The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the Model Food Code to establish uniform regulations for food safety in every state.   The requirements for food safety and sanitation practices in restaurants are created by each state's health department.  However, the FDA has created the Model Food Code to help guide health departments as to what requirements restaurants should follow.  This establishes a nationwide standard that makes following guidelines easier for those required to follow them.  For instance, a restaurant owner could open restaurants in multiple states and still follow the same standards in all the restaurants. The Model Food Code is not a federal law, but merely a set of recommendations for states to follow.  This means it is within the discretion of each state's health department to incorporate these recommendations.  Some state health departments have based many of their regulations on the Code, while others have taken very little from it if anything at all.

What Does the Model Food Code Incorporate?

The Model Food Code deals with all aspects on running a restaurant and gives recommendations on how to include safety and sanitation into all steps.  Some subjects covered in the Code are:

  • Protection against contamination of food at various phases of receiving and preparing the food, including appropriate temperatures to store and cook the food
  • How to dispose of contaminated food
  • How to make repairs in restaurants in a safe and sanitary manner
  • How to sanitize common restaurant equipment such as eating utensils
  • Labeling, identifying, storage, and use of poisonous or toxic materials such as cleaners and detergents
  • A guide of how to conduct restaurant safety inspections

What Should I Do if My Restaurant Has Been Accused of Causing Food Poisoning Due to Unsanitary Conditions?

You will probably want to consult an attorney who has experience in consumer rights cases, especially if a former customer is threatening to sue you.  Your consumer rights attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, possible defenses, and can help you navigate your way through the civil litigation process.