Restaurant owner Jim Leonard says he already follows the proposed tougher rules.
By Robert Kittle
The Department of Health and Environmental Control is proposing tougher food safety rules for restaurants and other South Carolina businesses that serve food.
DHEC spokesman Jim Beasley says, "Our current system of food regulations have not been updated since 1995, so what this proposed change will do, and the rewriting of the code will do, is update it to the more current standards as established by the Food and Drug Administration. Those are the national standards for food inspections."
DHEC is looking for public input on the proposed changes and will hold a formal public hearing on them in January. State lawmakers will have to approve any proposed changes.
One of the proposals would not allow bare hands to come in contact with ready-to-eat food. Employees would have to wear disposable gloves, use tongs, or use bakery tissue.
Other proposed changes would lower the temperature at which cold food is held, and raise the temperature at which hot food that's ready to eat is kept before serving.
Jim Leonard, owner of JD's Chicken, Ribs & More in Irmo, says he already follows the tougher standards being proposed. "I've been down here two years now," he says. "We're originally from Michigan and a lot of these new laws that are going in with the Department of Health down here, we've already been doing up there."