Food safetyTakeout containers with BobiBands Tamper-Evident Seals – Meets AB-3336

New California Food Safety Code Bust or Boom? California’s new food safety code AB-3336 aka Fair Food Delivery Act of 2020 took effect on January 1, 2021. The new code among other things requires restaurants to use tamper-evident delivery methods. Food delivered by a third-party must be closed by the food facility (restaurant) in a tamper-evident method prior to handing off to the deliverer. The new code amends the existing California Health and Safety code. It defines what is considered a third-party food delivery platform and provides guidance on how these parties should transport the food.

Food Safety is the focus of the amendment; the added benefit is better consumer confidence and in time should produce a higher order and reorder rate. In these tough economic times adding yet another expense to an already taxed restaurant industry may feel like a burden. Its may leave Restaurant owners ask, “what more’?  However, framing the question differently could sound more like this: “What can I (Restaurant owner) do to insure than my customers have confidence that I am taking every possible precaution to protect them so I can continue to operate.” The last thing we want to see is an outbreak linked to anything related to our restaurant industry. Putting together a comprehensive plan that details the takeout and delivery portion of the business is a critical step in a long-term successful outcome.

This brings us back to AB-3336, the need to protect the food when it leaves the restaurant seems obvious considering our current Covid-19 situation. And while many restaurants have taken some steps to minimize their exposure most still have not made the changes necessary to add this simple last step.  With so much at stake it is clear why the California legislation saw the need to make it part of the code and to help clarify and bring consistency. Some would say they could be more specific on what the definition of a tamper-evident seal is, but it is a start.

The ideal definition would be to use the FDA’s Tile 21 for evidence of tampering. Under the current AB-3336 definition tamper-evident is more loosely defined, which gives the restaurants leeway to the point that a sticker without much adherence can be used, which only gives a pretense of security.

We should expect that more states will adopt similar food safety health codes. Area’s that were hardest hit by Covid-19 and larger cities like New York will most likely be next. We know that food delivery will not go away but now has become a way of life for most people.

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