County creates new local food inspector position

Kadie Huse was hired as the new food inspector for the county. She is a Middle Park graduate.
Kadie Huse was hired as the new food inspector for the county. She is a Middle Park graduate.

Possible upcoming changes for festivals and events

by Tara Walker
Grand County Environmental Health’ Retail Food is a new department now administrating licensing and retail food inspections for all establishments within Grand County. All state statute
and regulations will still apply moving forward and license fees
will now be paid to Grand County Health. Kadie Huse is Grand County’s new Environmental Health Specialist that will provide personalized service, education and food inspections in Grand County’s Retail Food Department.

New CDPHE food codes went into effect for the state of Colorado in January 2019, but no local changes will be made at this time according to Grand County Public Health Director Brene Belew-Ledue, “We are going to establish Grand County food policies and more than likely will adopt what the state already has. We can’t change code to be less restrictive than the state, but we can be more restrictive. We are researching and no changes are coming this year, but we are looking at festivals and events.”

Belew-Ledue explained that Grand County Environmental Health hopes to have new codes established by March regarding special events and festivals. Any future code policy changes will go through BOCC hearings and more information will be provided to the public as changes occur.

Grand County food inspector Kadie Huse recently starting inspections after almost 6 months of training with the Colorado Department of Food and Health. Huse will do routine inspections while her training continues. Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) is available for assistance with new restaurant openings when plumbing, ovens and sink locations becomes part of the review process.

Belew-Ledue feels that the local change with food inspection and licensing will have positive effects, “We can be more hands on, give more information in a timely way and we can provide personalization as well as better education. We aren’t coming from this as a punitive, but want to educate and provide the safest restaurant and food policies. We want to protect the health of Grand County.”

Inspector Hue explained that the state has 6 or 7 employees covering Grand County and other Rural counties as far south as Durango. Those employees were two hours away and it was difficult to meet them in person with the distance involved. Now, Hue can visit the restaurants to help them open.

“I am able to have inspections and follow up more quickly with issues so operations can resume. I can be more proactive and help in a more timely manner. We’ve done a lot of outreach on the new food codes that took effect January 1st and if restaurant owners have questions, please go to the grand county public health webpage and the retail food section for contacting me or for more information,” said Huse.
Huse moved here from Summit in elementary school and graduated from Middle Park High School.

She attended Montana State University and received a BS in Land Resource Management with an emphasis in political science and an emphasis in water resources and water quality. Hue now lives in Hot Sulphur Springs and she loves that she can walk to work.

Huse commented, “It’s been a great learning experience. I am near the end of 6 months of training from the state and transitioning to inspections on my own. In the coming months, I will be doing daycare and childcare facility inspections. I am already inspecting kitchens at the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. We are also working on putting together an outbreak response program.”

More information on the New Grand County Environmental Health Department can be found on the County website under Retail Food. License fees will now be paid to Grand County Health. Some Changes in CDPHE Food code for 2019 include:

  • At least one person affiliated with the facility with management/supervisor responsibility must be a Certified Food Protection Manager from an accredited program, and this change applies to most establishments.
  • Seven day date marks are required on certain ready-to-eat time/temperature control for safety (TCS) foods, and a date mark is required if food is held longer than 24 hours.
  • Procedures are required in all establishments in the event of a diarrhea or vomiting event. Operators must inform all employees on how to safely clean up bodily fluid discharges.
  • Hand washing is no longer required before every glove change. If no risk of contamination has occurred by task change, employees can change gloves without washing their hands.
  • A sign or poster notifying employees to wash their hands
    is required at all handwashing sinks used by food employees
    and must be clearly visible.
  • Refilling take-home food containers for food and beverages
    is now allowed. Operators will need to wash, rinse, sanitize, and inspect the refillable container if it is for food or a TCS beverage before refilling. Non-TCS beverages will be allowed to be refilled by the operator after rinsing with hot water, and can be refilled by the customer if contamination can be prevented.
  • Appliances and equipment are no longer required to be ANSI certified, but will still need to meet performance requirements.
  • The term “potentially hazardous” food has been changed to “time/temperature control for safety”