Colorado Restaurant Broker: New CO Food Code – What You Need To Know

By Shawn Sanborn, Colorado Restaurant Broker and Restaurant Owner
Colorado Food Code, Colorado Real Estate Broker, Colorado Restaurant Broker

In March of 2013 the new Colorado food code went into effect.  As responsible operators, we all understand the importance of proper food handling and the need for uniform rules and fair enforcement.  If you own or operate a restaurant, below I have outlined some basic things you need to know about the operational changes required by the revised food code.

What is the new code?  Throughout the last several years, the State Board of Health has adopted six CCR 1010-2 Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. And In November of 2012, they were amended substantially.

So what has changed?  That’s a good and difficult question, considering the new code is nearly 200 pages long!  Some local health departments have prepared outlines of the changes, which are available to operators. A summary of changes can be found at most local health departments’ webpages or from your business inspector. The summary is thirteen pages long but it is very basic.. It is worthwhile to download the full new Colorado food code so  you can search by keyword on any element that you have questions about. It is available at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s web site.

The most significant changes include:

  • Sixty-four added or amended definitions such as Non-Continuous Cooking, Reduced Oxygen Packaging, Slacking, Self-Contained Mobile Retail Food Establishment, and Single Use Articles, just to name a few.
  • Physical plant or premises requirements
  • Defining and regulating new cooking techniques

What do I need to do?

First and foremost, download the code and summary, review the changes and make sure your business complies.  A brief course covering most of the changes is available for $2.50 on the Colorado Food Safety website.

Make sure you are in compliance with the “consumer advisory” section, which will go into effect July 1, 2013. The “consumer advisory” section 3-8 requires adding a written notice that is clearly visible to guests noting that consumption of raw or undercooked animal products is potentially hazardous.

If you use certain advanced or new cooking techniques, you should have written procedures in place which may require approval by the Department.  Even some basic techniques, such as par cooking bacon, fall into the classification of non-continuous cooking which requires written procedures approved by the Department.

How to Use this information

If you own or operate a restaurant, you know that staying on the right side of the Health Department is critical—both to safeguard your customers and to avoid costly penalties.  Many restaurant owners are not fully aware of the changes required by the new food rules.  Get informed and take the required steps toward compliance today.  Sanborn and Company is a Colorado leader in assisting and representing people buying restaurants, bars, liquor stores and hotels.  Our Full Service Success System™ goes beyond completing a successful transaction by helping clients master operational best practices.  We are experienced restaurateurs who have learned the business from the bottom up.  Let us know how we can help! Call us today at 303-220-7919.