DHEC Develops Innovative Procedures for Virtual Food Safety Checks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 10, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has developed an innovative emergency procedure for conducting virtual food safety checks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing a variety of video conferencing services, DHEC inspectors can virtually evaluate retail food operations at establishments around the state, allowing the agency to continue its food safety oversight while also protecting public health by adhering to social distancing measures.
DHEC can also use this new technology to perform virtual preoperational inspections that will assist restaurant owners who may be in the process of opening a new restaurant during this unprecedented time.
“Through our partnership with the restaurant industry, this creative approach allows us to stay connected with these essential businesses while we continue our oversight of food safety compliance,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s Director of Environmental Affairs. “We’re working together to help ensure the food that customers order is safe.”
During the virtual checks, DHEC staff can discuss current operational challenges and address any concerns restaurant operators may have. Afterward, the restaurant operator will receive a completed DHEC Food Safety Check via email, and the check report will be posted on the S.C. Food Grades website.
“We applaud DHEC on their continuing, strong commitment to keeping our restaurants safe for consumers,” said John Durst, President and CEO of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA). “This need exists more now than it has in any other emergency we have faced together. We strongly encourage food service establishments across the state to contact DHEC and set up a virtual visit.”
The SCRLA will work with DHEC to ensure food safety and compliance across the state.
If you would like for DHEC to conduct a food safety check at your facility, please contact your regional DHEC office. For a brief look at what a virtual food check looks like, please see a video here.
For the latest guidance and recommendations about COVID-19 and retail food establishments, visit www.scdhec.gov/COVID19.