Georgia Department of Agriculture

Notice of Intent to Consider the Adoption of Amendments to the General Rules in Chapter 40-7-1

To All Interested Persons and Parties:

Pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, O.C.G.A. § 26-2-34, notice is hereby given that the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be accepting written comments regarding the adoption of amendments to Chapter 40-7-1 relating to the General Rules of the Food Safety Division.  The Department will be accepting written comments from July 6, 2012, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on August 6, 2012. 

Synopsis, Main Features and Differences:

Proposed Changes to Rule 40-7-1-.02 “Definitions”

The department is proposing to add a definition for ‘cut leafy greens,’ which would mean “fresh leafy greens whose leaves have been cut, shredded, sliced, chopped, or torn.”  The proposed rule would go on to list different types of leafy greens that would be included in the definition.  The rule will then be renumbered to reflect this insertion. 

The department is further proposing to add a definition for “expiration date.”  This definition would encompass the pull date, best-by date, best-before date, use-by date, and sell-by date.  The new definition would prevent prepackaged sandwiches, eggs, infant formula, shucked oysters, milk and potentially hazardous food (time/temperature control for safety food) that is labeled as ‘keep refrigerated’ from being sold at retail or wholesale past the expiration date.   

The definitions of “potentially hazardous food” and “law” have been amended to coincide with the definitions of the 2009 Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Model Food Code, a manual and reference document used by states, cities, counties and tribal agencies that regulate food safety.  In addition, the new terminology “potentially hazardous food (time/temperature control for safety food)” replaces “potentially hazardous food” throughout the entire Chapter.   

Potentially hazardous food would now mean a food that requires time/temperature control for safety to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation.  Potentially hazardous food includes an animal that is raw or heat treated, a plant that is heat treated or consists of raw seed sprouts, cut melons, cut leafy greens, cut tomatoes or mixtures of cut tomatoes, garlic-in-oil mixtures, and other qualifying foods based on water activity and pH (of which values are listed in Table A and Table B included within the definition). 

The definition would not include: an air-cooled hard-boiled egg with an intact shell; or an egg with a shell intact that is not hard boiled; food in an unopened hermetically sealed container that has been processed to achieve and maintain commercial sterility; food that is designated as non-PHF/non-TCS food in Table A or B; food that is designated as Product Assessment Required in Table A or B and has shown that growth or toxin formation of pathogenic microorganisms that are reasonably likely to occur in that food is precluded due to intrinsic factors, extrinsic factors or a combination thereof; and a food that does not support the growth or toxin formation of pathogenic microorganisms even though the food may contain a pathogenic microorganism or chemical or physical contaminant at a level sufficient to cause an illness or injury.   

The proposed changes would alter the definition of “law” to include all applicable local, state, and federal statutes, regulations and ordinances instead of just the Georgia Food Act as it is currently written. 

The department is proposing amending the definition of “food sales establishment.”   The amended definition would no longer include bottlers of sugar cane syrup and sorghum syrup who only sell within the state of Georgia, and would now include cottage food operations permitted according to the proposed Cottage Food Regulations in Chapter 40-7-19.  

Proposed Changes to Rule 40-7-1-.09 “Transportation of Food,” Rule 40-7-1-.10 “Specifications for Receiving and Rule 40-7-1-.20 “Temperature and Time Control”

It is proposed to amend the cold holding temperature requirement of “40 degrees Fahrenheit or below” to “41 degrees Fahrenheit or below” in order to become consistent with the cold holding temperature in the 2009 FDA Model Food Code.

Proposed Changes to Rule 40-7-1.21 “Specialized Processing Methods”

The department is proposing amending the cold holding temperature to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below to match the 2009 FDA Model Food Code. 

Proposed Changes to Rule 40-7-1-.26 “Labeling”

It is proposed to amend regulations in departmental rule 40-7-1-.26 to incorporate language from the 2009 FDA Model Food Code.  The proposed rule would require the following information on the label: the common name of the food or an adequately descriptive identity statement; a list of ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight; an accurate delegation of quantity of contents; name/place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor; name of the food source for each major food allergen; nutrition labeling except as exempted in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act § 403(Q)(3)-(5); and the presence of the color additive canthazanthin to any salmonid fish.  Additionally, the rule would be reorganized and restructured for better formatting and flow.

As part of the proposed change, the new rule would specifically list certain food products that are not to be sold or offered for sale at retail or wholesale after the expiration date listed on the label.  These food products include: infant formula, prepackaged sandwiches, eggs, potentially hazardous food (time/temperature control for safety food), and food that is labeled as “keep refrigerated.”

The update will also specify what products have to be removed from sale after their stated expiration dates.  These include infant formula, pre-packaged sandwiches, eggs, and potentially hazardous foods labeled as “keep refrigerated.” 

Proposed Changes to Rule 40-7-1-.75 “License to Operate”

The department is proposing to change “permit” to “license” throughout Rule 40-7-1-.75.  Further, the department is proposing to add and delete firm type codes associated with the rules relating to the Manufactured Food Establishment License, which will now appear in Chapter 40-7-18. 

For Tier 1, drug stores meeting the definition of food sales establishment will now be added as firm code 503.  The firm code for bulk honey producers, however, will be deleted and moved to Rule 40-7-18.  As for Tier 2, the Department is proposing to add retail beverage dispensaries and transfer syrup processing, honey processing, flour/cornmeal processing, frozen fruit/vegetable processing, coffee/tea processing and ice manufacturing to Chapter 40-7-18. 

For Tier 3, retail/wholesale seafood, non-alcoholic bottling plants, bottling water plant, retail/wholesale bakery, rice/noodle manufacturing/processing, tortilla manufacturing/processing, candy processing, sugar processing, syrup processing, seafood/fishery processing, frozen fruit/vegetable processing, acid foods processing, jam/jelly/preserves/spreads processing, condiments processing, coffee/tea processing, alcoholic beverages processing, egg producer/processing, ice manufacturing, and sandwich manufacturing/processing will be moved to Chapter 40-7-.18.  

As for Tier 4, retail/wholesale seafood with deli, non-alcohol bottling plants, bottled water plants, retail/wholesale bakery, wholesale/retail bakery with deli, candy processing, seafood, fishery processing, fresh fruit/vegetable processing, canned fruit/vegetable food processing, acidified/acid foods processing, pecan processing, peanut processing, peanut butter processing, vegetable oil/shortening/oleo margarine processing, juice processors, baby food processors, multi product/miscellaneous food processing, alcoholic beverage processing, sandwich manufacturing/processing, and snack food processing will be moved to the Manufactured Food Establishment License in Chapter 40-7-18. 

All Tier 5 license categories (fresh fruit/vegetable processing, fresh sprouts processing, canned fruit/vegetable processing, acidified/acid foods processing, low acid foods processing, peanut butter processing, juice processors, and multi product/miscellaneous food processing) will now appear in Chapter 40-7-18, Manufactured Food Establishment License.

Comment Period and Additional Information:

The Department will be accepting written comments from July 6, 2012, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on August 6, 2012.  Comments will be considered on August 7, 2012.  Please submit written comments to:

Oscar S. Garrison,

Division Director,

 Food Safety Division

Georgia Department of Agriculture

19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive

Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Telephone Number: 404-656-3627

FAX Number: 404-463-6428

Interested persons may call or submit a written request to obtain a copy of the proposed rule.  A copy of the synopsis and the proposed rule may be downloaded from the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at

This notice is given in compliance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-13-4.

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