Food Code Adoption Toolkit

Adopting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Code can be a long and challenging process that can vary widely between jurisdictions due to differing administrative procedures and rulemaking processes. This toolkit outlines a path to Food Code adoption.

In it you will find:

  • Overarching steps or phases and recommended actions to take during the adoption process
  • Relevant resources including:
    • Templates and examples
    • Signed letters of support
    • Vetted resources to support partnership with industry and training regulatory staff
  • Advice, best practices, and lessons learned
  • Tools and information for talking to decision-makers such as legislators and board members
Click here to learn more about the FDA Food Code, the benefits of adoption, and the development of this toolkit.

Map your Food Code Adoption Journey

Use this map to guide your adoption process and discover tools, resources, and support for your Food Code adoption journey.

Click the map dots to learn more.

Click the map dots to learn more.
Know before you go Explain the "why" Collaborate Address concerns Seek support Propose the changes Stay engaged, attend public meetings or hearings Provide support to impacted groups after adoption

Know before you go

Start with the basics. You will need to know:

  • what Food Code you’re currently on,
  • what Food Code you are aiming to adopt,
  • the administrative procedures for making and amending rules, and
  • what the rulemaking processes are.

Learn more about how to set yourself up for success and find relevant tools and resources here:

Explain the "why"

Decision-makers will want to understand why you want to update your Food Code. You may need to write a justification.

These resources can help support your position on Food Code adoption:

Collaborate

Build and leverage strong relationships with both internal and external partners, including:

  • Industry members
  • Local public health officials
  • Legislators and decision-makers
  • Boards of Health
  • Community members

Your success in Food Code adoption will depend on the overall support for change you create.

Find resources to help you build support:

Address concerns

Food Code adoption has big implications for all members of your community, especially the retail food industry and regulatory staff. Prepare to address questions, concerns, and resistance to specific Food Code provisions. You may wish to draft an economic impact statement or share some of the scientific basis for Food Code provisions.

Learn how to address some common issues faced by jurisdictions who have gone through the adoption process:

Seek support

Food Code adoption can take a lot of time, resources, and money. Show decision-makers how much support there is for adoption from regulatory programs, industry organizations and members, associations, academia, and agencies to help you build the case for Food Code adoption.

Find signed letters of support and more information here:

Propose the changes

Neatly package materials for your decision-makers. Provide everything you can think of that a decision maker might want to know or helps bolster your case, including:

  • Background information,
  • Detailed changes,
  • Any supporting documents you created or gathered in the previous steps,
  • The reasoning and science behind the regulations.

Provide this information packet to:

  • Your Board of Health,
  • State legislature, or
  • City, local, state, territorial, or tribal council(s).

Learn more about preparing your proposal:

Stay engaged, attend public meetings or hearings

Depending on your jurisdiction’s administrative procedures, there will likely be one or more public meetings. Attend these meetings and continue to make your case for Food Code adoption using your supporting materials and subject matter expertise.

We don’t have any resources on this topic yet. To submit a resource and help others, please contact us.

Provide support to impacted groups after adoption

Once you adopt the FDA Food Code, you will need to train your staff, educate the local industry, and inform the public about the changes to retail food regulation in your jurisdiction. You will need:

  • An enforcement and compliance plan and timeline
  • A training plan for your staff
  • A plan to share the update with the general public

Find resources to help you implement your new Food Code:

1. Know before you go:

Start with the basics. You will need to know:

  • what Food Code you’re on,
  • what Food Code you are aiming to adopt,
  • the administrative procedures for making and amending rules, and
  • what the rulemaking processes are.

Learn more about how to set yourself up for success and find relevant tools and resources here:

 

2. Explain the “why”.

Decision-makers will want to understand why you want to update your Food Code. You may need to write a justification.

These resources can help support your position on Food Code adoption:

 

3. Collaborate

Build and leverage strong relationships with both internal and external partners, including:

  • Industry members
  • Local officials
  • Boards of Health
  • Community members

Your success in Food Code adoption will depend on the overall support for change you create.

Find resources to help you build support:

 

4. Address concerns

Food Code adoption has big implications for all members of your community, especially the retail food industry and regulatory staff. Prepare to address questions, concerns, and resistance to specific Food Code provisions. You may wish to draft an economic impact statement or share some of the scientific basis for Food Code provisions.

Learn how to address some common issues faced by jurisdictions that have gone through the adoption process:

 

5. Seek support:

Food Code adoption can take a lot of time, resources, and money. Show decision-makers how much support there is for adoption from regulatory programs, industry organizations and members, associations, academia, and agencies to help you build the case for Food Code adoption.

Find signed letters of support and more information here:

 

6. Propose the changes

Neatly package materials for your decision-makers. Provide everything you can think of that a decision maker might want to know or helps bolster your case, including:

  • Background information,
  • Detailed changes,
  • Any supporting documents you created or gathered in the previous steps,
  • The reasoning and science behind the regulations.

Provide this information packet to:

  • Your Board of Health,
  • State legislature, or
  • City, local, state, territorial, or tribal council(s).

Find tools to help you identify key points for legislators:

 

7. Stay engaged. Attend public meetings or hearings.

Depending on your jurisdiction’s administrative procedures, there will likely be one or more public meetings. Attend these meetings and continue to make your case for Food Code adoption, using your supporting materials and subject matter expertise.

We don’t have any resources on this topic yet. To submit a resource and help others, please contact us.

 

8. Provide support to impacted groups after adoption.

Once you adopt the FDA Food Code, you will need to train your staff, educate the local industry, and inform the public about the changes to retail food regulation in your jurisdiction. You will need:

  • An enforcement and compliance plan and timeline
  • A training plan for your staff
  • A plan to share the update with the general public

Find resources to help you implement your new Food Code:

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Last updated: September 1, 2023