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Oklahoma Food Code
Oklahoma Food Code

The Oklahoma Restaurant Association works with the Food Service Advisory Council and the State Health Department on revisions to the Oklahoma Food Code.
Chapter 257 of the Food Code was updated in 2016 is now online at the Health Department website and can be downloaded here.
Be aware of several changes that you will be hearing about when your inspector makes his/her next visit.  You may want to consider having your manager in charge call you if you are not already present when the inspector arrives, with the thought you could be there and work “hand in hand” with the inspector to make any necessary decisions or changes.

Templates/guidelines that will help you comply with the new Food Code will be provided to you by your inspector. With the exception of information that is required if you chose Bare Hand Contact with Ready to Eat Foods, the templates are not mandatory.  They can, however, be a good guideline to help you comply with the changes to the Code.
  • Bare Hand Contact with ready to eat foods will still be allowed under the new changes, according to this template.  You will continue to have a choice of wearing gloves, using utensils, or having bare hand contact with ready to eat foods.  Gloves will not be required.  But you will need to have a written employee health policy and will need to provide documentation that your employees have been trained in proper hand-washing and other procedures before handling ready to eat food. 
  • Managers - Information on Food Allergies and which foods on your menu are most likely to cause allergic reactions for your customers will be an increased focus under the new Food Code.  The inspectors will have materials that will help you identify the most common foods that cause allergies and how to train your employees in this information.
  • Employee/New Hire Information  - Information about what and when your employees/potential hires should tell you about their illnesses and symptoms of illnesses will be shared with you.  You can download the template here. Again, your inspector will have templates that will help you and your employees know, in layman’s terms, when to report to you they are sick and when you should restrict them from working.
  • Inspection Reports – These have changed significantly.  No longer will the terms Critical Violations be used.  Rather, Priority, Priority Foundation, and Core Violations will be used.  Your inspector will go over the new form with you and answer your questions about the changes.
  • Your Inspector - He or she will talk to you about several policies and procedures you should have in place on hand washing, employee illness reporting, and other requirements of the Code.  Although there will not be a requirement for having these written procedures in place, having them may assist you in being in compliance with the Code.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) – A template is available from the Health Department that can be used to provide information to the Department on how you operate.  This information will be required only when remodeling, a change of ownership, and for new restaurants.
  • Templates/Guidelines - These new templates/guidelines will help you comply with the new Food Code. Your inspector will provide them to you. Although the templates are not mandatory, they can be a good guideline to help you comply with the changes to the Code. 

As always, if you have questions or need additional information, please call Jim Hopper at the ORA office, (800) 375-8181 or (405) 942-8181. 
Useful Health Department Forms for Compliance with Oklahoma Food Code

The following information, guidelines and templates are designed to help you comply with the Oklahoma Food Code. 

Templates/guidelines that will help you comply with the new Food Code will be provided to you by your inspector. With the exception of information that is required if you chose Bare Hand Contact with Ready to Eat Foods, the templates are not mandatory.  They can, however, be a good guideline to help you comply with the changes to the Code.

Guide to Assist Food Service Establishments in Preventing Contamination from Bare Hands
Template - Conditional Employee and Food Employee Interview
Template - Food Establishment Operational Plan (Standard Operating Procedures)
Chapter 257 of the Oklahoma Food Code
Daily Self-Inspection Template

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The Culinary Cook-off is a cooking competition that takes place during the ORA Expo. Oklahoma's most talented chefs will race the clock to create dazzling dishes using a mystery basket of ingredients. Chefs will compete in various heats until the contest is narrowed down to the last two chefs. Judges will consist of a panel of industry professionals who will critique each competitor on plate presentation, creativity, product taste, and sanitation practices, among other things. For each contestant, the high and low scores will be discarded. Chefs will be competing for a trophy, medals, and cash prizes. Learn more by clicking the link! #CCO2021
Support Oklahoma’s most talented bartenders as they compete for prizes in the Oklahoma Restaurant Association Cocktail Shakedown. This exciting competition takes place during the first day of the ORA Expo. Bartenders from all over the state will put their skills and abilities to the test as they compete to move through four timed rounds of cocktail preparations including the Championship Round. As each bartender lifts a shaker and creates his or her requisite signature concoction, they race the clock to create innovative and crazy delicious cocktails that will be judged on taste and balance, originality, drink presentation, and stage presentation. Each round reduces the number of talented competitors until the four finalists compete for the grand prize! Applications will be available soon.
The ORA Expo at the OK State Fair Park in Oklahoma City is considered the best opportunity of the year for hospitality professionals to connect with food and equipment manufacturers, and a range of other suppliers who are eager to feature products and services to help you reach that next level of success. With restaurants back in full swing, we know that operators are more interested than ever in products and innovations to help save money and build upon their success. This is one Expo you won't want to miss!
Thirst for a Cause, an annual event started in 2009, raises funds to help with urgent medical expenses for members of Oklahoma's hospitality industry. Through our non-profit Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation, we are able to give something back to the hard-working employees in the hospitality industry. Thirst for a Cause was established to meet the extreme medical needs of persons employed in the restaurant industry in Oklahoma. Funds are limited and will be awarded based on demonstration of need to long-term employees in the restaurant industry. Aid to individuals may only be provided if such individual has no other means to receive needed support, such as from insurance, government assistance programs, etc. Monetary support will not be granted directly to the individual, but to the entity supplying goods and services to the individual, i.e. hospitals, physicians, etc. As you walk around and sample food from some of Oklahoma City's best restaurants, you'll be able to meet and interact with winemakers from all over the wine world. These vintners, who represent some of the best wines available in the country, are coming all the way to Oklahoma to help raise money for our cause. This is THE best wine tasting event of the year! Nowhere else will you be able to meet this many vintners, taste this many great wines, and sample this much amazing food under one roof - right here in OKC!
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