Normally it is the customers who are asking for the check after finishing their meal at local restaurants, but beginning in 2017 local food establishments found themselves getting stuck with the bill under a new ordinance implemented by the Scotland County health Department.

On July 1st, existing restaurants and food-service establishments received a bill for $50 for the newly established annual permit fee. The establishments will also be responsible for training fees of $10 per employee, and can host an onsite training session for an additional $50, with the certification good for two years.

The Scotland County Health Department enacted Regulation No. 1, regulating the operation of food establishments and retail food stores and providing for enforcement. The purpose of the ordinance was to establish up-to-date sanitation standards for food-service establishments and retail food stores designated in section 196.010, and 196.190, RSMO and Missouri regulation 19 CSR 20, using the most current recommendations of the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the Food and Drug Administration and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The regulation is enacted pursuant to Section 192.3 00, 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.

The ordinance prohibits operation of any food establishment without a valid permit to operate, which is issued by the Scotland County Health Department.

The $50 annual permit fee covers the cost of the required annual inspection of the facility. If follow-up inspections are required, the facility will be charged $30 for a second follow-up (third overall inspection).

The inspections are performed by the Environmental Public Health Specialist (EPHS). Brenda Stewart serves in that capacity for the Scotland County Health Department. The inspections are unannounced, with no prior notice given to the facility.

Under the new ordinance, any facility that has five or more critical items indicated in an inspection, will be required to cease operations immediately until the issue are corrected. The health department can also close any food establishment that is found to have a condition or situation that is an imminent public hazard.

Food regulations in the ordinance relate to food sources, proper containers and labeling, product temperatures, and thawing of foods. Other regulations relate to cross contamination and food protection and well food dispensing utensils, hand washing, sanitization, storage and disposal.

In addition to regulating the facility itself, the ordinance also requires that all facility employee’s maintain a Basic Food Sanitation Card also known as a “Food Handler Card”. The SCHD will offer a basic food safety sanitation course, and upon completion, the student will receive a food handler card that will be good for two years.

Any facility that has no-certified staff handling food, can be cited for a critical violation.