New Restaurant Regulations to Protect Public

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An amendment to COLORADO RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENT RULES AND REGULATIONS will take effect on March 1, 2007, and will help to protect people that eat at restaurants or buy food from delis. Fremont County Environmental Health Officer Sid Darden reports that the amendment prohibits bare hand contact with any food that is ready-to-eat or not subject to any further cooking, and most restaurant owners and managers have been aware that this new regulation was coming for the past few years.

As additional reinforcement, most local health departments, including Fremont County Environmental Health, have been discussing the concept with owners and operators over the course of the past several months during routine inspections. In addition, a copy of the new regulation was mailed along with each license renewal back in November, and another copy of the new regulation and a pamphlet entitled Bare Hand Contact with Ready-to-Eat Foods-Questions and Answers, written by the Consumer Protection Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, was mailed along with the 2007 licenses. The new regulation and the pamphlet were also written in several languages such as Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.The basic concept is that any food that is ready-to-eat and will not be further cooked, is not to be touched with bare hands by the people preparing and serving the food. Most people automatically assume that this means the use of disposable food gloves, and in many cases this will be the method used to meet the new requirements, however the use of tongs and other serving utensils, deli papers or other approved methods, may also be used. If a food item is going to be cooked prior to serving, such as pizza toppings, raw meats and other ingredients for recipes prior to cooking, it is acceptable for these items to be handled with bare hands as long as proper handwashing practices are followed and food and equipment are not cross contaminated. Anyone that did not receive this information along with their 2007 restaurant license, anyone with questions, or anyone with an interest in obtaining copies of any of this information can contact Fremont County EHS at 276-7460.

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