New Jersey Food Code

The New Jersey law that regulates all retail food establishments is now Chapter 24, replacing Chapter 12.

View the code online or download a copy (PDF) of the New Jersey Retail Food Code.

Please review entire document. As a food service establishment it is your responsibility to know the law.

Changes to the Law
Here are some major changes that you should know:
  • Bare hand contact is now to be kept at a minimum. Gloves will now be required for preparing all ready-to- eat foods, i.e. salads, sandwiches, etc.
  • Cooking temperatures have changed. Please see the code for these temperatures (Section 3.4).
  • Frequency of cleaning equipment needs to be reviewed with your staff.
  • Hairnets and/or hats will now be required.
  • Health inspections will now focus on risk factors:
    • Bare hand contact
    • Cross contamination
    • Improper cooling
    • Poor hand washing
    • Poorly washed produce
    • Under cooked eggs and meat
  • If you are a Risk 3 establishment (i.e. diner, full service restaurant) then there is a 3-year grace period before someone on staff must be certified in food safety by taking an exam with an approved program. That person shall be responsible for the staff, food preparation, etc. There are currently 3 different certified food professional (CFP) accredited exams:
  • If you do any Risk 4 methods in your establishment (smoking, canning, acidification (sushi)), then you must write a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plan identifying all the areas where risks in preparation can occur. To learn more about the HACCP guidelines, visit the FDA HACCP program.
  • Know if your establishment is a Risk Type 1,2,3 or 4. Please see the code under section 1.5 of definitions to identify your establishment as one of the risk types.
  • New temperatures:
    • Cold holding is 41 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If the refrigerator units cannot maintain that temperature, a 5-year grace period is given to replace those units.
    • Hot holding now is 135 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Thin probed thermocouple thermometers ("thin tipped" digital thermometer) will now be required for thin patty hamburgers and fish, etc.
All retail food establishments shall comply with the New Jersey smoke-free air act, as applicable, at NJSA 26:3D-55 through 3D-64 and the rules promulgated there under.

Any questions, please call Diane Marshall, Chief Registered Environmental Health Specialist at 609-463-6413.