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Food Service and Retail Ordinance

Information about the upcoming Food Service and Retail Ordinance

The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department is seeking input on the rules that accompany the updated Food Service and Retail Ordinance (FSO). Stakeholders and interested parties have the opportunity to review the rules document and provide input for anything that they feel should be included.

The updated FSO repeals the City’s existing food safety ordinances and replaces them with an updated, comprehensive ordinance. The new ordinance delivers significant benefits to the regulated community and consumers at large.

Important highlights to the updated FSO include:

  • Adopting the 2022 Food and Drug Association Food Code which includes updates to charitable donations, general food safety including the requirement to obtain a Food Handlers Card, pet dog allowance, and allergen labeling requirement;
  • Unifies Food Ordinance suite;
  • Update permit and fee structure;
  • Updates to the grading of food establishments; and,
  • Enforcement updates including civil penalties, criminal penalties, and compliance plans.

Read the Food Service and Retail Ordinance that was passed by Council at the May 6 meeting. Read the ordinance's rules.

Provide Your Feedback on the rules for the updated FSO


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City revising the food ordinance, and why now?

The current regulations for food safety in Albuquerque are captured in eight different ordinances (Food Sanitation; Retailers, Meat Markets, and Wholesalers; Raw Produce Stands; Pure Food; Food and Drink Vending Machines; Albuquerque Market Vendors; and Raw Milk). The new ordinance will combine this suite of ordinances into one simplified document. The ordinance will be accompanied by a set of Rules that are established by the City through a public hearing process.

The City is opened this ordinance now in order to stay aligned with the New Mexico Environment Department and national standards, the City has adopted the most recent iteration of the of the FDA Food Code.

What major changes are being implemented through this ordinance and its rules?

Here is a list of the major changes:

  1. Adoption of the 2022 FDA Food Code to replace the current adoption of the 2009 FDA Food Code
  2. Introduction of the rules format to food regulations in Albuquerque
  3. Permit classification and fee structures will be directly tied to the risk of an establishment:
    1. Prepackaged foods only
    2. Limited Preparation of foods
    3. Advanced preparation of foods
    4. Preparation of food with a special process
  4. Adding Civil Penalties rather than only having Criminal Penalties
  5. Requirements for Certified Food Protection Managers and Food Handler cards that align with the State of New Mexico and Bernalillo County requirements
  6. Allowance for Pet Patios
  7. Accommodations for Charitable Food Providers
  8. Grading of Food Establishments to include a grade of “Conditionally Approved”
  9. Permit specific requirements to better address the diversity in food establishments

How does the 2022 FDA Food Code change regulations of allergens in food?

The City of Albuquerque will require that facilities have a list of food items that contain allergens that is posted in the facility in public view, such as on the menu.

  • Food items packaged at retail for sale to consumers must declare the major food allergens they contain, including sesame, on the label. Retail food establishment managers need to review these food products to ensure proper labeling. (FDA Food Code Section 3-602.11, also see Section 403(w) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act)
  • Unpackaged foods served or sold to consumers within a retail food establishment must have written notification to consumers of the presence of major food allergens as an ingredient in the unpackaged food items. (FDA Food Code Section 3-602.12)
  • Bulk foods that are available for consumer self-dispensing need to be prominently labeled in plain view of the consumer with the name of the food sources from which the major food allergens are derived unless the food source is already part of the common or usual name of the ingredient. (FDA Food Code Section 3-602.11)
  • Employee food safety training programs must include food allergy awareness of the 9 major food allergens and should consider developing operational specific allergen training programs for employees. (FDA Food Code Sections 2-102.11 and 2-103.11).
  • Learn more about food allergens.

Why are we allowing pet patios; and does that mean every restaurant has to allow pets?

The language in these rules is meant to mirror what is already in place with State regulations NM Stat § 25-1-15 (2021). This allows for pet dogs to be in outdoor patio seating areas. This language is in no way meant to require any establishment to allow pet dogs on their patios; and keeps with the 2022 Food Code that restricts animals inside establishments.

The 2022 FDA Food Code prohibits animals from being on the premises of a food establishment except:

  • Patrol Dogs
  • Service Animals
  • Shellfish Tanks

What is the difference between pet patio allowances and service animal allowances?

Under New Mexico's Service Animal Act and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities have the right to be accompanied by their service animals in restaurants, hotels, stores, theaters, and other public places. This ordinance and its rules do not regulate policies on service animals; but does enforce the food code and the allowances for animals in food establishments as they pertain to food safety. Learn more about service animals.