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EcoSure Food Safety Monitor
march 2017

The EcoSure Food Safety Monitor is a free monthly newsletter written by EcoSure Food Safety & Public Health experts. EcoSure is a division of Ecolab.

March 2017 Food Safety Monitor newsletter

New Mexico Foodservice Manager Requirements Update

The deadline to meet New Mexico’s new food safety requirements regarding food handler cards and manager certification was March 1, 2017.  A year ago, New Mexico adopted the 2013 FDA Food Code and provided a year’s grace period for foodservice locations to comply. Exceptions to this are the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County which are still based on the 2009 and 2005 Food Code respectively.

The requirements are for at least one certified manager per permit and a person-in-charge who can demonstrate food safety knowledge to be on duty at all times. In addition, all employees must obtain food handler cards. 

The person-in-charge who can demonstrate food safety knowledge doesn’t have to have an actual certification or be a manager. However, this person must be able to answer detailed questions about proper food handling.

Dionne Wright-Bower, a spokeswoman for the state restaurant group, said “For instance, you can’t have someone who may be a dishwasher but who is not trained in proper food handling left alone in the restaurant to lock up. If that location gets inspected at that time, that individual will need to be able to answer detailed questions about safe food handling. Otherwise, the location will get a violation.”


To learn more, see a Summary of New Mexico’s Important Changes to Food Regulations or the New Mexico Environment Department FAQs on Food Handler Cards

Montgomery County Maryland Allergen Awareness Training

Effective July 1, 2017 Montgomery County, Maryland is requiring that all eating and drinking establishments have a trained employee—who has completed a food allergen awareness course and passed a test—on premises at all times. At least one of these certified individuals must be on the premise at all times when food is being prepared or served in order to meet compliance. This requirement is part of Bill 33-16, Eating and Drinking Establishments – Food Allergen Awareness Training, which was enacted on November 1, 2016.

Montgomery County has approved two vendors to provide the training: The National Restaurant Association (NRA) and MenuTrinfo, LLC. The NRA ServSafe® allergen training program and MenuTrinfo® allergen training programs are the only food allergen awareness courses approved by the Department for compliance with Montgomery County Bill 33-16.

For more information, see the Food and Facilities Licensing page of the Montgomery County Government website.

Additionally, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts currently have similar requirements. Click the below links for more information on the mandate and training in these states.


Rhode Island



Controlling Listeria in Retail Delicatessens

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has provided guidance for retail delicatessens on how they can better control Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in their shops. FSIS said its recommendations are based on an evaluation of retail conditions and practices in an interagency risk assessment for Lm. The FSIS guidance was based at least in part on information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The eight recommendations are:


  • Eliminate visibly adulterated product from retail deli areas.
  • Refrigerate ready-to-eat (RTE) meat or poultry products promptly after use.
  • Do not prepare, hold, or store RTE meat or poultry products near or directly adjacent to raw products in the deli case or elsewhere in the deli area.
  • Cover, wrap, or otherwise protect all opened RTE meat or poultry products when not in use to prevent cross contamination.
  • Make sure unsanitary conditions, including flies, rodent droppings, mold, or dirty surfaces, are not near where any RTE meat and poultry products are prepared, packed or held.
  • Clean and sanitize equipment used to process RTE products at least every 4 hours.
  • Eliminate facility conditions in deli or storage areas that could cause a product to be adulterated, such as condensation dripping or exposed product, construction dust, or broken equipment.
  • Require all deli employees handling RTE products to wear disposable gloves.


The eight suggestions are found in an FSIS Directive issued on Feb. 16, 2017.

Date Labeling Initiative
The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association jointly announced in February that food manufacturers and retailers will streamline and standardize date labeling verbiage on food packages. This industry-wide effort will reduce consumer confusion about product date labels which often can lead to food waste.

This initiative will simplify the many different date labels (10+) down to two standard options. The agreed upon wording is as follows:

“BEST If Used By” or “BEST If Used or Freeze By” quality phrasing will indicate to consumers that after the specified date, the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume. For example, the quality of the product taste or texture may have diminished slightly or it may not have the full vitamin content indicated on the package.

“USE By” or “USE or Freeze By” safety phrasing will inform customers that these products should be consumed on or before the date listed on the package. Perishable products are those with a potential food safety implication over time. After the date on the “USE By” label has passed, the product should not be used or consumed and instead should be discarded.

Widespread adoption of this voluntary practice is expected by July of 2018.

Food Safety Summit 2017 Offers New Training Courses

The Food Safety Summit 2017 is scheduled for May 8-11 in Chicago. The Food Safety Summit this year is offering twice the number of certification courses.

“There has been huge interest in the certification courses,” said Adriene Cooper, senior event manager at BNP Media, which stages the Food Safety Summit. “We think it’s likely because of the FSMA rules (Food Safety Modernization Act).”

The three new certification courses being offered this year are Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) courses on three of the most sweeping preventive rules mandated by Congress when it approved the FSMA in 2010.

The new FSPCA courses are for the FSMA rules on:

  • Preventive Controls for Human Foods
  • Preventive Controls for Animal Food
  • Foreign Supplier Verification Programs

Other certification courses available are:

  • Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training
  • Seafood HACCP – Segment 2
  • Professional Food Safety Auditor Training