Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

FOOD SAFETY at Schools

The Brown/Nicollet Environmental Health board met recently and Director Karen Swenson informed the board of new rules concerning food concession stands. Brown/Nicollet Environmental Health Agency operates as a delegated authority from the Minnesota Department of Public Health. The agency covers both Brown and Nicollet Counties and contracts to provide inspection services to Cottonwood and Watonwan counties.
New rules from the State Department of Health require all school concession stands to be licensed and inspected. The schools have received notification and either state or local food inspectors will be making contacts soon to make sure the schools are in compliance and that all food served is safe for public consumption.
School cafeterias are already licensed and inspected and schools will be able to license the concession stands as an “additional food service” to the school’s main kitchen. Doing this will make the school responsible for assuring that compliance is met and will give the school more direct control over the activities of the stands.
A second option is that each stand would have a separate license. This would mean that each booster group or club that may be operating a concession stand would apply for and maintain licensure as required. The type of licensure required would vary depending on the menu and operational information.
Under either option no home prepared or stored food can be offered to the general public at a licensed establishment. While this may seem onerous to schools and booster clubs etc., it will insure that food served is safe. We all like to support the schools and the booster clubs; but the facts show that most food born illnesses result from home prepared foods or foods handled in an improper manner by well meaning but often untrained individuals. end

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