The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its 2022 edition of the FDA Food Code, which provides guidance to state and local authorities and retailers to help mitigate foodborne illness risks at retail and provide a uniform set of national standards for retail food safety.

The 2022 edition commemorates 30 years of the FDA Food Code in its current format. It represents the FDA's best advice for a uniform system of provisions that address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in food service, and while it is a model code that is not required, it has been widely adopted by state, local, tribal and territorial agencies that regulate more than one million restaurants, retail food stores, vending operations and food service operations in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and childcare centers.

The 2022 Food Code specifically addresses food donations for the first time and this new information is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The National Strategy, which was rolled out in September at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, provides a roadmap of actions the federal government is taking to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030—all while reducing disparities.

One-third of all food in the U.S. goes uneaten. To prevent food loss and waste across the food supply chain, and help ensure safe, good-quality food gets to those who need it most, the 2022 Food Code has clarified that food that is stored, prepared, packaged, displayed and labeled according to Food Code safety provisions can be donated.

Other significant changes to the 2022 Food Code include:

  • Adding sesame as a major food allergen to reflect that the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act of 2021 established sesame as the 9th major food allergen;
  • Informing consumers, in writing, of major food allergens as ingredients in unpackaged food; 
  • Adding labeling of major food allergens in bulk food that is available for consumer self-dispensing;
  • Creating new requirements for the allowance of pet dogs in outdoor dining spaces; and
  • Revising the definition of intact meat, including enhancements to clarify time/temperature cooking requirements

View a full list of the Summary of Changes.

The 2022 edition reflects the input of regulatory officials, industry, academia, and consumers that participated in the 2020 biennial meeting of the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) (held in 2021). Collaboration with the CFP and the FDA’s partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency helps ensure the Food Code establishes sound model requirements that would help prevent foodborne illness and injury and would help eliminate the most important food safety hazards in retail and foodservice facilities.

Complete and widespread adoption of the 2022 Food Code as statutes, codes and ordinances helps:

  • Reduce foodborne illness risk within food establishments, protecting consumers and industry from potentially devastating health consequences/financial losses;
  • Create uniform standards for retail food safety that reduce complexity and better ensure compliance;
  • Eliminate redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria; and
  • Establish a more standardized approach to inspections and audits of food establishments

Members of the FDA’s National Retail Food Team are available to assist regulatory officials, educators, and the industry in their efforts to adopt, implement, and understand the provisions of the FDA Food Code and the Retail Program Standards.

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