Sunday, June 4, 2023

Food safety regulations have been updated. Here’s what you need to know

(HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of Pixabay)
(HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

HAMPTON — Updates have been made to Virginia State Code concerning the sale of food that could have an impact on local youth sports leagues and fundraisers.

As of July 1, organizations that apply for a temporary food sale permit that are cooking raw meat will have to have a Certified Food Protection Manager.

Certified Food Protection Managers have to go through a 16-hour class that costs roughly $150, said Jessica Klemencic, environmental health supervisor and technical specialist with Hampton’s Health Department.

The manager is there to ensure that proper cooking and holding temperatures are being followed, that the food is coming from approved sources and that proper hygiene regulations are being followed.

A few important things to know about this new policy is that the Certified Food Protection Manager does not need to be on site throughout the event. They can phone-in and give guidance on proper food safety.

The permits that are issued are good for a calendar year in Hampton.

There are exemptions to this policy. If your event doesn’t occur more than once a week for a maximum of two days and if the food is prepared in the homes of the sponsors, then you are not required to have a safety manager.

This means that the weekly fish fry a church does is still fine without a food manager, but the swim team selling hamburgers made from fresh ground beef at all of their games will need that manager.

A few ways to get around the need for a food safety manager is by not selling raw meat. This means buying precooked meat such as hot dogs or precooked hamburgers.

A complaint that Klemencic has commonly heard: The precooked options are often more expensive than making your own from scratch.

While restaurants and permanent food sale establishments have always needed to have such personnel in house, the temporary food vendors such as the hamburgers your local swim team is selling will now need one, too.

She said while the regulation has been a long time coming, it was also in response to an increase foodborne outbreaks at temporary events.

Those with questions about the new regulation can contact the Hampton Health Department at 757-727-1172 or visit their website.

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