Food safety rule change has small restaurant owners worried

John Finnerty

A move to require increased safe-food handling for managers in restaurants has the proprietors of small eateries worried about how they will be able to comply.

Under changes in the state food code, which mirror those in the federal code, restaurants will need to have someone on-site at all times who is designated as the person-in-charge and has taken a safe food handling manager course.

Under current law, a restaurant’s person-in-charge merely has to be available to be summoned if a food inspector shows up but doesn’t necessarily have to be at the restaurant during all open hours.

The state Department of Agriculture has warned restaurants that the change could take effect in 2020, but due to the time required to update the regulations, industry officials said the change likely won’t be in place until 2021.

The change is going to create a challenge for small eateries with few employees or those that rely heavily on teens and college students, restaurant operators said.

“It’s going to be horrendous,” said Shannon Shipton, who with her husband, Charles, operates Dor-Day Subs, a third-generation sub shop in Lewisburg, Union County.

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