Knoxville — Marion County Public Health is hosting a special meeting for all registered or potential food vendors during the RAGBRAI® event on Tuesday, July 2, at 3 p.m.
Environmental Health Director Cory Frank said that he will be working with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals during RAGBRAI® to inspect food stands for proper safety procedures. This meeting will be held to share some of those requirements and expectations.
Requirements are listed in an attachment to this article, or it can be downloaded from this link http://dia.iowa.gov/Temporary%20Food%20Service%20Establishments.pdf.
Frank encourages local groups to offer food and do what they can to make money. He and the DIA just want to ensure that things are done properly. It is also an effort to maintain a good reputation, and image of Knoxville and the other Marion County locations the riders will visit, by fighting potential health problems.
"We don't want to be known as that place along the RAGBRAI® route," Frank said. It is always better to prevent issues, than to try to react to them, he added.
Issues to be covered include proper handwashing and keeping food items at a proper temperature. Gloves are also key in food safety.
Not everything will be inspected. For instance, the DIA will not bother a child's lemonade stand or those serving bottled water and something such as a banana.
Churches, serving inside their buildings, will also not be inspected. However, if the food is served along the sidewalk or other public right of way, inspections will take place. A permit is required and must be obtained through the DIA. Frank said these permits are not included in the registration with the City of Knoxville.
Food vendors that "pop up" the day of the event will likely be shut down, as they will not likely have a permit. DIA inspectors will also not have the time to go through the process with them. Frank said the DIA is not there to try to stifle fund raising or participation; this is all for safety.
The July 2 meeting will be held in the training room at Public Health, located on Highway 14 on the north side of Knoxville, near Motor Inn.