Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 421. Food Regulations

12VAC5-421-450. Preventing contamination from hands.

A. Food employees shall wash their hands as specified under 12VAC5-421-140.

B. Except when washing fruits and vegetables as specified under 12VAC5-421-510 or as specified in subsections D and E of this section, food employees shall not contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment.P

C. Food employees shall minimize bare hand and arm contact with exposed food that is not in a ready-to-eat form.Pf

D. Subsection B of this section does not apply to a food employee who contacts exposed, ready-to-eat food with bare hands at the time the ready-to-eat food is being added as an ingredient to food that:

1. Contains a raw animal food and is to be cooked in the food establishment to heat all parts of the food to the minimum temperatures specified in subsection A or B of 12VAC5-421-700 or in 12VAC5-421-710; or

2. Does not contain a raw animal food but is to be cooked in the food establishment to heat all parts of the food to a temperature of at least 145°F (63°C).

E. Food employees not serving a highly susceptible population may contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands if:

1. The permit holder obtains prior approval from the department;

2. Written procedures are maintained in the food establishment and made available to the department upon request that include:

a. For each bare hand contact procedure, a listing of the specific ready-to-eat foods that are touched by bare hands;

b. Diagrams and other information showing that handwashing facilities, installed, located, equipped, and maintained as specified under 12VAC5-421-2230, 12VAC5-421-2280, 12VAC5-421-2310, 12VAC5-421-3020, 12VAC5-421-3030, and 12VAC5-421-3045 are in an easily accessible location and in close proximity to the work station where the bare hand contact procedure is conducted;

3. A written employee health policy that details how the food establishment complies with 12VAC5-421-80, 12VAC5-421-90, and 12VAC5-421-100 including:

a. Documentation that the food employees and conditional employees acknowledge that they are informed to report information about their health and activities as they relate to gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases that are transmittable through food as specified under 12VAC5-421-80 A;

b. Documentation that food employees and conditional employees acknowledge their responsibilities as specified under 12VAC5-421-80 E and F; and

c. Documentation that the person in charge acknowledges the responsibilities as specified under 12VAC5-421-80 B, C, and D, and 12VAC5-421-90 and 12VAC5-421-100;

4. Documentation that the food employees acknowledge that they have received training in:

a. The risks of contacting the specific ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands;

b. Proper handwashing as specified under 12VAC5-421-140;

c. When to wash their hands as specified under 12VAC5-421-160;

d. Where to wash their hands as specified under 12VAC5-421-170;

e. Proper fingernail maintenance as specified under 12VAC5-421-190;

f. Prohibition of jewelry as specified under 12VAC5-421-200; and

g. Good hygienic practices as specified under 12VAC5-421-220 and 12VAC5-421-230;

5. Documentation that hands are washed before food preparation and as necessary to prevent cross-contamination by food employees as specified under 12VAC5-421-130 through 12VAC5-421-170 during all hours of operation when the specific ready-to-eat foods are prepared;

6. Documentation that food employees contacting ready-to-eat food with bare hands use two or more of the following control measures to provide additional safeguards to hazards associated with bare hand contact:

a. Double handwashing;

b. Nail brushes;

c. A hand antiseptic after handwashing as specified under 12VAC5-421-180;

d. Incentive programs such as paid sick leave that assist or encourage food employees not to work when they are ill; or

e. Other control measures approved by the department; and

7. Documentation that corrective action is taken when subdivisions 1 through 6 of this subsection are not followed.

Statutory Authority

§§ 35.1-11 and 35.1-14 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 10, eff. March 1, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 2, eff. October 16, 2007; Volume 26, Issue 7, eff. January 1, 2010; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. July 12, 2016; Volume 37, Issue 18, eff. June 10, 2021.

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