|Contact: Kelly Nettnin|
|For Immediate Release:
Changes in Food Safety Code
Dining experiences may soon be a little safer for Dare County residents thanks to changes in North Carolina's food safety code. The Dare County Department of Public Health is responsible for assuring the new rules, that went into effect on September 1, are followed.
"Our staff work closely with local eating establishments to promote safe food handling practices," commented Anne Thomas, Dare County Health Director. "These new rules allow us to keep up with changes in food preparation techniques, while keeping public health and safety in mind."
The new food code represents the most comprehensive change in North Carolina's food protection standards in more than 30 years and establishes practical, science-based rules and provisions to help avoid food-borne illnesses such as like norovirus or salmonella.
Under the new rules, employees must avoid handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and all restaurants must have a certified food protection manager on duty during hours of operation. Restaurant must establish employee health policies to ensure that an ill employee who has the potential to contaminate food is not involved in the preparation or serving of food.
Restaurant rating systems will change under the new food code. Although sanitation rating cards showing the grade and score will continue to be posted, restaurants will no longer earn a bonus for completing voluntary food safety training since certification will be required.
"Our Environmental Health staff have spent the last year learning the new rules and how to administer them," commented Jack Flythe, Environmental Health Supervisor, "We have also worked with our local food provider community to help them make the transition to the new system."
Another change people will notice is that local food trucks and pushcarts will also be subject to the new food code rules and will be required to post a sanitation rating card.
Key Provisions of the new North Carolina Food Code:
- Each food establishment will be required to demonstrate knowledge of food protection by passing an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited exam. This requirement will be phased in and become effective January 1, 2014.
- Each food establishment will be required to develop and adhere to an Employee Health Policy to prevent and control the transmission of illnesses.
- Food establishments will be required to refrain from handling exposed, ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.
- Food establishments will be required to decrease the temperature of refrigerated foods and must date-mark opened, ready-to-eat foods.
To view the new food code, please visit, http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/rules.htm. For questions or more information please contact the Dare County Department of Public Health's Environmental Health Division at 252.475.5080.