Promoting and protecting the health and safety of all Idahoans

Idaho Food Code

Full Idaho Food Code (PDF)


Why is There a Food Code?

Foodborne illness in the United States is a major cause of personal distress, preventable death, and avoidable economic burden. It has been estimated that foodborne diseases cause approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year. 

Epidemiological outbreak data repeatedly identify five major risk factors related to employee behaviors and preparation practices in retail and food service establishments as contributing to foodborne illness:

  • Improper holding temperatures,
  • Inadequate cooking of foods, such as undercooking eggs,
  • Contaminated equipment,
  • Food from unsafe sources, and
  • Poor personal hygiene.

The Food Code addresses controls for risk factors and further establishes five key public health interventions to protect consumer health. Specifically, these interventions are: demonstration of knowledge, employee health controls, controlling hands as a vehicle of contamination, time and temperature parameters for controlling pathogens, and the consumer advisory. The first two interventions are found in Chapter 2 and the last three in Chapter 3.

Who Is Responsible for Food Safety?

It is a shared responsibility of the food industry and the government to ensure that food provided to the consumer is safe and does not become a vehicle in a disease outbreak or in the transmission of communicable disease. This shared responsibility extends to ensuring that consumer expectations are met and that food is unadulterated, prepared in a clean environment, and honestly presented.

Accordingly, the provisions of the Food Code provide a system of prevention and overlapping safeguards designed to minimize foodborne illness, as well as ensure employee health, industry manager knowledge, safe food, nontoxic and cleanable equipment, and acceptable levels of sanitation on food establishment premises; and promote fair dealings with the consumer.

What are Uniform Standards?

The Food Code provides well-written, scientifically sound, and up-to-date standards that are recognized as an advantage by industry and governmental officials. Industry conformance with acceptable procedures is much more likely where regulatory officials “speak with one voice” about what is required to protect the public health, why it is important, and which alternatives for compliance may be accepted. It is useful to business in that it provides accepted standards that can be applied in training and quality assurance programs.