Bill S814-2013

Establishes a public food vending business grading system for cities with a population of one million or more

Establishes a public food vending business grading system for cities with a population of one million of more.

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  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO HEALTH

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S814

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the public health law, in relation to establishing a public food vending business grading system for cities with a population of one million or more

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

The NYS Department of Health (DOH) shall establish and implement a uniform grading system consisting of letters A, B, and C to classify inspection results for mobile food service establishments, commonly known as food vendors. Such inspection grades shall be posted in a conspicuous location, easily visible by the consumer. Such letter grades and the criteria for designating such letter grades shall be established by Rule and shall be set by the Department of Health (DOH) based on objective criteria that evaluates each food vendor's sanitation and food handling practices.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Definitions

Section 2: Adds a new Public Health Law Section 1352-d to authorize DOH to establish and implement a uniform letter grading system to classify inspection results for food vendors that serve food to the general public. The bill requires food vendors engaged in the preparation, sale or service of food for the general public to display the letter grade (A, B, or C) received on its most recent inspection in a conspicuous manner.

Such grades shall be based on objective criteria that reflects the safety and sanitation of the establishment and its food handling practices. DOH, in establishing criteria for awarding a restaurant's letter grade, shall consider only the conditions of a food vending business related to its food handling practices and the general sanitary condition.

The bill provides safeguards to ensure that an accurate inspection is conducted that truly reflects the cleanliness of such establishment. Under this bill, if a food service establishment does not receive a letter grade "A", the restaurant owner will receive the findings upon which the grade is based. Further, the establishment can ask for a re-inspection to receive a higher grade. Such re-inspection must be conducted within 7 to 21 days. Upon such re-inspection, the local health inspector shall assign a letter grade for posting.

Pursuant to the State Administrative Procedure Act and the State Sanitary Code, after the second inspection, each public food vendor may appeal, on an expedited basis, the letter grade assigned to it and petition for a different letter grade. During the pendency of this appeal the second letter grade awarded shall be posted on the food vendor's pushcart or vehicle.

The letter grade program shall not apply to the following food service establishments:

- those food vendors located outside of New York City

JUSTIFICATION:

DOH is charged with inspecting and supervising all public places in New York in which food is prepared, sold or served, including restaurants and cafeterias. Inspectors from local health departments conduct unannounced inspections of food service establishments to evaluate the safety and sanitation of the premises, and monitor food handling practices to ensure adequate compliance with state and local laws.

Since July of 2010, New York City has been issuing letter grades for restaurants. These grades are based off of how the restaurant fares in its inspection and sends a clear message to consumers on how sanitary the conditions are and safely food is being tended to.

In New York City there is a large population that is served by mobile vendors operating out of pushcarts and vehicles and this customer base should be able to have the same means of ascertaining how the premises and food are kept as they currently are able to do with traditional restaurants. Given that food vendors operate in a manner in which both the implements and ingredients can be exposed to the elements and therefore compromised in a number of ways, it is vital that these vendors be subject to the same oversight and scrutiny.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.3583 Referred to Health

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a law. The commissioner of health is authorized to promulgate any and all rules and regulations and take any other measures necessary to implement this act on its effective date on or before such date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 814 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. ADAMS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to establishing a public food vending business grading system for cities with a popu- lation of one million or more THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section 1352-d to read as follows: S 1352-D. PUBLIC FOOD VENDING BUSINESS GRADING SYSTEM. 1. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: A. "FOOD VENDOR" SHALL MEAN A PERSON WHO HAWKS, PEDDLES, SELLS OR OFFERS FOOD FOR SALE AT RETAIL IN ANY PUBLIC SPACE; B. "FOOD VENDING BUSINESS" SHALL MEAN THE BUSINESS OF SELLING OR OFFERING FOOD FOR SALE AT RETAIL IN A PUBLIC SPACE; C. "PUBLIC SPACE" SHALL MEAN ALL PUBLICLY OWNED PROPERTY BETWEEN THE PROPERTY LINES ON A STREET AS SUCH PROPERTY LINES ARE SHOWN ON PUBLIC RECORDS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, A PARK, PLAZA, ROADWAYS, SHOUL- DER, TREE SPACE, SIDEWALK OR PARKING SPACE BETWEEN SUCH PROPERTY LINES. IT SHALL ALSO INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, PUBLICLY OWNED OR LEASED LAND, BUILDINGS, PIERS, WHARFS, STADIUMS AND TERMINALS; D. "PUSHCART" SHALL MEAN ANY WHEELED VEHICLE OR DEVICE USED BY A FOOD VENDING BUSINESS OR FOOD VENDOR, OTHER THAN A MOTOR VEHICLE OR TRAILER, WHICH MAY BE MOVED WITH OR WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF A MOTOR AND WHICH DOES NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES; E. "VEHICLE" SHALL MEAN A MOTOR VEHICLE OR TRAILER, AS DEFINED IN THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW; AND
F. "VEND" SHALL MEAN TO HAWK, PEDDLE, SELL OR OFFER TO SELL FOOD AT RETAIL IN A PUBLIC SPACE, DELIVERED IMMEDIATELY UPON CONSUMMATION OF PURCHASE. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH A SYSTEM FOR GRADING INSPECTION RESULTS FOR A FOOD VENDING BUSINESS OPERATING OUT OF PUSHCARTS AND VEHI- CLES WHERE FOOD IS PREPARED, SOLD OR SERVED FOR CONSUMPTION BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC. SUCH SYSTEM SHALL USE AND POST LETTERS A, B OR C TO IDENTIFY AND REPRESENT SUCH GRADING AND CLASSIFICATION WITH ALL OTHER LOWER GRADES BEING DEEMED TO BE FAILING GRADES. IN ESTABLISHING SUCH SYSTEM OF GRADING, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE PROVISIONS OF LOCAL LAWS RELATING TO FOOD SANITATION IN ORDER TO ESTAB- LISH A GRADING SYSTEM THAT REFLECTS THE SAFETY AND SANITATION OF THE PREMISES AND FOOD HANDLING PRACTICES TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH STATE AND LOCAL HEALTH LAWS. 3. SUCH FOOD VENDING PUSHCART OR VEHICLE SHALL CONSPICUOUSLY POST THE LETTER GRADE IDENTIFYING AND REPRESENTING THE RESULT OF SUCH FOOD VENDOR'S MOST RECENTLY GRADED INSPECTION BY THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER. SUCH POSTING SHALL BE DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE COMMISSIONER. FOR ANY FOOD VENDING BUSINESS RECEIVING A GRADE LOWER THAN "A", THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER SHALL ADVISE THE FOOD VENDOR OF ITS GRADE AND THE FINDINGS UPON WHICH SUCH GRADE IS BASED. THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER SHALL CONDUCT A SUBSEQUENT INSPECTION OF SUCH FOOD VENDING BUSINESS NO SOONER THAN SEVEN DAYS, NOR LATER THAN TWENTY-ONE DAYS AFTER THE INSPECTION AT WHICH THE GRADE WAS GIVEN. IN THE INTERIM, THE PREVIOUS LETTER GRADE SHALL REMAIN POSTED. UPON THE CONCLUSION OF THE SUBSEQUENT INSPECTION, THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER SHALL DELIVER FOR POSTING A LETTER TO THE FOOD VENDING BUSINESS WHICH INDICATES THE GRADE FOR SUCH INSPECTION. IN ADDITION TO A LETTER GRADE, SUCH FOOD VENDOR SHALL RECEIVE THE FINDINGS UPON WHICH SUCH GRADE IS BASED. THE FOOD VENDING BUSINESS MAY APPEAL SUCH SUBSEQUENT ASSIGNMENT OF A LETTER GRADE DESIGNATION TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR REVIEW WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF SUCH ASSIGNMENT. WHILE ANY SUCH APPEAL IS PENDING, A FOOD VENDING BUSINESS SHALL POST THE LETTER GRADE THAT IS BEING APPEALED. 4. THE SUGGESTED INTERVAL BETWEEN REGULARLY SCHEDULED INSPECTIONS OF FOOD VENDING BUSINESS MAY BE AS FOLLOWS: A. FOR FOOD VENDORS WITH A GRADE OF "A", AT LEAST ONCE EVERY YEAR; AND B. FOR FOOD VENDORS WITH A GRADE OF "B", AT LEAST ONCE EVERY NINE MONTHS. 5. A FOOD VENDING BUSINESS THAT REQUESTS A REINSPECTION FROM THE LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER, SHALL PAY THE DEPARTMENT A FEE OF UP TO TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS. PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT NEGATE THE ABILITY OF ANY LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER TO INSPECT ANY FOOD VENDING BUSINESS ON THE BASIS OF A COMPLAINT FROM A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC. 6. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO A FOOD VENDING BUSINESS WHICH IS NOT LOCATED IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE. S 2. This act shall take effect one year after it shall have become a law. Provided, however, that effective immediately, any rules and regu- lations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effec- tive date are authorized and directed to be completed on or before such date.

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