Friday, December 28, 2007

Effective December 1: New food service regulations

I just stumbled across this press release and thought you might be interested in it. I had noticed a form on the drive thru window when I stopped for a drink recently, but didn't pay much attention. When visiting restaurants I will be taking a look at the most recent inspection to see how they rate. I remember working with a restaurant on a project some years back. Fantastic food. Great people. But boy did they get zapped when they were inspected. I had to stop eating there, mainly because they were irritated at the rating rather than deciding they'd straighten up their act.

They didn't last very long, despite the great food. Word gets around and attitudes matter.

Here's the release:

After months of preparation and training, new food service regulations approved earlier this year by the Georgia Department of Human Resources are set to take effect December 1. With the new regulations, restaurants will receive a form that includes both a letter grade and numeric score. These forms, along with the two most recent restaurant inspections, must be visibly posted within 15 feet of the establishment’s main entrance and on drive-thru windows. The changes to Georgia’s Food Code were modeled in large part after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2005 Food Code.

"These changes will provide a unified system of inspection and grading for Georgia’s food service businesses," said Stuart Brown, M.D., Director of the Division of Public Health. "For months, we have conducted statewide trainings to ensure standardization across the board. It is now time to put our efforts and these changes to the test."

Food service inspectors began using the new inspection reports, as well as the forms that have been used for the past 10 years, in July. Early usage of the forms gave health inspectors and restaurant personnel an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new inspection requirements while still using the previous form and process.

The Division of Public Health worked closely with a broad group, including the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), restaurant personnel, physicians and citizens, to implement the new food service regulations.

For more information about the State’s new food codes including a sample of the new inspection form, please visit: http://health.state.ga.us/programs/envservices/foodservice.asp.

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