The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is celebrating National Food Safety Month with the implementation of the state's updated Food Law to improve food safety practices and the launch of an online system that will enable consumers to easily access inspection results from more than 19,000 retail food establishments in Michigan.
"The department's highest priority is ensuring the safety of food sold and distributed in Michigan. By putting food inspections online, it provides greater transparency for consumers and retailers," said Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director.
"Food safety impacts our daily lives, including consumers, growers, processers, and those who prepare and sell food," Adams said. "National Food Safety Month provides us the opportunity to raise awareness around food safety and the prevention of foodborne illness."
In addition to implementing the updated Food Law, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has created an online system, MiSafe, to give consumers access to retail food establishment inspection results, including any violations that were found during an inspection.
Violations are items that, if not addressed, may lead to foodborne illness, food contamination or an environmental health hazard.
Routine inspections are typically conducted at a 6, 12 or 18-month frequency, depending on the type and complexity of the food handling at the establishment. MiSafe will include inspection reports from September 2011 forward and can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/foodsafety.
Michigan's updated Food Law takes effect on Oct. 1, 2012.
The law adopts a modified 2009 FDA Model Food Code, portions of the 2009 FDA Model Shellfish Code, and various federal food processing codes and egg safety documents to provide national consistency for the food industry and assure Michigan's food safety laws are based on the best current science.
The Food Law is monitored and enforced by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with Michigan's 45 local health departments.
The updated Food Law includes the following key changes:
- Creates an updated scoring system for violations at licensed food establishments.
- Prohibits the offering of undercooked hamburgers on children's menus.
- Requires cut tomatoes and cut leafy greens to be kept refrigerated.
- Sets standards for food establishments to safely par-cook food (this is a technique where food is partially cooked, then cooled and finished later).
- Allows small egg producers sell directly to consumers without a license as long as a warning label is placed on the carton that states the eggs were packaged in a facility that has not been inspected by MDARD.
- Raises the annual gross sales limit for cottage food businesses from $15,000 to $20,000; and to $25,000 in 2018.
- Requires mobile and special transitory food units to have a certified manager.
- Allows licensed retail food establishments to sell at farmers markets, fairs or festivals without additional licensure.
- Includes provisions to assist state auditors in monitoring food establishments for Bridge Card fraud.
For more information about the updated Food Law or MiSafe, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Food and Dairy Division at (800) 292-3939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.