery plans. A free copy of the FDA’s Food Defense Plan Builder tool can be downloaded at (http:// ToolsEducationalMaterials/ ucm349888.htm). Even with the best of efforts, we may not be able to stop individuals or organizations committed to an attack upon the food supply, since terrorists willing to risk all to commit their crimes can sometimes be very difficult to detect and stop. By utilizing the free and low-cost tools that have recently been made available, however, Florida businesses may be able to reduce some of the risk faced by their customers and employees, and find themselves better able

to weather even this extreme type of human-induced storm. Art Johnstone spent seven years coordinating food defense in Florida as the Director of Agricultural Emergency Preparedness for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He currently serves as President of Grant Partners Inc., providing consulting services in the areas of Food Defense, Homeland Security Training, and Grant Acquisition and Management. He is based in Tallahassee, FL and can be reached at (850) 251-4184. (If you would like to be made aware of the free Department of Homeland Securitysponsored agroterrorism prevention training courses currently scheduled throughout Florida in 2013, please send your name and email address to

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) How Does It Impact My Operation? By Susie McKinley


he Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in January 2011 by President Obama, is touted as the most comprehensive reform of food safety in the United States in decades. It focuses on modernizing the US food safety system primarily by mitigating food contamination - preventing rather than reacting to food safety failures. It is now known that virtually any food can generate foodborne disease. Full implementation of FSMA will promote prevention of foodborne disease in both domestically grown and processed food, as well as imported, internationally sourced food. Farmers will be required to avoid known hazards to food during production, food processors producing food and animal feed will have to establish and monitor preventative controls during prow w w.Res t au ra n t A nd Lodgi

cessing, and importers of food produced internationally will be required to verify food safety practices of their imports. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also been given expanded jurisdiction to recall food that jeopardizes consumers, and also to freeze shipping of food believed to threaten public health. In response to the new law, the FDA recently proposed rules revising oversight of foods imported from other countries to implement mitigating aspects of FSMA. The FDA noted, “This shift is designed to help prevent safety problems before foods arrive in the United States, rather than rely primarily on inspections at US ports of entry.” In addition, the FDA reports that the “… law calls for science-based changes to the food safety system to

prevent foodborne illnesses…”. The proposed rules are intended to make importers more accountable for food safety, and establish standards for third-party audits of foreign food producers, bringing them more in line with best practices used in the US. This will strengthen FDA’s ability to monitor foreign facilities and quickly identify then act on unsafe practices. As much as 15% of food consumed in the US is imported, including nearly half our fresh fruit and 20% of our fresh vegetables meaning these proposed rules have a tremendous potential benefit to consumers, including restaurants and other commercial producers. These new rules would bolster federal food safety oversight along with two others proposed in January 2013. First is the proposed “Preventive

Controls for Human Food” rule, which sets safety requirements for processing, packaging, and storage facilities. Additionally, the proposed “Produce Safety” rule would establish science-based standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce on farms. These proposed rules have already been published in the Federal Register, and Florida’s state and local government, commodity associations and the private sector are in the process of developing comments. Upon full implementation, FSMA will provide food service operators with safer food, protecting them and their millions of patrons. For more about FSMA and how it may impact you or your business visit for links, videos, toolkits and more. F lo r i da R estaura n t & Lo d g i n g  


Florida DBPR to Implement Risk-Based Inspection Frequency System By KEN LAWSON


ith more than 47,000 licensed food service establishments, Florida is a state where more than 19 million residents and 80 million visitors enjoy eating out. And whether it’s a five-star restaurant or a hot dog cart, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is responsible for its licensing and regulation. Food safety is one of our top priorities. With so many Floridians and visitors eating out, the Division of Hotels and Restaurants — DHR — has continually strived to improve health, safety and sanitation inspections over the years. And we have seen results. Last year, DHR was recognized for reducing the number of food-borne illnesses in Florida by 90 percent over a 15-year span. These continued reductions in food-borne illnesses indicate that DHR’s aggressive attention to science-based policies and effective enforcement strategies is achieving results and improving public health and safety. Currently, DBPR is required to inspect food service facilities twice a year. In addition to those regular inspections, DHR investigates each consumer complaint it receives. DHR received more than 4,000 food safety complaints in the past fiscal year. Recently, you may have seen a video on YouTube that received national attention because of apparently dangerous food-handling practices by a buffet restaurant in Port Orange. Once this was brought to our attention, a complaint was filed and DHR responded within 24 hours. In such instances of great public health concern, we know the importance of a quick response. Over the past 15 years, Florida’s restaurant industry experienced a 32 percent growth. This growth is an indication that despite any economic factors, food service establishments will remain an industry that requires DHR’s full attention. Each year, we continue to improve our processes and procedures. In January,

DHR adopted the Food and Drug Administration’s 2009 Food Code, which effectively improved inspection processes and made it easier for all food service establishments and the public to understand inspection results. And, more recently, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law new legislation, supported by our Department which would enable DHR to implement a risk-based inspection frequency system. The new law will allow us to focus on our regulatory and compliance efforts on food service establishKen Lawson ments that pose a higher risk to the public, effectively reducing the regulatory burden for businesses that have a positive compliance history. Beginning July 1, 2014, our food service and sanitation inspectors will be able to conduct inspections one to four times each year using the following criteria: - The inspection and compliance history of each establishment. - The type of food and food preparation style of the establishment. - The type of service provided. Over the next 12 months as we undergo the rulemaking process, we want input from all stakeholders, including the public. We invite you to email us with your questions, comments and concerns at DHR. Florida is at the forefront in adopting improved food safety and sanitation inspection procedures. At DBPR, we intend to continue to lead the way, while working to preserve the integrity of food service establishments and protecting each of you who enjoy eating out. Ken Lawson is the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Division of Hotels and Restaurants Celebrates 100 Years of Public Safety Centennial Timeline (1913-2013) of Important Events, Business Dates and Milestones



F lo r i da R estaura n t & Lo d g i n g A sso ci at i o n


46. A good food service operation’s facility layout and design will have all of the following except?

For more information visit FRLA’s web page


o prepare Florida businesses for disaster, the Frla traveled across the state this summer to present a series called “Bulletproof your Business.” The free business continuity workshops were in collaboration with the Florida Division of emergency Management and the University of West Florida Small Business Development Center. The workshops were designed to teach local hoteliers, restaurateurs, and businesses how to create a continuity and disaster preparedness plan,

how to utilize a property protection checklist, and how to protect their establishments in the event of a natural disaster. The program is a part of Frla’s dedication to emergency preparedness. as an emergency Services representative serving Support Function 18 for the state of Florida, the association helps coordinate local, state and federal agency actions that will provide immediate and short-term assistance for the needs of business, industry and economic stabilization. The goal is to help businesses to

develop a plan prior to a disaster and then assess the community’s ability to restore business operations as quickly as possible after an emergency. With hurricane season in full swing, Frla is closely monitoring the risk of areas that could be impacted. The association’s primary objective is to coordinate and communicate with members to determine hotel and restaurant availability and needs. Frla strongly encourages businesses to develop a detailed blueprint to ensure a prompt and effective reaction during an emergency.

Cleaning accessibility Good workflow Cross-contamination prevention FDA Food Code violations


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Produces New Foodborne Illness Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Managers of Food Establishments


he Council to Improve Foodborne outbreak response (CIFor) is a collaboration of federal, state and local regulatory partners engaged in improving methods at all regulatory “… levels to detect, investigate, control, and prevent foodborne disease outbreaks….” CIFor partners include members of the association of Food and Drug officials (aFDo), association of Public Health laboratories (aPHl), association of State and Territorial Health officials(aSTHo), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Council of State and Territorial epidemiologists (CSTe), Food and Drug administration

(FDa), National association of County and City Health officials(NaCCHo), National association of State Departments of agriculture(NaSDa), National association of State Public Health veterinarians (NaSPHv), National environmental Health association (NeHa) and the United States Department of agriculture (USDa).

after looking at the numbers, it is acknowledged that foodborne disease (illness) is something that can’t be ignored. It impacts the health and welfare of citizens, changing lives, damaging businesses, and causing other unforeseen problems for anyone touched by it. In an effort to assist the food industry, CIFor has developed a comprehensive set of guidelines to “…help outline, clarify, and explain industry’s recommended role in a foodborne illness outbreak investigation. The document provides step-by-step approaches to important aspects of outbreak response such as preparation, detection, investigation,

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), foodborne diseases in the U.S. cause an estimated: • • • • •

- 47.8 million illnesses >1,000 reported outbreaks 6% of outbreaks are multi-jurisdictional 128,000 hospitalizations) 3,000 deaths

control, and follow-up. By using the CIFor Industry Guidelines and its tools, Industry can take an active and educated role in outbreak response and investigation thereby reducing negative health impact to the public and negative economic impact to their businesses….” If you are concerned about being fully prepared to manage your response to a foodborne illness outbreak in your operation, this document should not be missed. It provides a food establishment selfassessment, information about the media, policies and procedures for closing and opening a location, control measures, commonly used terms and definitions used during an investigation, sample forms and logs, posters, a product sampling procedure and many other useful tools to help the operator manage through a foodborne illness investigation. For further information about the Guidelines, visit projind.cfm.

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2013 Food Safety Supplement  
2013 Food Safety Supplement  

September is Food Safety Month and this special supplement includes updates on food safety defenses and best practices as well as articles o...