NEHA April 2024 Journal of Environmental Health



Identified Commonalities for Reuse and Multiuse Containers in Federal Food Code Versions

Key Commonality

Food Code Section and Definition

Justification for Study Use

3-304.16A–C; 3-304.17A–E; 3-306.13B; Beverage; Packaged; Re-Service; Sanitization

These codes and terms reference reuse and multiuse directly and provide terms that likely have direct relevance to third- party cleaning services in places in which they are allowed or disallowed. These codes and terms describe materials permitted to be used in reusable or refillable containers, and broad guidelines as to their interpretation. These codes and terms describe materials used in single- service or single-use items, and the difference in permissions regarding these items and those that are refillable or reusable. These codes and terms directly describe the process of cleaning reusable items and the rationale for why specific materials are used over others. These codes and terms involve the classification of locations such that they allow or disallow the use of particular items or services, depending on how those locations are regulated. These codes and terms include common verbiage that directly pertains to many of the operational phrases used in the remainder of the Food Code in terms of permissions and prohibitions, and information regarding who determines this information for a given area and how and why it is determined.

Explicit application to reuse, multiuse, and third-party services

4-101.11A–E; 4-101.12A–C; Sections on Materials; 4-201.11; 4-204.13A, B, D ; 4-603.17 ; Corrosion-Resistant Material; Equipment; Kitchenware; Safe Material; Smooth; Tableware; Utensil 4-102.11A–B; 4-502.12; 4-502.13A; Single-Service Articles; Single-Use Articles 3-302.11A.3; 3-304.11A; 4-202-12A-B; 4-204.113A–C ; 4-601 . 11A–C ; 4-602.11A-E; 4-701.10; 4-702.11; 4-904.14A–B ; 7-204.11A–B; Easily Cleanable; Foodborne Disease Outbreak; Food Contact Surface; Warewashing 7-203.11; Food Establishment; Food Processing Plant; Physical Facilities; Premises; Servicing Area; Temporary Food Establishment 8-101.10A–B; 8-201.13A; Approved; CFR; Consumer; Critical Control Point; Critical Limit; Disclosure; Employee; Food; HACCP Plan; Hazard; Highly Susceptible Population; Imminent Health Hazard; Juice; Major Food Allergen; Permit; Permit Holder; Priority Item; Priority Foundation Item; Regulatory Authority; Ready-to-Eat Food; Restrict; Risk; Time/Temperature Control for Safety; Variance 3-304.16; 3-304.17; 4-101.11; 4-603.17; Easily Cleanable; Food Contact Surface; Food Establishment; Food Processing Plant; Safe Material; Sanitization; Single- Service Articles; Single-Use Articles

Involves material and optional requirements of reusable items and their classification

Definitions and regulations for items that are not reusable

Involves cleaning requirements (and associated references) of reusable items

Includes regulations and requirements for locations involved

Includes verbiage for regulatory authority and inspection in addition to the target audience of the codes

Key regulations among these commonalities with direct implications for interpretation of our research questions

These codes and terms are referenced in detail in Table 3 and serve as the basis for direct evaluation of the research questions.

Note. Bolded regulations apply only to Food Codes from 2009 and earlier. Italicized regulations are from Food Codes after 2009. Underlined content indicates a key regulation directly related to our research questions. CFR = Code of Federal Regulations; HACCP = hazard analysis critical control point. Source: Food and Drug Administration, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017.

Research Questions and Design While many questions related to reuse and multiuse containers were considered, time and resource constraints limited the assess- ment of each code by driving data collection toward considering: 1.Can consumers use personal thermoses or containers for beverage refills? 2. Can consumers use personal containers for food refills? 3.Can consumers put leftover food in per- sonal take-home containers that they brought, themselves, with no aŽliation to the establishment? 4.Can establishments use take-home ther- moses or containers that they have pro- vided to consumers for beverage or hot liquid refills?

that reference them. For example, Chapter 1, Section 2 of the federal code operationally defines terms used in all subsequent sections. If this section is omitted or changed, then the federal code has been adopted section-by- section, not by reference, because a change to the definition of a term inherently changes the nature—even if only slightly—of the reg- ulations referencing that term for the entirety of the code that follows.

and 1995. Reports also indicated that at least one state (California) does not follow any federal code (FDA, 2023b). FDA has archival references online to Food Codes dating back to 1997, but we were not able to obtain the 1995 federal Food Code . As a result, the South Dakota state code that is based on the 1995 Food Code was evaluated based on the 2001 federal Food Code , which is likely the near- est in content. Foregoing adoption method as a basis for evaluation, we found that several states do not appear to have much in common with the federal code and that California has a lot in common with the 2017 federal code. This finding ultimately led to a full evaluation of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, in addition to the 6 available federal codes listed, in assessing our research questions.


Evaluation Scope According to annual federal reports, there are six Food Codes that have been used as the basis for state and District of Columbia food codes: 2017, 2013, 2009, 2005, 2001,


Volume 86 • Number 8

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