The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Politics

September 16, 2013

State food safety laws raise concerns

INDIANAPOLIS – State health officials are looking for ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses at events sponsored by churches, youth organizations and other nonprofits without inadvertently regulating them out of existence.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year is requiring the Indiana State Department of Health to review the state’s confusing and conflicting food-safety laws that cover some nonprofit organizations but not others.

At a hearing on the issue Monday, a state health official said there needs to be increased awareness among both regulated and unregulated entities of basic food-safety rules to reduce food-contamination outbreaks that lead to illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

“We think it’s important that there ought to be somebody in charge, that could promote food safety in the organization, to provide some kind of oversight,” said Anthony Gilliam, a state health department official.

Both state and federal officials have been working over the past decade to reduce the easily transmitted food-borne illnesses linked to unsafe food practices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, there were more than 5 million people hospitalized, and 149 deaths, due to the norovirus. Another 19,336 were hospitalized due to salmonella poisoning, which claimed 378 lives.

Indiana currently has a law that requires all restaurants and other “food establishments” to have a certified food handler on staff to oversee food safety matters and to act as an educator for employees about safe food handling practices.

But there’s some confusion about what constitutes a “food establishment” when it’s run by a nonprofit organization. For example, a church has a limited number of days every year during which it can serve food to the public before it becomes a “food establishment.”

One of the concerns that emerged during Monday’s hearing in front of the Senate Health Finance Commission was the unintentional risk being posed by volunteers who work food-related events held by churches and other nonprofits that are exempt from the state’s food-safety regulations.

Text Only
Local Politics
  • NWS - HB0417 - election forum - 15 Candidates meet in Alexandria

    Several Madison County candidates running for a variety of offices met at Alexandria-Monroe High School Wednesday night to introduce themselves to voters and talk about some issues.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Leaders await decision on Indiana Plan expansion

    Two of the state's top Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they would like to see the federal government sign off on an expansion of Medicaid through the state's health care plan for low-income residents, but they added that they have little idea how soon that could happen.

    April 16, 2014

  • Commissioners vote to eliminate Personnel Board Madison County commissioners have decided to end the county’s Personnel Board.

    April 15, 2014

  • Primary voting starts at courthouse Through the first week of early voting for the May 6 primary, the Madison County Voter Registration office has been less than overwhelmed.

    April 15, 2014

  • Hayden, Maureen mug Maureen Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ken de la Bastide: Local Dems want to change redistricting process There is an old saying that goes "to the victor goes the spoils." In politics the spoils usually involves the drawing of legislative districts for the Indiana General Assembly and the seats in the U.S. House.

    April 12, 2014

  • NWS - HB0409 - Cleanup - JC 3-file City of Anderson won't participate in annual cleanup For the first time in 29 years, there will be no citywide cleanup this year, because of expenses incurred by the City of Anderson this past winter.

    April 9, 2014 3 Photos

  • Local lawmakers bemoan no local road funding Despite efforts by three Madison County lawmakers, the Indiana General Assembly didn’t provide funding for the improvement of local roads.

    April 7, 2014

  • AP907524370424.jpg U.S. attorney battles public corruption

    U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett has raised his profile by ramping up prosecutions of gang members and corrupt politicians, arguing that both undermine the public’s sense of safety, since he became top federal prosecutor in a district that covers two-thirds of the state.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Coats ends up in wrong meeting School kids and business people who start with a new company often worry about showing up in the wrong classroom or meeting. It can happen to a veteran U.S. senator, too.

    April 4, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide