New food safety regulations coming to NC restaurants

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CLEMMONS, N.C.--Dozens of restaurant owners and chefs got a first hand look at new regulations they will likely be expected to follow at a food safety information session in Forsyth County today.

The newly proposed regulations being considered by the State Division of Public Health follow guidelines set forth by the FDA.

Marlon Hunter the Forsyth County Public Health Director helped host the information sessions at Tanglewood Park. " We don't want to give them surprises at the last minute.  We want them (restaurants) to begin to prepare their staff and facilities for the new changes," said Hunter.

Under the newly proposed regulations, all opened, stored food must be marked with expiration dates.

Food handlers will no longer be able to use their bare hands. Instead they must use gloves, deli tissue, or tongs.

Food must be kept at temperatures lower than 41 degrees, and there must always be an employee on duty who's completed an accredited food safety training program.

Restaurants must also implement an employee health program requiring them to report illnesses and stay out of work until better all symptoms subside.

As for those burgers, right now only medium well or well done can be served in our state. The new rules would allow customers to order raw or undercooked foods -- if --the restaurant provides a warning, like a sign or note on the menu.

Forsyth County Health Environmental Health Director Bob Whitwam said if the rules pass as currently proposed, "what this food code does is look at the reasons people get sick from eating foods and tries to intervene in those reasons."

A state review committee will take a final vote on the new regulations later this month. If passed, they will go into effect on September 1st. 

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