Food Protection Program
The Department of Health and Human Services in the City of Danbury is responsible for overseeing and regulating all food service establishments. This includes restaurants, markets, caterers, private clubs, itinerant vendors, school cafeterias, group homes, daycare centers, nursing homes, and temporary events. Additionally, the Department evaluates proposals for new food service establishments and offers re-inspections upon the owner's request if they are dissatisfied with their current rating.
Danbury is renowned for its diverse range of temporary food service events, and our dedicated team places significant emphasis on ensuring that vendors operating food booths are well-versed in food safety practices. Our team, composed of Public Health Inspectors and Sanitarians, conducts surprise inspections regularly at all licensed food establishments. These inspections, coupled with educational efforts, play a crucial role in safeguarding the public from food-related illnesses.
The Connecticut Assembly recently passed regulations to adopt the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Model Food Code in the State of Connecticut. This new law began phasing in on July 1, 2017. With the passing of the recent regulations, the FDA Food Code is now effective in the State of Connecticut as of February 17, 2023.
The City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services recognizes that the adoption of the FDA Food Code in Connecticut will be an adjustment for everyone, including establishment owners and operators as well as for us at the Health Department. We are committed to working with you throughout the transition process as we collectively ensure the health and safety of the public while implementing the new requirements in accordance with the FDA Food Code.
As you prepare for this implementation, please review the 2022 FDA Food Code, which can be found on the FDA Food Code website.
Additionally, please be aware of the following information and/or requirements that are new:
- Inspection Form – The City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services will be utilizing a new inspection report form (see enclosed). Inspection reports will no longer provide a number score. Violations will be categorized as “Priority”, “Priority Foundation”, and “Core”. These categories align with the risk of foodborne illness relative to the violation. Each violation category has its own compliance timeline associated with it (See Section 8-405 of the FDA Food Code).
- Priority items eliminate, prevent, or reduce to an acceptable level, hazards that cause foodborne illness or injury (e.g., appropriate handwashing)
- Priority Foundation items provide support to Priority items (e.g., soap provided to support proper handwashing)
- Core items are related to general sanitation/maintenance and standard operating procedures (e.g., floors are easily cleanable)
- Person in Charge – Each Class 1, 2, 3, and 4 food establishment shall have a person in charge (PIC) who meets the requirements of Section 2-102.11 of the FDA Food Code and who is on-site at the food establishment at all times the establishment is operating.
- The person in charge at all Class 2, 3, and 4 food establishments shall hold a valid certificate to be a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) (See Section 2-102.12 of the FDA Food Code). For a list of approved testing organizations, please visit the Conference for Food Protection Directory website at https://www.foodprotect.org.
- Date-Marking – Food establishments will be required to implement a date-marking system for certain foods stored in the establishment (See Section 3-501-17 of the FDA Food Code).
- Signage and Advisories –
- 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 (See Section 6-301.14 of the FDA Food Code).
- Food establishments shall notify consumers by written notification of the presence of major food allergens as an ingredient in unpackaged food items that are served or sold to the customer (See Section 3-602.12 of the FDA Food Code). Written notification can be provided in many forms such as: physical or electronic means, including, but not limited to, brochures, deli case or menu notifications, label statements, table tents, placards, or other effective written means. Notify the customer to the presence of major food allergens may prevent an inadvertent exposure.
- Written Clean-Up Procedure for Vomiting or Diarrheal Events – Food establishments shall have a written policy regarding procedures for employees to follow when responding to vomiting or diarrheal events in the food establishment. The procedure shall address the specific actions employees must take to minimize the spread of contamination and exposure of employees, consumers, food and surfaces (See Section 2-501.11 of the FDA Food Code).
The information presented in this letter is only a small portion of the changes that will take place relative to the adoption of the FDA Food Code. To learn more, please refer to the 2022 FDA Food Code Handbook.
The City of Danbury Department of Health and Human Services is not offering Certified Food Protection Manager/Handler courses at this time. Please visit the following website for approved courses:
Cottage Food production is held to the highest safety standards and all practices within the business must be in compliance with laws set by the State of Connecticut and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
View the Cottage Food License and Information.
PURPOSE OF ADVISORY
The consumer advisory is meant to inform consumers, especially susceptible populations (i.e. elderly, children, pregnant mothers, immunocompromised), about the increased risk of foodborne illness from eating raw or undercooked animal foods.
WHEN A CONSUMER ADVISORY IS REQUIRED
If an animal food such as beef, fish, lamb, milk, poultry, or shellfish that is raw, undercooked, or not otherwise processed to eliminate pathogens is offered in a ready-to- eat form.
EXAMPLES OF RISKY FOODS
- Raw or undercooked eggs (Caesar dressing, custards, sauces i.e. Hollandaise, etc)
- Raw or rare meat (hamburgers, steak etc)
- Raw or undercooked seafood (sushi, clams, oysters, etc)
DISCLOSURE SHALL INCLUDE:
- A description of the animal-derived foods, such as “oysters on the half shell (raw oysters),” “raw-egg Caesar salad” and “hamburgers (can be cooked to order),” or…
- Identification of the animal-derived foods by asterisking them to a footnote that states that the items are served raw or undercooked, or contain (may contain) raw or undercooked ingredients.
REMINDER shall include asterisking the animal-derived foods requiring disclosure to a footnote that states:
- Regarding the safety of these items, written information is available upon request or…
- Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness or…
- Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.
NOTE: The consumer advisory can be presented by using brochures, deli case or menu advisories, label statements, table tents, placards, or other effective written means.
Date marking helps indicate when foods are no longer safe to eat. This helps prevent foodborne disease outbreaks. This practice is recommended in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Code under section 3-501.17.
Foodborne pathogens, like Listeria monocytogenes, can grow at refrigeration temperatures, particularly in certain ready-to-eat foods, such as deli meat and salads. FDA calls these foods time/temperature control for safety (TCS) foods. If these types of foods will be refrigerated for more than 24 hours, the FDA Food Code recommends:
- They should NOT be kept for more than 7 days, and
- They should be marked with a date indicating when the food should be eaten, sold, or thrown away.
What foods need to be date-marked?
Ready-to-eat foods or foods that are time/temperature controlled for safety that are being held in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours.
Ready-to-eat foods and TCS foods include:
- Commercially prepared and/or
- Prepared onsite and held under refrigeration (41°F or below) for more than 24 hours.
How to properly date mark:
A food establishment operator may choose any date marking system that caters to their needs. Date marking systems must be:
It is strongly recommended that your food establishments have a written policy for discarding food. Food must be discarded after 7 days; this includes the day the food was prepared. (ex: Food prepared on May 1st should be discarded on May 7th.)
Combining Foods with Different Date Markings:
If you combine foods with different date markings, the oldest date becomes the new reference date. For example, if you mixed a salad date marked for Wednesday with a salad date marked for Friday, the new reference date for the combined salad would be Wednesday.
Exemptions from Date Marking:
Foods that are exempt from date marking include:
- Foods prepared and packaged by a food processing plant that is inspected by regulatory authority which include:
- Deli salads
- Hard cheeses (<39% moisture)
- Semi-soft cheeses (between 39%-50% moisture)
- Cultured dairy products (yogurt, sour cream, and buttermilk)
- Preserved fish products
- Shelf stable, dry fermented sausages (peperoni and Genoa) and
- Shelf stable cured products (prosciutto and parma)
- Individual meal portions served or prepackaged for sale from bulk container upon consumer’s request.
Freezing Food Requiring a Date Mark:
Freezing ready-to-eat or TCS foods will pause the date marking time frame but it will NOT reset the time frame. If you store RTE or TCS foods in the freezer, the date marking time will stop. Once the RTE/TCS food is removed from the freezer, the date marking will resume. (Ex: If a food is stored at 0°F on Day 3, the date marking period stops. Once removed from the freezer, you can safely store the food at 41°F or below for an additional 4 days.)
The following information must be provided on frozen prepared foods container:
- Freezing date
- Thawing date
- Preparation date and
- Number of days that already expired (EX: 2 of 7 days, 4 of 7 days, etc.)
NOTE: Any RTE/TCS foods that are stored without proper date markings upon inspection may be subject to discarding.