The Food Protection Program is responsible for ensuring that a program is in place to prevent diseases associated with improper food handling. The goal of the program is to promote food safety through education, routine counseling, and assessment of more than 900 fixed food and approximately 800 temporary food services operating in Elkhart County.
In Elkhart County, all foodservice facilities, regardless of type, are regulated under the State Food Rule 410 IAC 7-24, and the Elkhart County Food Service Ordinance 2005-322. These documents outline the minimum food safety requirements for each of the various types of food establishments that operate in the county.
As of January 1, 2005, most food service establishments in Indiana are required to have at least one certified food handler on staff. Any facility that must have a certified person is also required to have a copy of the state rule Certification of Food Handler Requirements 410 IAC 7-22 on hand in the facility. Visit the Indiana State Department of Health certification information page to download the rule and find training and exam providers.
The development and effective implementation of an employee health policy based on the provisions in sections 120-127 of the Indiana Retail Food Establishment Sanitation Requirements may help to prevent foodborne illness associated with contamination of food by ill or infected food employees. The PIC (Person in Charge) and food employees should be familiar with and able to provide information regarding the prevention of foodborne illnesses through direct dialogue when interviewed by facility managers or regulatory officials. A written Employee Health Policy is not a Rule requirement but is strongly encouraged if facilities have more than two employees. Click here for a Sample Health Policy.
In order to protect the health of consumers and employees, information concerning the health status of conditional employees and food employees must be disclosed to the PIC. A conditional employee is a potential food employee to whom a job offer has been made, conditional on responses to subsequent medical questions or examinations. A conditional employee becomes a food employee as soon as the employee begins working, even if only on a restricted basis. A food employee suffering from certain symptoms presents an increased risk of transmitting foodborne illness. Click here for a Sample Food Employee Health Questionnaire.
The Self-Inspection Checklist is a tool food service can use to evaluate their own food handling practices. It is intended to help operators identify and correct potential violations that may cause foodborne illness and reinforce safe food handling practices.
Mobile retail food establishment means a retail food establishment that is: wheeled; on skids; mounted on a vehicle; a marine vessel; or otherwise readily movable; such as a pushcart or trailer. Mobile food service must have a commissary that it returns to daily for servicing (Sections 16 and 55 of 410 IAC 7-24).
Click here to read the Elkhart County Health Department's Mobile Food Service Minimum Requirements.
A temporary food establishment means a retail food establishment that operates for a period of no more than fourteen (14) consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration with the approval of the organizers of the event or celebration (State Food Rule 410 IAC 7-24 Sec 98). Any person wishing to operate a temporary food establishment must provide the Health Department 30 days' notice of intent to operate as required by Sec 107c of the State Food Rule.
Temporary food establishments are inspected and licensed onsite at the temporary event. There is no application to fill out before the event, all that is required is to contact the health department at least 30 days prior to the event to provide notice of intent to operate. License fees will NOT be collected by the health department prior to the event. The license fee is paid at the time that the license is issued. The temporary license also serves as the vendor's receipt for the license fee paid to the health department. The license will not be issued, nor will the food establishment be allowed to operate until full compliance is achieved. The license must be posted conspicuously for the public to see.
Click here to read the Elkhart County Health Department Temporary Food Service Guidelines.
Written plans must be submitted for review before constructing a new food service or remodeling an existing food service. You can print a Plan Review Packet that contains a step-by-step checklist to help prepare your plans and a Plan Review Application to begin the plan review process.
NFP organizations that operate temporary food services for less than 15 days per year for the benefit of the organization are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements. However, NFP organizations need to register each event with the Health Department and provide proof of NFP status.
Click to view the NFP Registration Form. You may print this form and mail or fax it to our office. The completed form must be received BEFORE the event takes place.
In May 2009 the Indiana legislators passed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1309. This new Act excludes Home Based Vendors (HBV) from the definition of Retail Food Service Establishment and exempts them from the regulations of retail food establishments such as registration, licensing, and health inspections. HEA 1309 allows for the production and sale of certain foods that do not present an appreciable public health risk but does not allow the production and sale of foods that may create a public health risk, also called "potentially hazardous foods" (PHFs). Foods made by home-based vendors can be sold from roadside stands and farmers' markets. Click here for the Home-Based Vendor Brochure. Much more information is available at Purdue University's Food Science Website.
Click here to read the latest edition of Food Safety News, ECHD's foodservice newsletter.