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What California Restaurants need to know about AB 3336

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NEW LAW ADDS TO THE CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE BY REQUIRING TAMPER-EVIDENT DELIVERY METHODS

Food ordered for delivery should arrive intact and untouched. A new law in California aims to ensure that.

According to US Foods, 72% of food deliverers have admitted to taking food from an order. In response, 85% of diners would like to see restaurants use tamper-evident methods to prevent this and ensure peace of mind. The new law – an addition to the Health and Safety Code – creates a standard for third-party food delivery platforms that will change how restaurants package their food before handing it off.

WHY WAS THIS LAW ENACTED?

Assembly Bill 3336 adds on to and amends the existing California Health and Safety Code, specifically Section 113982 and Section 113930.5. The addition defines what is considered a third-party food delivery platform, while the amendment provides guidance on how these parties should be transporting food.

Assemblywoman Wendy Carillo, the bill’s author, introduced the legislation so that local environmental health agencies would have the authority to investigate complaints about mishandled food deliveries.

Poor customer experience from a botched delivery can have real bottom-line impacts on restaurants of any size, particularly with the increase in food delivery orders due to COVID-19.

WHO NEEDS TO FOLLOW THIS NEW LAW?

This law applies mostly to restaurants. It defines a third-party delivery platform as a business that participates in online food ordering from a food facility and provides delivery to a customer.

It does not include grocery stores or a room, building, or place or portion thereof used to sell to a customer primarily the following products: fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, perishable beverages, baked foods and prepared foods.

It also does not apply to food transported as part of a food bank or charity.

WHAT ARE THE STANDARDS FOR THIRD-PARTY DELIVERY PLATFORMS?

Third-party platforms must now specifically follow guidelines that restaurants were largely already subject to, like:

  • Food holding areas must be washable and hold up to frequent cleanings on the interior, side and top
  • Food holding temperature must be maintainable to prevent spoilage
  • Providing protection from contamination like dirt, vermin, unnecessary handling, droplet contamination, overhead leakage or other environmental sources of contamination
  • Food delivered by a third-party must be closed by the food facility (restaurant) in a tamper-evident method prior to handing off to the deliverer

For restaurants that don’t use a third-party food delivery platform, following the standards above, like tamper-evident packaging, is a smart move.

More than 54% of diners order through a third-party app like GrubHub DoorDash, UberEats, etc. With that large of a population exposed to food delivered in a tamper-evident method, it’s likely to become the accepted standard whether the deliverer is a third-party or not.

WHAT DO RESTAURANTS NEED TO DO?

If you operate a kitchen and partner with a third-party delivery platform, your food must be sealed by your staff and packaged in a tamper-evident method before being given to the third-party food deliverer.

WHAT DOES “TAMPER-EVIDENT METHOD” MEAN?

The law itself does not define one specific tamper-evident method, allowing restaurants to find the best method for them. But Assemblywoman Carrillo did provide some examples when announcing the passage of the law, such as stickers/labels, stapled bags and tamper-evident containers.

WHEN AND WHERE DOES IT GO INTO EFFECT?

The bill was signed into law in September of 2020, and will take effect in California beginning January 1, 2021.

At this time, it is only applicable to California restaurants. However, California has been a leader in legislation that regulates third-party food delivery platforms to create a fair landscape for the foodservice industry. For restaurants looking to stay ahead of consumer preferences and industry changes, looking to California can provide some advance notice.

HOW CAN I PACKAGE MY FOOD IN A TAMPER-EVIDENT METHOD?

We know how hectic kitchens can get. The last thing you need to do is add another step – or miss a crucial one - when you’re trying to get food out the door.

Dart offers tamper-evident containers, bowls and snack cups that are all one piece and become tamper-evident the moment you close them – no extra steps!

WHAT MAKES DART’S CONTAINERS TAMPER-EVIDENT?

Our tamper-evident containers include a TamperAlert Hinge™ that pops up when torn, along with “Do Not Purchase If Torn” messaging that leaves no doubt about the safety of your food.

Additionally, these containers feature a MicroTrim™ Edge, a tamper-resistant feature, to stop any wandering fingers from slipping the lid open for a chip or two.

We also offer our TamperGuard™ Snack Boxes, which includes multiple compartment choices that all use the same lid— So you can keep the same easy and efficient process, but open up more portion opportunities to protect your food’s integrity.

Ready to learn more about our tamper-evident container options? For more product information, additional options for your business or pricing details, contact a Dart representative today!

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