Administrative Code

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

12VAC5-421-600. Refilling returnables.

A. Except as specified in subsections B through E of this section, empty containers returned to a food establishment for cleaning and refilling with food shall be cleaned and refilled in a regulated food processing plant.P

B. A take-home food container returned to a food establishment may be refilled at a food establishment with food if the food container is:

1. Designed and constructed for reuse and in accordance with the requirements specified in 12VAC5-421-960 through 12VAC5-421-1435;P

2. One that was initially provided by the food establishment to the consumer, either empty or filled with food by the establishment, for the purpose of being returned for reuse;

3. Returned to the food establishment by the consumer after use;

4. Subject to the following steps before being refilled with food:

a. Cleaned as specified in 12VAC5-421-1770 through 12VAC5-421-1860;

b. Sanitized as specified in 12VAC5-421-1885, 12VAC5-421-1890, and 12VAC5-421-1900;P and

c. Visually inspected by a food employee to verify that the container, as returned, meets the requirements specified in 12VAC5-421-960 through 12VAC5-421-1435.P

C. A take-home food container returned to a food establishment may be refilled at a food establishment with beverage if:

1. The beverage is not a time/temperature control for safety food;

2. The design of the container, the rinsing equipment, and the nature of the beverage, when considered together, allow effective cleaning at home or in the food establishment;

3. Facilities before rinsing or refilling returned containers with fresh, hot water that is under pressure and not recirculated are provided as part of the dispensing system;

4. The consumer-owned container returned to the food establishment for refilling is refilled for sale or service only to the same consumer; and

5. The container is refilled by:

a. An employee of the food establishment; or

b. The owner of the container if the beverage system includes a contamination-free transfer process as specified in subdivisions 1, 2, and 4 of 12VAC5-421-1230.

D. Consumer-owned, personal take-out beverage containers, such as thermally insulated bottles, nonspill coffee cups, and promotional beverage glasses, may be refilled by employees or the consumer if refilling is a contamination-free process as specified under subdivisions 1, 2, and 4 of 12VAC5-421-1230.

E. Consumer-owned containers that are not food-specific may be filled at a water vending machine or system.

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 32, Issue 22, eff. July 12, 2016.

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