WISCONSIN: Food stands inspected
Posted: May 31st, 2009 - 2:46pm
Brian Saari wasn't thinking about the safety of the hamburger and cheese curds he bought Friday at the Rothschild-Weston Lions Club stand outside the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rib Mountain.
"I've never had a problem with the quality" or the safety of the food he's consumed at such stands, the Mosinee man said.
Marathon County health officials like it that way. As summer approaches with fairs, carnivals and other events, county sanitarians will be inspecting and issuing permits to vendors each week to ensure customers' burgers and brats are safe to eat.
The Health Department inspects and issues permits to about 100 temporary food vendors each year, said Jackie Bethel, an environmental health sanitarian.
Any charitable organization selling food four or more days a year needs a county-issued permit, which is good for one year, Bethel said. For-profit groups must obtain licenses and go through inspections.
In most instances, vendors meet requirements immediately or can fix issues within a matter of a few hours to obtain permits, Bethel said.
State food code governs everything from acceptable sources of foods to cooking and sanitation practices, said Keith Baine, a Marathon County environmental health sanitarian.
"The big thing is, you can't make food at home," Bethel said. All food preparation must take place on-site in a screened area or in a licensed kitchen such as those in some churches.
Vendors must have adequate, safe water for food preparation, washing hands and cleaning utensils, Baine said. Workers must wear gloves while handling food.
Charitable groups welcome the oversight and guidance offered by inspectors because it protects everyone.