On October 25, 2013, amendments to Regulation 61-25 proposed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) were published in the State Register. Regulation 61-25, which governs retail sales of food, applies to restaurants, grocery stores, school cafeterias, and other establishments where food is prepared and served to the public. Since the regulation was last amended in 1995, there have been many advances in the food industry, including changes in food handling practices, equipment technology, and preparation processes. The purpose of the proposed amendments is to supply safe, unadulterated food at the retail level by bringing the regulation in conformity with the most recent version of the United States Food and Drug Administration Food Code.
The proposed amendments are comprehensive and address a wide variety of issues. For instance, they address topics ranging from employee hand washing and facility cleanliness to cooking temperatures and food preparation practices. Of note, the proposed regulation would limit employee’s bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods under certain circumstances. In addition, the proposed amendments include lower cold-holding temperatures and higher hot-holding temperatures for food. The proposed regulation also contains specific requirements for two recent trends in retail food establishments—mobile food units and outdoor pet dining.
Legislative action is required before the proposed amendments to Regulation 61-25 take effect. Interested parties may make oral and written comments at a public hearing to be conducted by the Board of Health and Environmental Control at its January 9, 2014 meeting. Written comments must be received by DHEC no later than November 25, 2013.
The full text of the proposed amendments to Regulation 61-25 can be found at www.scstatehouse.gov/regs/4424.docx