U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration 1999 Food Code

Chapter  4
Equipment, Utensils, and Linens



4-101.11  Characteristics.*

4-101.11  Characteristics.*

Materials that are used in the construction of utensils and food-contact surfaces of equipment may not allow the migration of deleterious substances or impart colors, odors, or tastes to food and under normal use conditions shall be:

 (A) Safe;

 (B) Durable, corrosion-resistant, and nonabsorbent;

 (C) Sufficient in weight and thickness to withstand repeated warewashing;

 (D) Finished to have a smooth, easily cleanable surface; and

 (E) Resistant to pitting, chipping, crazing, scratching, scoring, distortion, and decomposition.

4-101.111 Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment that are exposed to splash, spillage, or other food soiling or that require frequent cleaning shall be constructed of a corrosion-resistant, nonabsorbent, and smooth material.


Durability and Strength

4-201.11  Equipment and Utensils.

Equipment and utensils shall be designed and constructed to be durable and to retain their characteristic qualities under normal use conditions.


4-202.11  Food-Contact Surfaces.*

Multi-use food-contact surfaces shall be:

 (A) Smooth;

 (B) Free of breaks, open seams, cracks, chips, pits, and similar imperfections;

 (C) Free of sharp internal angles, corners, and crevices;

 (D) Finished to have smooth welds and joints; and

 (E) Accessible for cleaning and inspection by one of the following methods:

  (1) Without being disassembled,

  (2) By disassembling without the use of tools, or

  (3) By easy disassembling with the use of handheld tools commonly available to maintenance and cleaning personnel such as screwdrivers, pliers, open-end wrenches, and Allen wrenches.

4-202.16  Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Nonfood-contact surfaces shall be free of unnecessary ledges, projections, and crevices, and designed and constructed to allow easy cleaning and to facilitate maintenance.

Annex 3
Public Health Reasons / Administrative Guidelines

Chapter 4
Equipment, Utensils, and Linens


4-101.11  Characteristics.*

Multiuse equipment is subject to deterioration because of its nature, i.e., intended use over an extended period of time. Certain materials allow harmful chemicals to be transferred to the food being prepared which could lead to foodborne illness. In addition, some materials can affect the taste of the food being prepared. Surfaces that are unable to be routinely cleaned and sanitized because of the materials used could harbor foodborne pathogens. Deterioration of the surfaces of equipment such as pitting may inhibit adequate cleaning of the surfaces of equipment, so that food prepared on or in the equipment becomes contaminated.

Inability to effectively wash, rinse and sanitize the surfaces of food equipment may lead to the buildup of pathogenic organisms transmissible through food.

Studies regarding the rigor required to remove biofilms from smooth surfaces highlight the need for materials of optimal quality in multiuse equipment.

4-101.111  Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment routinely exposed to splash or food debris are required to be constructed of nonabsorbent materials to facilitate cleaning. Equipment that is easily cleaned minimizes the presence of pathogenic organisms, moisture, and debris and deters the attraction of rodents and insects.

Durability and Strength

4-201.11   Equipment and Utensils.

Equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed to be durable and capable of retaining their original characteristics so that such items can continue to fulfill their intended purpose for the duration of their life expectancy and to maintain their easy cleanability. If they can not maintain their original characteristics, they may become difficult to clean, allowing for the harborage of pathogenic microorganisms, insects, and rodents. Equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed so that parts do not break and end up in food as foreign objects or present injury hazards to consumers. A common example of presenting an injury hazard is the tendency for tines of poorly designed single service forks to break during use.


4-202.11   Food-Contact Surfaces.*

The purpose of the requirements for multiuse food-contact surfaces is to ensure that such surfaces are capable of being easily cleaned and accessible for cleaning. Food-contact surfaces that do not meet these requirements provide a potential harbor for foodborne pathogenic organisms. Surfaces which have imperfections such as cracks, chips, or pits allow microorganisms to attach and form biofilms. Once established, these biofilms can release pathogens to food. Biofilms are highly resistant to cleaning and sanitizing efforts. The requirement for easy disassembly recognizes the reluctance of food employees to disassemble and clean equipment if the task is difficult or requires the use of special, complicated tools.

4-202.16   Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Hard-to-clean areas could result in the attraction and harborage of insects and rodents and allow the growth of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms.

Well-designed equipment enhances the ability to keep nonfood-contact surfaces clean.


4-602.11   Equipment Food-Contact Surfaces and Utensils.*

Microorganisms may be transmitted from a food to other foods by utensils, cutting boards, thermometers, or other food-contact surfaces. Food-contact surfaces and equipment used for potentially hazardous foods should be cleaned as needed throughout the day but must be cleaned no less than every 4 hours to prevent the growth of microorganisms on those surfaces.

Surfaces of utensils and equipment contacting food that is not potentially hazardous such as iced tea dispensers, carbonated beverage dispenser nozzles, beverage dispensing circuits or lines, water vending equipment, coffee bean grinders, ice makers, and ice bins must be cleaned on a routine basis to prevent the development of slime, mold, or soil residues that may contribute to an accumulation of microorganisms. Some equipment manufacturers and industry associations, e.g., within the tea industry, develop guidelines for regular cleaning and sanitizing of equipment. If the manufacturer does not provide cleaning specifications for food-contact surfaces of equipment that are not readily visible, the person in charge should develop a cleaning regimen that is based on the soil that may accumulate in those particular items of equipment.

4-602.13   Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

The presence of food debris or dirt on nonfood contact surfaces may provide a suitable environment for the growth of microorganisms which employees may inadvertently transfer to food. If these areas are not kept clean, they may also provide harborage for insects, rodents, and other pests.

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