Barry County Health Department board discusses temporary food permits

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees discussed temporary food service events at its regularly scheduled April meeting.

Roger Brock, health department administrator, reported that he recently visited the Eagles Lodge in Shell Knob last week. During the inspection, it was brought to his attention that the lodge offers a tavern, which is used to serve food to community members each week.

"I was informed that the health department had an agreement, prior to me coming here, that it would not inspect the tavern because the Eagles are a non-for-profit organization," said Brock. "I told them that I was not privy to that agreement.

"I also explained that I am not concerned with them paying a permit fee," said Brock. "I am concerned with providing good public health.

"I explained that I am not out to be mean to them," said Brock. "I am out to educate people and provide them with information so that they can help ensure good public health and not get people sick."

Brock suggested the health department begin inspecting and working with non-for-profit organizations that serve food to community members. The organizations would not be charged for the inspections or information.

The health department can work to provide non-for-profit organizations with valuable educational materials without requiring them to go through the ServSafe course, said Brock.

"I think they are going to agree with allowing us to inspect their tavern and give them some information," said Brock. "I want this to set a precedent that we are not coming to break down doors to do inspections, but we do want to educate people about proper food service procedures.

"We will work with them," said Brock. "We hope to make a good impression and get information out to people in the community that we are only concerned with good public health practices."

Board member Jan Thomas agreed that the health department should work to educate organizations like the Eagles, who serve around 200 people at their weekly dinners.

"I would like for those who are offering these types of events to come to us voluntarily and say, 'what do we need to do to provide good public health?'" said Brock. "We want to sit down with them, even for 10 minutes, to give them some information. Our main job is education and prevention to provide good public health."

In other business, the Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees:

* Re-appointed John Starchman as board chairman, Dennis Baker as vice chairman, Rocky Mills as secretary and Thomas as treasurer.

* Reviewed and approved the public health programs, Health Education Literacy Program (HELP) and administrative reports.

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