Food Service Establishments
In Rockingham County, Environmental Health's main priority is to protect and promote the health of our community. This includes protecting the citizens of this county from unnecessary environmental risks by managing the permitting and inspections of all restaurants, food stands, mobile food units, push carts, temporary food stands, meat markets, school lunchrooms, elderly nutrition sites and limited food stands to ensure that they comply with the sanitation standards established by the state health department.
Environmental Health also provides food safety education by teaching a ServSafe Course twice a year. The cost of the course is $165 and includes the latest version of the ServSafe Course Book. Anyone may sign up to take the course, but the course is primarily for anyone working in the food service industry.
WHAT IS A FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT?
This is any establishment or operation where food is prepared or served at wholesale or retail for pay. This does not include establishments that serve such items as ice cream, bakery items, popcorn, candied apples or cotton candy. Food Service Establishments include:
Nursing Home Cafeterias
Elderly Nutrition Sites
Limited Food Stands
Temporary Food Stands
Mobile Food Units
WHAT IS A DRINK STAND?
This is an establishment in which only beverages are prepared on the premises and are served in multi-use containers such as glasses or mugs. Examples of Drink Stands include bars, coffee shops and wine tasting facilities.
WHAT IS A FOOD STAND?
This is a food service establishment which prepares or serves foods and which does not provide seating facilities for customers to use while eating and drinking.
DO I NEED A PERMIT TO OPERATE A FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT OR DRINK STAND IN NORTH CAROLINA?
Yes, food service establishments and drink stands must be permitted by Environmental Health before opening. Permits are issued to the owner or operator of the establishment and are not transferable to new owners if the business is sold. See How to Apply for Food Establishment Permits for more information.
ADOPTION OF THE 2009 FDA FOOD CODE
North Carolina adopted The Governing the Food Protection and Sanitation of Food Establishments on July 19, 2012 and will go into effect on September 1, 2012. This is the “new” Section of the .2600 rules (15A NCAC 18A .2650-.2676) that replaces the current .2600 rules (15A NCAC 18A .2601-.2645). Rules .2650-.2658 includes the adoption by reference language and lists the amendments, additions, and deletions to the 2009 FDA Food Code. Adoption language is difficult to apply in practice, so the manual will be the most useful resource for inspections and compliance for food establishments.
The remaining “new” .2600 rules (.2659-.2676) includes compliance and enforcement provisions (e.g., permits, grade cards, inspections, appeals) that were updated from the current rules and sections that have been renamed and revised (e.g., outdoor dining and beverage service, supplemental cooking rooms--used to be “barbecue places,” and congregate nutrition sites--used to be “catered elderly nutrition sites”). Finally, the rules for other establishment types (e.g., mobile food units, pushcarts, temporary food establishments) are also included in the .2600 rules.
North Carolina Food Code Manual is the 2009 FDA Food Code with North Carolina’s amendments, additions, and deletions (Rules .2651-.2658). Additions and amendments are designated by underlining such text and sections of the 2009 Food Code that have been deleted are designated by “DELETED.” Again, this is the primary resource that will be used for inspections and compliance.
The format of the Food Code has been maintained as it exists in the FDA publication since it’s a familiar format. In addition, there are a number of characteristics that make the Code easy to use. For example, defined words and terms are in SMALL CAPS. And one of the most useful tools is the index.
If you have concerns about the sanitation at a food service establishment in Rockingham County, speak to the owner or manager directly. If you still have concerns, you may also call us at (336)342-8180 to register a complaint.