Food code update: Illinois


Nov 28, 2016 | EcoSure Food Safety Monitor

By Miriam Eisenberg, MS, RD, CP-FS

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On July 29, 2016, the Illinois Department of Public Health incorporated an updated state code based on the FDA 2013 Model Food Code.

This updated version of the Food Code increases the Form 3A to 57 items. Of the 57 items, the top 29 of them are defined as Foodborne Illness (FBI) Risk Factor and Public Health Intervention items and the remaining 28 items are defined as Good Retail Practice items. The top 29 items will be used as a checklist during routine inspections. Each FBI Risk Factor must be reviewed during every routine inspection. The terms “critical” and “non-critical” will no longer be used to reference violation.

The scoring matrix changed, and a numerical score will no longer be used. An establishment will pass, pass with conditions or fail. A matrix made up of FBI Risk Factors and repeat violations will determine if an establishment passes, passes with conditions or fails. The score cards must be posted. The score cards will no longer have a letter grade or a numerical score on them. It is proposed that they be green (pass), yellow (pass with conditions) or red (fail).

For example: If an establishment had 4 FBI risk factor violations and 7 repeat violations, it would pass with conditions. 

A few notable updates as per current FDA Food Code include:

  • Handwashing Signs
    A sign or poster that notifies food employees to wash their hands shall be provided at all handwashing sinks used by food employees and shall be clearly visible to food employees. 
  • Written Procedures Required for Diarrheal and Vomiting Events
    A food establishment shall have procedures for employees to follow when responding to vomiting or diarrheal events that involve the discharge of vomitus or fecal matter onto surfaces in the food establishment. The procedures shall address the specific actions employees must take to minimize the spread of contamination and the exposure of employees, consumers, food, and surfaces to vomitus or fecal matter. This is important in the reduction of the spread of norovirus. While not specifically called out, be sure to have the proper materials available on site as described in the procedures.
  • No Bare Hand Contact with Ready-to-eat Food Product 
    Food employees may not contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment.
  • Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food Product (Formerly Potentially Hazardous Food Product)
    Cut leafy greens are now a Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) Food and must be held at 41° F or below.
    Regulatory agencies around Illinois may institute the new code or other modifications at different times. See the Illinois-adopted Food Establishment Inspection Report.