By Lana Sanstrom, LEHP
In 2009, the Douglas County Health Department started recognizing food establishments with a “Silver Spoon Award” for a perfect inspection and a “Clean Spoon Award” for an inspection score of 95 or higher. This has been a great program recognizing those food establishments that were having exemplary inspections to continue and encouraging others to do even better. However, like all good programs, times and rules change causing change to the original program. Change is often hard to accept, but quite often when one gives change a chance, the rewards are many.
The Illinois Department of Public Health adopted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2017 Food Code in late 2018; Douglas County began using this code and the inspection report that corresponds to it Jan. 1, 2019. The rules provide some changes, but the most drastic and noticed change is the inspection report has no score. Violations are divided into two basic categories of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors & Public Health Interventions and Good Retail Practices with a strong emphasis on trained Certified Food Protection Managers and Food Handlers being present in all food establishments except in strictly retail venues.
Beginning this month the Douglas County Health Department will be recognizing food establishments where food is prepared with Gold Spoon Awards for excellence in training of Certified Food Protection Managers and Food Handler Staff at the required levels at all times, and Silver Spoon Awards for recognition of the establishment having the required number of trained Certified Food Protection Managers on site at all times. In the final analysis, trained staff members are what makes the difference in how a food establishment operates and meets the goals of an inspection.
Retail stores without food preparation are not required to have staff certified in food handling; however, retail stores must still meet standards of good retail practices. The Gold Spoon Award will be received by retail stores with no risk factors observed at the time of their annual inspection. The Silver Spoon Award will be awarded for good sanitation practices being observed at the time of their annual inspection.
Inspections will continue to be spread over an entire year, and only the winners in a given month are listed on social media and in the newspapers; the certificates are posted in the food establishments as earned. The Douglas County Health Department will maintain an ongoing list of Gold and Silver Spoon Award winners for the 2019 year on the department’s Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and website. In this way, the monthly list will always be available. This first news release of 2019 will list January and February award winners with the monthly releases to come listing the monthly awards separately.
Congratulations to the first food establishments to receive the Gold Spoon Award for excellence in training of Certified Food Protection Managers and Food Handler Staff at the required levels at all times: Subway-Arcola, Arcola Healthcare, Carriage Crossing of Arcola, The Corn Crib of Newman, Arthur Flower Shop, Arcola School District, The Smith House & Catering, Itsa Pizza, Baymont, Road Ranger, and the Arthur United Methodist Church.
Silver Spoon Awards for recognition of the food establishment having the required number of trained Certified Food Protection Managers on site at all times were received by Circle K-Tuscola and Harry & David’s.
A Gold Spoon Award was awarded to Sierra’s Place, a retail establishment with no food preparation, as it had no risk factors observed at the time of the annual inspection.
My assistant, Aaron Patrick, and I would welcome conversation about this program and other topics concerning the food program. We can be reached at 217-253-4137 or by email through our website, www.dchealthdept.org.