Full Title Name:  Iowa Administrative Code. Agency 481. Inspections and Appeals Department. Inspections Division. Chapter 31. Food Establishment and Food Processing Plant Inspections. 481-31.1(137F). Inspection standards for food establishments.

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Country of Origin:  United States Citation:  Iowa Admin. Code 481-31.1(137F) Agency Origin:  Inspections and Appeals Department Last Checked:  April, 2023 Date Adopted:  2023 Last Date Amended:  2023
Summary: This Iowa regulation was amended in 2020 by adding subsection 31.1(14) to allow "pet dogs" on exterior premises of a food establishment, including outdoor patio and outdoor dining areas, provided the food establishment meets all of the listed requirements. These requirements include: having a separate outdoor entrance; not allowing food preparation in the outdoor area or storage of reusable customer utensils; mandating that food or water dishes provided to dogs are single-use and disposable or come from the pet owners themselves; prohibiting contact between employees and the dogs; making sure the outdoor area is kept clean; ensuring that the area is immediately cleaned and sanitized if body fluids are excreted; making sure the outdoor area is not fully enclosed; requiring the removal of disruptive pet dogs; and posting of rules at the entrance. These rules include the leashing of dogs at all times, the prohibiting of dogs in the interior of the food establishment and on furniture, and the requirement to notify employees if the dog deposits any body fluid.

The department adopts, with the following exceptions, the 2017 Food Code with Supplement of the Food and Drug Administration as the state's “food code,” which is the inspection standard for food establishments other than food processing plants.

31.1(1) Unattended food establishments--assignment of responsibility. For the purposes of section 2-101.11(C) of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement, unattended food establishments are not required to have a designated person in charge present during all hours of operation provided that the permit holder ensures the following requirements are met.

a. Unattended food establishment location. The unattended food establishment shall be located in the interior of a building that is not accessible by the general public. Access to the unattended food establishment shall be limited to a defined population (e.g., employees or occupants of the building where the establishment is located).

b. Nature and source of food and beverages offered for sale.

(1) Only commercially packaged foods properly labeled for individual retail sale, pursuant to Food Code section 3-201.11(C), shall be offered.

(2) No unpackaged food is permitted except as provided by section 3-302.11(B)(1) of the Food Code.

(3) Food preparation by consumers is limited to heating/reheating food in a microwave oven.

(4) No dispensing of bulk food is permitted.

c. Refrigerated display equipment. An unattended food establishment shall be equipped with refrigeration or freezer units that have the following features:

(1) Self-closing doors that allow food to be viewed without opening the door to the refrigerated cooler or freezer; and

(2) An automatic self-locking mechanism that prevents the consumer from accessing the food upon the occurrence of any condition that results in the failure of the refrigeration unit to maintain the internal product temperature specified under section 3-501.16(A)(2) or of the freezer unit to maintain the product as frozen.

d. Food service equipment limitations.

(1) Beverages are dispensed by individual serving only. Beverage dispensers connected to the building water supply must be properly equipped with backflow prevention pursuant to section 5-203.14 of the Food Code.

(2) Food-contact surfaces.

1. Multiuse food-contact surfaces shall be cleaned on a frequency consistent with the service pursuant to section 4-202.11 of the Food Code or can be and are easily removed and replaced with cleaned surfaces.

2. No multiuse food-contact surfaces intended for use with time/temperature control for safety foods are permitted.

e. Security.

(1) An unattended food establishment shall provide continuous video surveillance of areas where consumers view, select, handle and purchase products. The continuous video surveillance shall provide sufficient resolution to identify situations that may compromise food safety or food defense.

1. Video surveillance recordings shall be maintained and, upon request by a representative of a regulatory agency, made available for inspection within 24 hours of the request.

2. Video surveillance recordings shall be held by the establishment for a minimum of 14 days after the date of the surveillance.

(2) The permit holder shall take reasonable steps necessary to discourage individuals from returning food, beverages, or both that have not been selected for purchase.

f. Routine maintenance at an unattended food establishment.

(1) The permit holder shall service the unattended food establishment at least weekly. Service may include, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Checking food supplies and equipment for signs of product damage, tampering, or both.

2. Verifying that refrigeration equipment is operating properly, including the temperature display and self-locking mechanism.

3. Rotating foods to better ensure first in/first out of food items.

4. Cleaning food service equipment and food display areas.

5. Stocking food and disposable single-use and single-service supplies.

6. Checking inventory for recalled foods.

(2) The permit holder shall ensure that:

1. Food is from an approved source.

2. Packaged food is provided in tamper-evident packaging.

3. Food is protected from potential sources of cross contamination.

4. Food is maintained at safe temperatures during transport and display.

g. Unattended food establishment oversight. Each unattended food establishment shall have a sign readily visible at the automated payment station stating:

(1) The name and mailing address of the business entity responsible for the establishment and to whom complaints and comments should be addressed.

(2) The telephone number, email address or web information for the responsible business entity, when applicable.

h. Designation of responsibilities. The permit holder bears all responsibilities for the operation of the food establishment. When the permit holder is not the owner or operator of the building where the food establishment is located, a mutual agreement that outlines the responsibilities for cleaning and maintenance of all surfaces and equipment and for provision of supportive facilities/services, such as janitorial services and restroom facilities, pest control and removal of solid waste, may be approved by the regulatory agency. This agreement should also outline actions that must be taken by both parties to maintain the establishment in compliance with all requirements including responding to imminent health hazards.

i. Inspections--on-site person in charge. When requested by the regulatory authority for the purposes of conducting an inspection, the permit holder shall provide an on-site person in charge within a reasonable time frame not to exceed four hours.

31.1(2) Certified food protection manager requirements, exceptions, and time frames for compliance.

a. For the purposes of section 2-102.12(A) of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement, the food establishment may employ a single certified food protection manager who is not present at the food establishment during all hours of operation, as long as the following requirements are met:

(1) The individual who is a certified food protection manager has supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service at the food establishment;

(2) The person in charge demonstrates knowledge as prescribed in section 2-102.11 of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement; and

(3) The person in charge demonstrates active managerial control of food safety by complying with section 2-103.11 of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement.

b. A food establishment that, upon inspection, is found to be in violation of section 2-102.11 or 2-103.11 of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement will have six months to ensure that any individual designated as the person in charge is a certified food protection manager.

c. For the purposes of section 2-102.12(B), the following food establishments are not required to employ a certified food protection manager:

(1) Food establishments that sell only prepackaged food.

(2) Temporary or farmers market food establishments.

(3) Food establishments at which food is not prepared, where customers may purchase beverages and where the service of food is limited to the service of ice, beverages, prepackaged snack foods, popcorn or peanuts and to the reheating of commercially prepared foods for immediate service that do not require assembly, such as frozen pizza or prepackaged sandwiches.

(4) Food establishments at which food is not prepared, where customers may purchase only commercially prepared non-time/temperature control for safety foods that are dispensed either unpackaged or packaged and that are intended for off-premises consumption.

d. Time frames for compliance with section 2-102.12 of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement, as amended by paragraphs 31.1(2)“a” and “b,”are as follows:

(1) Newly licensed facilities must comply with section 2-102.12 of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement, as amended by paragraphs 31.1(2)“a” and “b,” within six months of licensure.

(2) If an individual meeting the requirement of paragraph 31.1(2)“a” leaves employment, the establishment shall meet the requirement of section 2-102.12 of the 2017 Food Code with Supplement, as amended by paragraphs 31.1(2)“a” and “b,” within six months of the individual's departure.

31.1(3) Honey prepared in a residence. Section 3-201.11 is amended to allow honey which is stored; prepared, including by placement in a container; or labeled at or distributed from the premises of a residence to be sold in a food establishment.

31.1(4) Homemade food items prepared in a licensed home food processing establishment. Section 3-201.11 is amended to allow homemade food items that are eligible for resale and are prepared, packaged, and labeled pursuant to 481--Chapter 34 to be offered for human consumption in a food establishment.

31.1(5) Wild-harvested mushrooms. Section 3-201.16, paragraph (A), is amended by adding the following:

“A food establishment or farmers market time/temperature control for safety food licensee may sell or serve wild-harvested mushrooms provided:

“a. All wild-harvested mushrooms sold or served are varieties classified as one of the following:

Common name
Scientific name
Morchella spp. (M. americana, M. angusticeps, M. punctipes)
Pleurotus citrinopileatus, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus populinus, or Pleurotus pulmonarious
Chicken of the woods
Laetiporus (L. cincinnatus, L. sulphureus)
Hen of the woods
Grifola frondosa
Cantharellus cibarius group
Bear's head tooth, Lion's mane
Hericium spp. (H. erinaceus, H. americanum)
Pheasant back
Polyporus squamosus
Black trumpet
Craterellus cornucopoides

“b. All wild-harvested mushrooms sold or served in a food establishment must be obtained from sources where each mushroom is individually inspected and found to be safe by a certified wild-harvested mushroom identification expert.

“c. All wild-harvested mushroom species sold or served in a food establishment must have a written buyer specification. The buyer shall retain the written buyer specification for 90 days from the date of sale or service. The written buyer specification must include all of the following information:

“1. Identification of each mushroom species by the scientific and common name;

“2. Date of purchase;

“3. Quantity by weight of each species received;

“4. A statement indicating that each mushroom was identified in its fresh state and was not mixed or in contact with other mushroom species;

“5. The name, address, and telephone number of the certified wild-harvested mushroom identification expert; and

“6. A copy of the certified wild-harvested mushroom identification expert's certificate of successful completion of the program, including the date of completion.

“d. A consumer advisory shall inform consumers by brochures, deli case, menu advisories, label statements, table tents, placards, or other effective written means that ‘wild-harvested mushrooms should be thoroughly cooked and may cause allergic reactions or other effects.'

“e. This section does not apply to cultivated mushrooms or mushrooms that have been packaged in an approved food processing plant.”

31.1(6) Field-dressed wild game prohibition. Subparagraph 3-201.17(A)(4) is amended to state that field-dressed wild game shall not be permitted in food establishments unless:

a. The food establishment is also licensed and inspected by the Iowa department of agriculture and land stewardship, meat and poultry inspection bureau, pursuant to Iowa Code section 189A.3;

b. All field-dressed wild game is adequately separated from food, equipment, utensils, clean linens, and single-service and single-use articles; and

c. Any equipment used in the processing of field-dressed wild game is adequately cleaned and sanitized before use with other foods.

31.1(7) Reduced oxygen packaging in meat and poultry processing plants. Meat and poultry processing plants that are licensed and inspected by the Iowa department of agriculture and land stewardship (IDALS) meat and poultry inspection bureau pursuant to Iowa Code section 189A.3 and that are also licensed as a food establishment are exempt from section 3-502.11, paragraphs (A), (B), (D) and (F), and section 3-502.12 if all of the following criteria are met:

a. Each food product formulation has been approved by the Iowa department of agriculture and land stewardship, meat and poultry inspection bureau;

b. A copy of the approved formulation (T40/45) is maintained on file at the establishment and made available to the regulatory authority upon request;

c. Cooked products that do not include a curing agent or an antimicrobial agent that will control Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes that are in a reduced oxygen package are stored and sold frozen and are labeled “Keep Frozen”; and

d. The food products are properly labeled.

31.1(8) Reduced oxygen packaging. Section 3-502.12 is amended to include the following:

“A HACCP PLAN is not required when a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT packages raw meat and poultry using a REDUCED OXYGEN PACKAGING method and includes on the package a 30-day “sell by” date from the date the raw meat or poultry was packaged.”

31.1(9) Warewashing sinks in establishments serving alcoholic beverages. Section 4-301.12 is amended by adding the following: “When alcoholic beverages are served in a food service establishment, a sink with not fewer than three compartments shall be used in the bar area for manual washing, rinsing and sanitizing of bar utensils and glasses. When food is served in a bar, a separate three-compartment sink for washing, rinsing and sanitizing food-related dishes shall be used in the kitchen area, unless a dishwasher is used to wash utensils.”

31.1(10) Allowance for two-compartment sinks in certain circumstances. Paragraph 4-301.12(C) is amended by adding the following: “Establishments need not have a three-compartment sink when each of the following conditions is met:

“1. Three or fewer utensils are used for food preparation;

“2. Utensils are limited to tongs, spatulas, and scoops; and

“3. The department has approved after verification that the establishment can adequately wash and sanitize these utensils.”

31.1(11) Service sink. For existing establishments, if waste water is being appropriately disposed of, section 5-203.13 for existing establishments shall go into effect upon the establishment's renovation or sale.

31.1(12) Backflow protection. Section 5-203.14 is amended by adding the following: “Water outlets with hose attachments, except for water heater drains and clothes washer connections, shall be protected by a non-removable hose bibb backflow preventer or by a listed atmospheric vacuum breaker installed at least six inches above the highest point of usage and located on the discharge side of the last valve.”

31.1(13) Backflow prevention. Paragraph 5-402.11(D) is amended by adding the following: “A culinary sink or sink used for food preparation shall not have a direct connection between the sewage system and a drain originating from that sink. Culinary sinks or sinks used in food preparation shall be separated by an air break.”

31.1(14) Prohibiting animals. Section 6-501.115, paragraph (B), is amended by adding the following:

“(6) Pet dogs may be allowed on exterior premises of a food establishment, including outdoor patio and outdoor dining areas, provided the food establishment meets all of the following requirements:

“a. A separate entrance is present so that pet dogs do not enter the food establishment to access the outdoor area;

“b. No food preparation is allowed in the outdoor area, including mixing or dispensing drinks and ice;

“c. Customer multi-service or reusable utensils such as plates, silverware, glasses, and bowls are not stored, displayed, or pre-set in the outdoor area;

“d. Food or water provided to pet dogs shall only be in single-use disposable containers provided by the food establishment or a container provided by the pet owner that is filled without any contact between the container and any dispensing item of the food establishment;

“e. Employees are prohibited from direct contact with pet dogs while on duty;

“f. The outdoor area is maintained clean;

“g. In cases where excrement or bodily fluids (urine, saliva, vomit, or the like) are deposited, an employee shall immediately ensure the area is cleaned and sanitized;

“h. The outdoor area shall not be fully enclosed (an enclosed area is considered part of the interior of the facility);

“i. Disruptive pet dogs must be controlled or removed from the premises;

“j. Rules governing pet dogs shall be posted at each entrance of the food establishment and shall, at a minimum, contain the following:

“i. Pet dogs shall be leashed at all times;

“ii. Pet dogs shall not enter any interior area of the food establishment at any time;

“iii. Pet dogs must be controlled at all times by the dog's owner or designee;

“iv. Pet dogs are not permitted on chairs, tables, benches or seats; and

“v. Pet dog owners must immediately notify the food establishment's staff in the event that excrement or bodily fluids (urine, saliva, vomit, or the like) are deposited.”

31.1(15) Inspection standards for elder group homes. Elder group homes as defined by Iowa Code section 231B.1 shall be inspected by the department, but chapters 4 and 6 of the Food Code shall not apply. Elder group homes shall pay the lowest license fee set forth in 481--subrule 30.4(2).

31.1(16) Nonprofit exception for temporary events. Nonprofit organizations that are licensed as temporary food establishments may serve non-time/temperature control for safety food from an unapproved source for the duration of the event. This does not include home-canned pickles, vegetables, or fruits produced in accordance with Iowa Code section 137F.20 as enacted by 2022 Iowa Acts, House File 2431, section 10.

31.1(17) Variance approval by department and submission of HACCP plans. Any variances or HACCP plans that require approval by the “regulatory authority” must be approved by the department. HACCP plans pursuant to paragraphs 3-502.12(B) and 8-201.13(B) shall be filed with the department prior to implementation, regardless of whether or not the plan requires approval.

31.1(18) Trichinae control for pork products prepared at retail. Pork products prepared at retail shall comply with the Code of Federal Regulations found in 9 CFR, Section 318.10, January 1, 2015, publication, regarding the destruction of possible live trichinae in pork and pork products. Examples of pork products that require trichinae control include raw sausages containing pork and other meat products, raw breaded pork products, bacon used to wrap around steaks and patties, and uncooked mixtures of pork and other meat products contained in meat loaves and similar types of products. The use of “certified pork” as authorized by the Iowa department of agriculture and land stewardship or the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, shall meet the requirements of this subrule.

This rule is intended to implement Iowa Code section 137F.2.

[ARC 1191C, IAB 11/27/13, effective 1/1/14; ARC 1928C, IAB 4/1/15, effective 5/6/15; ARC 2257C, IAB 11/25/15, effective 12/30/15; ARC 3188C, IAB 7/5/17, effective 8/9/17 (see footnote 2 at end of chapter); ARC 4140C, IAB 11/21/18, effective 1/1/19; ARC 4731C, IAB 10/23/19, effective 11/27/19; ARC 5119C, IAB 7/29/20, effective 9/2/20; ARC 5353C, IAB 12/30/20, effective 2/3/21; ARC 5843C, IAB 8/11/21, effective 9/15/21; ARC 5844C, IAB 8/11/21, effective 9/15/21; ARC 6568C, IAB 10/5/22, effective 11/9/22]

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