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PDFWAC 246-215-03348

Preventing contamination from equipment, utensils, and linensRefilling returnables (FDA Food Code 3-304.17).

(1) Except as specified in subsections (2) through (6) of this section, empty containers returned to a food establishment for cleaning and refilling with food shall be cleaned and refilled in a regulated food processing plant.
(2) A take-home food container returned to a food establishment may be refilled at a food establishment with food if the food container is:
(a) Designed and constructed for reuse and in accordance with the requirements specified in Part 4, Subparts A and B of this chapter;
(b) One that was initially provided by the food establishment to the consumer, either empty or filled with food by the food establishment, for the purpose of being returned for reuse;
(c) Returned to the food establishment by the consumer after use;
(d) Subject to the following steps before being refilled with food:
(i) Cleaned as specified under Part 4, Subpart F of this chapter;
(ii) Sanitized as specified under Part 4, Subpart G of this chapter; and
(iii) Visually inspected by a food employee to verify that the container, as returned, meets the requirements specified under Part 4, Subparts A and B of this chapter.
(3) A take-home food container returned to a food establishment may be refilled at a food establishment with a beverage if:
(a) The beverage is not a time/temperature control for safety food;
(b) The design of the container and of the rinsing equipment and the nature of the beverage, when considered together, allow effective cleaning at home or in the food establishment;
(c) Facilities for rinsing before refilling returned containers with fresh, hot water that is under pressure and not recirculated are provided as part of the dispensing system;
(d) The consumer-owned container returned to the food establishment for refilling is refilled for sale or service only to the same consumer; and
(e) The container is refilled by:
(i) An employee of the food establishment; or
(ii) The owner of the container if the beverage system includes a contamination-free transfer process as specified under WAC 246-215-04230 (1), (2), and (4) that cannot be bypassed by the container owner.
(4) Consumer-owned multiuse beverage containers may be refilled, including time/temperature control for safety food beverages, by employees or the consumer if refilling is a contamination-free process as specified in WAC 246-215-04230 (1), (2), and (4).
(5) consumer-owned containers that are not food-specific may be filled at a water vending machine or system.
(6) A food establishment under an approved plan may allow consumers to:
(a) Refill a visibly clean consumer-owned container with nonready-to-eat food, bulk food, and packaged food;
(b) Refill a visibly clean consumer-owned container with ready-to-eat food when dispensed from equipment, such as a gravity-flow unit, meeting standards for liquid food and ice in WAC 246-215-04230; and
(c) Request a food employee of the food establishment to refill a visually clean consumer-owned container with food using a contamination-free process.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.20.050 and 43.20.145. WSR 21-01-122, § 246-215-03348, filed 12/15/20, effective 3/1/22; WSR 13-03-109, § 246-215-03348, filed 1/17/13, effective 5/1/13.]
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