Food Operators at Oct 30th Environmental Health Food Safety Session
On the morning of October 30th, the Environmental Health Division of the Will County Health Department hosted about 100 Will County food operators to talk about the new FDA Food Code that goes into effect January 1st of next year.
Health Department sanitarian Alyssa Shelton explained that those who attended are considered operators of “Level 1 risk” food facilities, meaning that they perform what is considered the highest risk of food operations for the public.
“Level 1 facilities are considered high risk based upon the type of food processing completed, or upon the population served,” Shelton explained. “For example, any facility that primarily serves young children, such as schools; or the elderly, such as nursing homes; or facilities that perform food processing such as cooling, smoking, or reheating.”
WCHD sanitarian Nicole Garrett says being “Level 1” usually depends on the individual operator. “You could have a coffee shop the reheats soup, or maybe a deli that cooks hot dogs, but then cools the extras for reheating the next day. And if they serve pasta salad, that’s something that must be cooked hot, but then properly cooled overnight.
“Each Level 1 facility receives educational training from their inspector once per year to improve education and outcome of inspections related to disease prevention in their facilities,” Garrett explained. “As we implement this new food code, we want to consistently prepare Will County operators for these new requirements.”
Garrett, who along with Shelton oversaw the educational session, says the plan includes not just educational training sessions away from their food facilities; but also providing handouts, templates, and question and interaction sessions.
While the State of Illinois is currently inspecting food facilities based upon an adapted FDA Food Code from 1997, the updated code will incorporate the newest information in food safety research, which allows inspectors to obtain long term compliance and specifics on special processes being practiced in grocery and retail food stores.
For more on FDA Food Code going into effect January 1st, go to https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/ucm595139.htm. For more on Will County Health Department programs, go to willcountyhealth.org.