Retail Food Regulations & Enforcement Process

Changes to Retail Food Establishment Inspection & Enforcement Process

Effective January 1, 2020, there will be changes to Colorado’s retail food establishment inspection and enforcement process, as enacted in House Bill 19-1014. A summary of key changes and support available for retail food establishments is provided below.

  1. Key Changes
  2. Why changes are being made
  • Inspections will now be based on a point system.
    • Violations which are more critical in nature, i.e. those which contribute most directly to food-borne illness or injury, will have the highest point values.
  • Violations will also be ranked on a low, medium or high severity/prevalence scale of the observed conditions during an inspection.
    • The more severe and prevalent the violation, the higher the point value.
  • The total points of an inspection will determine one of the following results: “Pass,” “Re-Inspection,” or “Imminent Hazard/Closure”.
    • Closure of an establishment, i.e. “Imminent Hazard/Closure” result, could occur from a high point value, conditions which meet the definition of imminent health hazard (below) or multiple inspections which don’t “Pass”.
  • The definition of an "imminent health hazard” has been clarified.
    • Imminent health hazards include: fire, flood, extended interruption of electricity or water, sewage backup, misuse of toxic/poisonous materials, onset of a foodborne illness, grossly unsanitary conditions or other circumstance that may endanger public health.
  • A retail food establishment which does not “Pass” four consecutive (or four out of five) inspections could be closed for up to three days and is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
  • The minimum amount for a civil penalty has been removed and the maximum amount as $1,000 for inspection violations has been established.
  • The bill clarifies that it is against the law to continue to operate a retail food establishment after its license or certificate of license is suspended.
  • If an establishment is closed due to an imminent health hazard, JCPH must approve it to reopen.

Retail Food Establishment Regulations: Effective 2019

Colorado has incorporated the 2013 FDA Food Code by reference as the revised Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations, which is effective as of January 1, 2019.

Some of the major changes for retail food establishments are:

  • Required certified food protection managers
  • Proper date marking of ready to eat foods that must be maintained cold for safety
  • Procedures in place for the proper cleanup of vomiting and diarrheal events
  • Handwashing signs at all handwashing sinks used by employees

Food Code Training Video

This following video provides an overview of the major changes to the food code that took place in 2019 and how it affects your retail food establishment. All documents and links from the video are available below. 

  1. Resources
  2. PDF Documents

Last updated 3/2023