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Concession food permits required

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written by the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.)

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PARKERSBURG — Summer is in full swing … fairs, festivals, and fundraisers are everywhere. Temporary food service concession vendors must obtain a food permit from the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department before serving food regardless of whether they are selling or giving the food away.

The West Virginia Food Establishment Rule requires each food establishment to have a valid permit from the health department which must be displayed. The concession must be inspected and approved by the MOVHD’s sanitarian before a permit can be issued.

During the inspection, the sanitarian will review the concession construction, types of food to be prepared, how it is prepared, proper methods to keep foods hot and cold, hand-washing area and utensil washing area.

Applications may be obtained from the health department. A food handler’s card and permit fee may be required. Not everyone needing a food permit is required to pay a fee.

Non-profit organizations may be exempt but still must obtain the permit. Bake sales may not need a food permit that sell or distribute only pre-packaged, fresh whole fruits and vegetables or baked goods. If they are selling any food that requires temperature control such as tacos, hot dogs, and cream pies, a food permit is required.

All workers at any temporary food service should have a valid food handlers’ card. Classes are held at the MOVHD office at 211 6th Street on the third Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The class is approximately an hour and half long.

No pre-registration is required. A person can also take the class online at movhd.com under Environmental Health tab. The sanitarians can come to an organization and hold a class for a group for a fee of $75 plus cost of food handlers’ cards.

Most foodborne illness is caused by mishandling of food such as inadequate cooking and holding temperatures. Poor sanitation and unsafe practices can contaminate the food and cause illness. It is important to be vigilant and adhere to best practices outlined by the WV Food Establishment Rule.

For more information or to seek a food permit or food handlers’ card, call 304-485-7374 ext. 160.

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