Restaurants and food facilities that are normally inspected by the state will need to be checked by the Bureau of Food Safety before they can reopen from flood damage. The State Agriculture Department has brought in food sanitarians from areas not hit hard by the flooding to inspect restaurants and food facilities that were damaged.
Spokeswoman Samantha Elliot Krepps says the establishments can only be inspected after flood waters recede and the facilities are thoroughly cleaned. Food affected by flooding will have to be thrown out. Some canned goods may be salvageable, but they must be thoroughly cleaned with a mixture of bleach and water, and relabeled. She says it’s a very tedious process.
Krepps says food sanitarians started checking some establishments over the weekend. Some were not damaged, but were affected by boil water orders. They needed to disconnect ice machines and use alternative water sources to remain open. Employees need to wash their hands with water that has been boiled. Other restaurants had water damage and there were some that were destroyed.
Krepps says they want to give the restaurant owners ample time to clean up and get their facilities reopened. She says the department’s main responsibility is to protect the public’s health and help the restaurant and food facility owners get back on their feet so they can operate.