A recently enacted ordinance impacting area restaurants and food preparers has landed the Scotland County Commission in hot water even though the local leaders had nothing to do with cooking up the new law.
Once the bills for the new annual permit fee went out in July to restaurants, the Commission reported beginning to receive feedback and queries regarding Regulation No. 1, which was implemented at the end of 2016 by the Scotland County health Department.
“We started catching flack about the new ordinance and we didn’t have anything to do with its implementation,” said Presiding County Commissioner Duane Ebeling.
The new ordinance mandates health inspections for food preparers as well as special training for all employees who handle foodstuffs served for consumption.
The regulation was enacted pursuant to Section 192.300, RSMo, which provides the authority to county commissions and the county health center boards of the counties to make and promulgate orders, ordinances, rules or, regulations, respectively as will tend to enhance the public health and prevent the entrance of infectious, contagious, communicable or dangerous diseases into the county and the power to prosecute and enforce these rules.
“It seems like a lot of folks read that as it is a result of a joint effort by the county and the health department,” said Commissioner Danette Clatt. “That’s not the case.”
The Commission indicated the county was approached last year regarding implementing the ordinance and chose not to act on it. However the health department moved forward to enact the ordinance.
“They went ahead and did it,” said Ebeling. “We didn’t even know about it until after the fact.”
Commissioner David Wiggins noted that counties are concerned about that issue, noting the legislation is being considered to change the state law so that future regulations such as this would require county government approval.
“It is my understanding that the state is looking into preventing this from happening in the future,” said Wiggins.
For now the commission is relegated to forwarding constituents with concerns about the issue on to the health department.