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  • Board approves new health code and permit fees

    Mar 01, 2016 | Read More News
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    food inspectionsThe Pima County Board of Supervisors at its March 1 meeting voted 4-1 to approve a new health code and fee schedule for the Consumer Health and Food Safety program. The changes go into effect April 1 and affect all current permit holders and any future applicants. 

    “Our job is to educate operators and then to make sure operators abide by the rules and meet certain standards that will in turn protect the general public, reducing their risk of foodborne illnesses caused by unsanitary conditions,” said David Ludwig, CHFS manager. “That responsibility starts with making sure the code we enforce is up to date.”

    The food safety program will now use the 2013 U.S. Food and Drug Administration Code, which uses current best scientific practices and procedures. It had been using the FDA’s 1999 code. 

    The adopted code will update the procedures for handling food, address the need for pet-friendly food establishments, update the enforcement section, and modify the due date for operating permits. 

    In addition, the adopted code also includes a new fee schedule for all services provided by the division. This fee schedule will help the program recover the cost of operating the program and improve the food industry permitting and inspection process overall.

    “It’s time to bring the county’s CHFS division into the 21st century,” Ludwig said. Doing this involves more than just implementing a new health code. “We also want to upgrade the way we do inspections, meaning providing field computers for inspectors and using field technology to educate the permitted establishments.” 

    The fees will phase in over a five-year period but starting in 2018, the CHFS program will introduce an incentive program that allows establishments to control up to 25 percent of their costs. Operators will receive a percentage discount for having written procedures in place that include staff training and daily monitoring of risk factors, eliminating Trans fats, displaying food calorie counts on the menu, and participating in the food bank assistance program.

    “Our mission is to protect the general public and educate the food service operators on how to do the right thing for the right reasons everyday,” Ludwig said.

    For more information on the approved changes, including the fee schedule, visit the Pima County Health Department’s permitting and inspections webpage.