Cole County serves up new food ordinance

Sets requirements, fees for permits

Earlier this year, the Cole County Commission approved inspection fees for food operations in the county.

It was later discovered that a food ordinance would have to be created before the inspection fees could be assessed. On Monday, the commission adopted a food ordinance.

Like a similar ordinance in Jefferson City, the county ordinance governs retail food establishments, food processors/distributors and temporary food establishments regarding their construction, renovation and operation. It requires certain permits and knowledge of food safety and provides penalties for violations of these. The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1.

There are four types of permits: food establishment, food processors/distributors, temporary food establishment non-profit, and temporary food establishment for-profit. A provisional permit may be issued at the discretion of the health department.

Permits for food establishments and food processors/distributors can be renewed on an annual basis. A fee of $25 shall be paid 30 days prior to the issuance of a permit or the renewal of a permit. The permit fee will include the initial inspection along with the first follow-up inspection. If any additional inspections are required, the facility is subject to a $25 fee per follow-up inspection thereafter.

Temporary food establishment/event permits will be based on vendors participating at an event. The event will be responsible for the permit fees pertaining to the number of vendors at the event.

For an event with one to 10 vendors, the event organizer will be charged $25, for 11-20 vendors, the event organizer will be charged $50, for 21-50 vendors $100 and for 51 or more vendors the event will be charged $125.

Each vendor will not be charged a permit fee.

Permits issued will be valid for the duration of the event.

Non-profit temporary food establishments /events will not be charged a fee.

Under this ordinance the health department may, without warning, notice, or hearing, suspend any permit to operate if the holder of the permit is not in compliance with the requirements.

When a permit is suspended, food operations shall immediately cease operations. In lieu of suspension of operations and/or complete closure of operation, the health department may, when no additional health hazard exists, restrict and or prevent use of an area of a building and or equipment. The area and or equipment must be re-inspected prior to removal of the restriction and or prevented use.

Circumstances that may result in suspension or revocation of a permit include:

• Seven or more violations on the initial inspection.

• 15 or more violations on the initial inspection.

• An imminent health hazard, meaning there is a significant threat or danger to health that requires immediate correction or cessation of the operation to prevent injury.

Whenever revocation of a permit is final, the holder of the permit may make written application for a new permit following correction of violations.

Any person or responsible parties who violates a provision of these regulations can face a misdemeanor criminal charge.

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