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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

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The information on this page is current as of Jan 17, 2023.

For the most up-to-date version of CFR Title 21, go to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR).

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Help | More About 21CFR
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 2]
[CITE: 21CFR110]


Subpart A - General Provisions

Sec. 110.3 Definitions.

The definitions and interpretations of terms in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) are applicable to such terms when used in this part. The following definitions shall also apply:

(a) Acid foods or acidified foods means foods that have an equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below.

(b) Adequate means that which is needed to accomplish the intended purpose in keeping with good public health practice.

(c) Batter means a semifluid substance, usually composed of flour and other ingredients, into which principal components of food are dipped or with which they are coated, or which may be used directly to form bakery foods.

(d) Blanching, except for tree nuts and peanuts, means a prepackaging heat treatment of foodstuffs for a sufficient time and at a sufficient temperature to partially or completely inactivate the naturally occurring enzymes and to effect other physical or biochemical changes in the food.

(e) Critical control point means a point in a food process where there is a high probability that improper control may cause, allow, or contribute to a hazard or to filth in the final food or decomposition of the final food.

(f) Food means food as defined in section 201(f) of the act and includes raw materials and ingredients.

(g) Food-contact surfaces are those surfaces that contact human food and those surfaces from which drainage onto the food or onto surfaces that contact the food ordinarily occurs during the normal course of operations. "Food-contact surfaces" includes utensils and food-contact surfaces of equipment.

(h) Lot means the food produced during a period of time indicated by a specific code.

(i) Microorganisms means yeasts, molds, bacteria, and viruses and includes, but is not limited to, species having public health significance. The term "undesirable microorganisms" includes those microorganisms that are of public health significance, that subject food to decomposition, that indicate that food is contaminated with filth, or that otherwise may cause food to be adulterated within the meaning of the act. Occasionally in these regulations, FDA used the adjective "microbial" instead of using an adjectival phrase containing the word microorganism.

(j) Pest refers to any objectionable animals or insects including, but not limited to, birds, rodents, flies, and larvae.

(k) Plant means the building or facility or parts thereof, used for or in connection with the manufacturing, packaging, labeling, or holding of human food.

(l) Quality control operation means a planned and systematic procedure for taking all actions necessary to prevent food from being adulterated within the meaning of the act.

(m) Rework means clean, unadulterated food that has been removed from processing for reasons other than insanitary conditions or that has been successfully reconditioned by reprocessing and that is suitable for use as food.

(n) Safe-moisture level is a level of moisture low enough to prevent the growth of undesirable microorganisms in the finished product under the intended conditions of manufacturing, storage, and distribution. The maximum safe moisture level for a food is based on its water activity (aw). An aw will be considered safe for a food if adequate data are available that demonstrate that the food at or below the given aw will not support the growth of undesirable microorganisms.

(o) Sanitize means to adequately treat food-contact surfaces by a process that is effective in destroying vegetative cells of microorganisms of public health significance, and in substantially reducing numbers of other undesirable microorganisms, but without adversely affecting the product or its safety for the consumer.

(p) Shall is used to state mandatory requirements.

(q) Should is used to state recommended or advisory procedures or identify recommended equipment.

(r) Water activity (aw) is a measure of the free moisture in a food and is the quotient of the water vapor pressure of the substance divided by the vapor pressure of pure water at the same temperature.

Sec. 110.5 Current good manufacturing practice.

(a) The criteria and definitions in this part shall apply in determining whether a food is adulterated (1) within the meaning of section 402(a)(3) of the act in that the food has been manufactured under such conditions that it is unfit for food; or (2) within the meaning of section 402(a)(4) of the act in that the food has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health. The criteria and definitions in this part also apply in determining whether a food is in violation of section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264).

(b) Food covered by specific current good manufacturing practice regulations also is subject to the requirements of those regulations.

Sec. 110.10 Personnel.

The plant management shall take all reasonable measures and precautions to ensure the following:

(a) Disease control. Any person who, by medical examination or supervisory observation, is shown to have, or appears to have, an illness, open lesion, including boils, sores, or infected wounds, or any other abnormal source of microbial contamination by which there is a reasonable possibility of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials becoming contaminated, shall be excluded from any operations which may be expected to result in such contamination until the condition is corrected. Personnel shall be instructed to report such health conditions to their supervisors.

(b) Cleanliness. All persons working in direct contact with food, food-contact surfaces, and food-packaging materials shall conform to hygienic practices while on duty to the extent necessary to protect against contamination of food. The methods for maintaining cleanliness include, but are not limited to:

(1) Wearing outer garments suitable to the operation in a manner that protects against the contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials.

(2) Maintaining adequate personal cleanliness.

(3) Washing hands thoroughly (and sanitizing if necessary to protect against contamination with undesirable microorganisms) in an adequate hand-washing facility before starting work, after each absence from the work station, and at any other time when the hands may have become soiled or contaminated.

(4) Removing all unsecured jewelry and other objects that might fall into food, equipment, or containers, and removing hand jewelry that cannot be adequately sanitized during periods in which food is manipulated by hand. If such hand jewelry cannot be removed, it may be covered by material which can be maintained in an intact, clean, and sanitary condition and which effectively protects against the contamination by these objects of the food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials.

(5) Maintaining gloves, if they are used in food handling, in an intact, clean, and sanitary condition. The gloves should be of an impermeable material.

(6) Wearing, where appropriate, in an effective manner, hair nets, headbands, caps, beard covers, or other effective hair restraints.

(7) Storing clothing or other personal belongings in areas other than where food is exposed or where equipment or utensils are washed.

(8) Confining the following to areas other than where food may be exposed or where equipment or utensils are washed: eating food, chewing gum, drinking beverages, or using tobacco.

(9) Taking any other necessary precautions to protect against contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials with microorganisms or foreign substances including, but not limited to, perspiration, hair, cosmetics, tobacco, chemicals, and medicines applied to the skin.

(c) Education and training. Personnel responsible for identifying sanitation failures or food contamination should have a background of education or experience, or a combination thereof, to provide a level of competency necessary for production of clean and safe food. Food handlers and supervisors should receive appropriate training in proper food handling techniques and food-protection principles and should be informed of the danger of poor personal hygiene and insanitary practices.

(d) Supervision. Responsibility for assuring compliance by all personnel with all requirements of this part shall be clearly assigned to competent supervisory personnel.

[51 FR 22475, June 19, 1986, as amended at 54 FR 24892, June 12, 1989]

Sec. 110.19 Exclusions.

(a) The following operations are not subject to this part: Establishments engaged solely in the harvesting, storage, or distribution of one or more "raw agricultural commodities," as defined in section 201(r) of the act, which are ordinarily cleaned, prepared, treated, or otherwise processed before being marketed to the consuming public.

(b) FDA, however, will issue special regulations if it is necessary to cover these excluded operations.

Authority: 21 U.S.C. 342, 371, 374; 42 U.S.C. 264.
Source: 51 FR 22475, June 19, 1986, unless otherwise noted.