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Posted on: September 21, 2021

Updated Washington Food Code

Washington State Board of Health adopted updates to chapter 246-215 WAC, Food Service, on October 13, 2020. 

Updates to the Washington Food Code, WAC 246-215, were adopted by the State Board of Health on October 13, 2020 and became effective on January 15, 2021. The updated rule incorporates the 2017 U.S. FDA Food Code along with Washington modifications that address legislative changes and food safety issues raised by stakeholders.  Please review the changes and share them with managers and staff of your food establishment. 

The printable PDF versions of the updated WAC 246-215 are posted below. Due to the staggered implementation of the revised rule, a preface identifies the sections that are effective January 15, 2021 and guidance for the definitions that have been deleted.

 WAC 246-215 (Effective January 15, 2021)

 WAC 246-215 (Effective March 1, 2022; See Preface for explanation of effective dates)

 Based on stakeholder input, the food service rule becomes effective with a timeline that is staggered.

  • Effective January 15, 2021: Rule sections addressing legislative changes 
    • WAC 246-215-01115 Definitions (including the removal of lemonade/beverage stands and certain B&B food service when meeting the criteria as defined in “FOOD ESTABLISHMENT”)
    • WAC 246-215-03235 Receiving Temperature of freshly-made rice noodles
    • WAC 246-215-06570 Pet dogs allowed indoors at food establishments with very limited food service
    • WAC 246-215-09100 through WAC 246-215-09160 Mobile food units, commissaries, mobile plan review
  • Effective March 1, 2022: All remaining provisions of the rule excluding the Certified Food Protection Manager certification requirement
  • Effective March 1, 2023: Certified Food Protection Manager certification requirement

Major provisions of the adopted rule include:

  • Active Managerial Control and the duties of the Person in Charge.
  • Certified Food Protection Manager requirements.
  • Refilling reusable consumer-owned containers.
  • Date marking for 7-day shelf life of unpackaged refrigerated foods.
  • Employee health, illness and hygiene.
  • Clean up procedures for vomit and diarrhea.
  • Allowable bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food.
  • Mobile food unit requirements, including commissaries and plan review.
  • Donated food operating requirements, facility clarifications, and modifications to food source.
  • Cooking temperatures for poultry and ground meat.
  • Modification of consumer advisory and requirements for parasite reduction in fresh fish.
  • Dogs in select indoor and outdoor areas of food establishments.

Educational handouts will be provided once finalized by Washington Department of Health. 

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