If an individual, organization or business is going to hold a public event where food is sold or given away they should contact the health department to obtain a health permit and have the operation inspected before serving to the public. A Food Establishment includes restaurants, retail food stores, schools, grocery stores, nursing homes, hospitals, caterers, bars, day care centers, food concession stands, churches, mobile food units, vending machines and temporary food establishments located at fairs, festivals, roadside stands, and other various indoor and outdoor events. An event that is advertised with fliers, banners, newspaper articles, radio or TV announcements, social media or by any other means, regardless of whether or not a fee is charged is considered a public event and therefore is subject to West Virginia food establishment requirements. Church parishioner dinners, organizational meetings and private events that are for members only, are not advertised and are free to attend, are not considered public events. To determine if your event needs a health permit, ask yourself…
- Is your event open to the public?
- Are you advertising your event (radio, TV, social media, flyer, newspaper)?
- Are you selling tickets to attend a food event?
- Are you planning to sell or give away prepared food and/or beverages?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, you will need a Food Establishment permit for your event. A permit is not necessary when selling pre-packaged food, such as candy bars or canned and bottled drinks. Permits are also not necessary for private or family events or limited non potentially hazardous bake sale items. Most venues at a local Farmers Market do not need a permit.
FOOD HANDLER CARD
In addition to the required Health Permit to operate, establishments must ensure that all food service workers obtain a Food Handler’s Card. All food service workers need to obtain a valid food handler card within thirty (30) days upon hire. The food handler card is specific to the employee and allows the individual to work in a Food Establishment. Classes for food handlers are conducted monthly and are designed to educate the proper techniques, methods, and requirements of a food establishment. The food handler’s course is designed to minimize foodborne illness and stresses employee health, proper hygiene, proper handling of ready-to-eat food, cleaning & sanitizing procedures, food temperature parameters and prevention of cross-contamination by proper food storage and handling. Food workers will learn about the importance of hand washing, critical violations pertaining to the food worker, the causes of foodborne illnesses and personal hygiene issues. The health department conducts monthly food service worker training classes in both the morning and evening. The health department requires that all food service workers in Ohio County attend a food service worker training class.