NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Restaurants will have some new rules to follow starting in September. Customers may not notice the changes, but their dining experience may be a little safer.
According to the New Hanover County Health Department, the new food code represents the most comprehensive change in NC's food protection standards in more than 30 years.
"Our county health department staff works closely with local eating establishments to promote safe food handling practices," said New Hanover County Public Health Director Dave Rice. "These new rules allow us to keep up with changes in food preparation techniques, while keeping public health and safety in mind."
Under the new rules, employees must avoid handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and all restaurants must have a certified food protection manager during hours of operation.
The restaurant rating system will also change under the new food code. Sanitation rating cards will still be posted, but restaurants won't be able to earn bonus points for completing voluntary food safety training – it's now required.
Other key provisions of the new North Carolina Food Code include:
• Each food establishment will be required to demonstrate knowledge of food protection by passing an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited exam.
• Each food establishment will be required to develop and adhere to an Employee Health Policy to prevent and control the transmission of illnesses.
• Food establishments will be required to refrain from handling exposed, ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.
• Food establishments will be required to decrease the temperature of refrigerated foods and must date-mark opened, ready-to-eat foods.
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