Gary W. Black
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Capitol Square • Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4201
DATE: May 15, 2017
ACTION: Notice of Intent to Adopt new Chapter 40-7-20 entitled “Additional Regulations Applicable to Unattended Food Sales Establishments”
TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS AND PARTIES:
Pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, O.C.G.A. § 26-2-34 and 50-13-4, notice is hereby given that the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be accepting written comments regarding adoption of new Food Division Regulations Chapter 40-7-20 entitled “Additional Regulations Applicable to Unattended Food Sales Establishments.” The Department will be accepting written comments from May 15, 2017, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on June 14, 2017.
SYNOPSIS, MAIN FEATURES AND DIFFERENCES:
The Department is proposing to adopt a new Food Divisions Regulations Chapter 40-7-20 entitled “Additional Regulations Applicable to Unattended Food Sales Establishments.”
With the advent of emerging technology and consumers’ demand for convenience, a market has developed for standalone, food sales establishments that fall outside the parameters of traditional stores. This new concept commonly referred to as “micro markets,” typically do not fit the traditional profile of a convenience store. Similarly, the open rack displays and unfettered access to the foods being offered for sale do not fit the usual mold of vending machines.
While these types of operations clearly exemplify food sales, the existing food sales regulations are insufficient to address the specific challenges associated with this business model. Compliance with requirements of certain regulations, like the person-in-charge provision, would prove unrealistic. The regulations pertaining to vending machines are too narrow in scope and are not with consistent with the operations of a micro market.
The FDA’s Conference for Food Protection (CFP) provides the mechanism by which regulations are codified in their model Food Code. The Food Code provides the basis for the Department’s regulations in Chapter 40-7-1. The CFP’s Unattended Food Establishment Committee examined the issue of micro markets as they pertain to the Food Code, and surveyed several states that have adopted legislation or regulations governing micro markets, or “unattended food establishments.” The committee released a guidance document that could assist state and local agencies when considering the regulation of Unattended Food Establishment. That document contains recommended minimum requirements for the operation of unattended food establishments. Those recommendations form the basis for this new chapter that we are promulgating.
Specifically, proposed Chapter 40-7-20 entitled “Additional Regulations Applicable to Unattended Food Sales Establishments” will establish definitions; provide food handling requirements; describe tasks required for servicing an unattended food sales establishment; set standards for maintenance, equipment, location, and facilities; define the responsibilities of the license holder; require video surveillance; and provide for food establishment plan review, license issuance, and time frames for correction of violations.
COMMENT PERIOD AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
The Department will be accepting written comments from May 15, 2017, to close of business (4:30 p.m. EDT) on June 14, 2017. Comments will be considered on June 15, 2017. Please submit written comments to:
Food Safety Division
Georgia Department of Agriculture
19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Telephone Number: (404) 656-3627
Interested persons may call or submit a written request to obtain a copy of the proposed rule. A copy of the synopsis and the proposed rule may be downloaded from the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at www.agr.georgia.gov.
This notice is given in compliance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-13-4.