Change in food service licensing approved

EAST LIVERPOOL – Action taken this week by the city health board will change the method by which some food service establishments are licensed.

With member Amber Ramsey absent, the board voted at its meeting Wednesday in favor of a resolution prohibiting the transfer of retail food establishment and food service operation licenses between owners.

With passage of the resolution, all new business owners will have to obtain their own licenses, whether the business is purchased new, relocated, or transferred to a different owner.

In the past, a licensor was able to transfer the license during a sale or change in ownership, but health commissioner Carol Cowan told the board, “Most health departments don’t transfer licenses anymore.”

Sanitarian Tony Pasquarella explained to the board that it is better for an operator to obtain his or her own license rather than have a transferred license, and Cowan said, “It gives us more control,” saying after the meeting a transferred license could allow some issues to be grandfathered in whereas a new license enables Pasquarella to work with a new owner right from the beginning to make sure the business is in compliance in all areas.

She said, “We’re just doing what the state wants us to do.”

Board member Robert Duffy asked if any one business prompted the decision to prohibit license, and Pasquarella emphasized, “No, there is nothing punitive about this.”

In other matters, the board heard from Cowan that all 60 spots are filled for an April 29 cancer screening clinic, and that she may try to schedule another such clinic in the fall. Board member Dr. Jeff Caldwell offered to provide free oral cancer screening vouchers at his office for the clinic to go along with other free vouchers that will be given out that day.

Cowan also reported she had obtained a grant to purchase 112 bicycle helmets, the majority of which will be distributed during an upcoming kids safety day in July. More information on that event will be forthcoming. The remaining helmets will most likely be available at the health department, she said.

Saying she is beginning work on accreditation of the health department, Cowan said she will need board members willing to participate on a team to put together a strategic plan identifying weaknesses, strengths and goals. The plan must be submitted by July.

She advised the board a cost methodology study will also be presented for consideration at the next meeting.

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