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

12VAC5-421-700. Raw animal foods.

A. Except as specified in subsections B, C, and D of this section, raw animal foods such as eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and foods containing these raw animal foods shall be cooked to heat all parts of the food to a temperature and for a time that complies with one of the following methods based on the food that is being cooked:

1. 145°F (63°C) or above for 15 seconds for:P

a. Raw eggs that are broken and prepared in response to a consumer's order and for immediate service;P and

b. Except as specified under subdivisions A 2 and 3 and subsections B and C of this section, fish and intact meat, including game animals commercially raised for food and game animals under a voluntary inspection program as specified under 12VAC5-421-330 A 1;P

2. 155°F (68°C) for 17 seconds or the temperature specified in the following chart that corresponds to the holding time for ratites , mechanically tenderized meats, and injected meats; the following if they are comminuted: fish, meat, game animals commercially raised for food and game animals under a voluntary inspection program as specified under 12VAC5-421-330 A 1; and raw eggs that are not prepared as specified under subdivision 1 a of this subsection:P


°F (°C)


145 (63)

3 minutes

150 (66)

1 minute

158 (70)

<1 second (instantaneous)

; or

3. 165°F (74°C) or above for less than one second (instantaneous) for poultry, baluts, wild game animals as specified under 12VAC5-421-330 A 2, stuffed fish, stuffed meat, stuffed pasta, stuffed poultry, stuffed ratites, or stuffing containing fish, meat, poultry, or ratites.P

B. Whole meat roasts including beef, corned beef, lamb, pork, and cured pork roasts such as ham shall be cooked:

1. As specified in the following chart, to heat all parts of the food to a temperature and for the holding time that corresponds to that temperature:P

°F (°C)

Time1 in Minutes

°F (°C)

Time1 in Seconds

130 (54.4)


147 (63.9)


131 (55.0)


149 (65.0)


133 (56.1)


151 (66.1)


135 (57.2)


153 (67.2)


136 (57.8)


155 (68.3)


138 (58.9)


157 (69.4)


140 (60.0)


158 (70.0)


142 (61.1)


144 (62.2)


145 (62.8)


1Holding time may include postoven heat rise.

; and

2. If cooked in an oven, use an oven that is preheated to the temperature specified for the roast's weight in the following chart and that is held at that temperature.Pf


Oven Type

Oven Temperature Based on Roast Weight

Less than 10 lbs (4.5 kg)

10 lbs (4.5 kg) or more

Still Dry

350°F (177°C) or more

250°F (121°C) or more


325°F (163°C) or more

250°F (121°C) or more

High Humidity1

250°F (121°C) or less

250°F (121°C) or less

1Relative humidity greater than 90% for at least one hour as measured in the cooking chamber or exit of the oven; or in a moisture-impermeable bag that provides 100% humidity.

C. A raw or undercooked whole-muscle, intact beef steak may be served or offered for sale in a ready-to-eat form if:

1. The food establishment serves a population that is not a highly susceptible population;

2. The steak is labeled, as specified under 12VAC5-421-270 E, to indicate that it meets the definition of "whole-muscle, intact beef"; and

3. The steak is cooked on both the top and bottom to a surface temperature of 145°F (63°C) or above and a cooked color change is achieved on all external surfaces.

D. A raw animal food such as raw egg, raw fish, raw-marinated fish, raw molluscan shellfish, or steak tartare, or a partially cooked food such as lightly cooked fish, soft cooked eggs, or rare meat other than whole-muscle, intact beef steaks as specified in subsection C of this section, may be served or offered for sale upon request or consumer selection in a ready-to-eat form if:

1. As specified under subdivisions 3 a and b of 12VAC5-421-950 the food establishment serves a population that is not a highly susceptible population;

2. The food, if served or offered for service by consumer selection from a children's menu, does not contain comminuted meat;Pf and

3. The consumer is informed as specified under 12VAC5-421-930 that to ensure its safety, the food should be cooked as specified under subsection A or B of this section; or

4. The department grants a variance from subsection A or B of this section as specified in 12VAC5-421-3570 based on a HACCP plan that:

a. Is submitted by the permit holder and approved as specified under 12VAC5-421-3570;

b. Documents scientific data or other information that shows that a lesser time and temperature regimen results in a safe food; and

c. Verifies that equipment and procedures for food preparation and training of food employees at the food establishment meet the conditions of the variance.

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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