CSEA-Represented Food Inspectors ‘Are Key’ To Public Health, ‘Working To Conduct These Essential Services That Help Keep The Public Safe’
(GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK) - Does this establishment appear to be clean?
Is the dishwasher hot enough to sanitize dishes?
Is food being stored at the proper temperature?
Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Member Danielle Mahoney, who serves as Area Supervisor and Deputy Director of the Nassau County Office of Food Protection, nods her head approvingly as she asks herself these questions while inspecting a local restaurant for compliance with New York State’s health codes.
CSEA Members in Nassau County are among the Local Government Workers across the state who conduct these essential services that keep the public safe.
Mahoney, along with colleagues such as CSEA Member and Program Director for Mobile Units Melanie Williams, inspect food service facilities - including restaurants, daycare centers and school kitchens.
Their exemplary work is one of the reasons why the Nassau County Department of Health was named the 2018 National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Local Health Department of the Year.
The Inspectors prioritize their days based on public complaints and illness investigations.
Once they review that information, they prioritize general inspections.
“We enter the facility unannounced, introduce ourselves and ask for whomever is in charge,” Mahoney said. “We then enter the kitchen and look for imminent health hazards that contribute to illness. (These hazards) have to be corrected immediately.”
Food Inspectors also look for overall cleanliness.
If necessary, they also discuss with Food Service Staff the importance of having a Sick Worker Policy and educate them on foodborne illness pathogens.
“A lot of what we do supports educating Food Service Providers,” Mahoney said. “People need to know why we’re asking certain questions and why they are in, or out of, compliance.”
Inspectors also discuss with Food Service Staff corrective actions that would help improve their establishments - and their products.
If Inspectors find an imminent health hazard, they ask Establishment Staff to voluntarily dispose of food items that led to the hazard.
If the establishment Staff refuses to do so, the Inspector has the power of embargo.
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