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Lack of Info: New State Law Leaves Restaurant Owners, County Scratching Their Heads

WTVO/WQRF -- County health officials say the state owes them information on a new law taking effect in just a few weeks. It impacts virtually every business that dishes up food And it could take a big bite out of one local restaurant's budget.
WTVO/WQRF -- County health officials say the state owes them information on a new law taking effect in just a few weeks. It impacts virtually every business that dishes up food And it could take a big bite out of one local restaurant's budget. 

Step into Franchesco's kitchen and Chef Tino will transform an ordinary ingredient into something extraordinary.

But after 27 years in the business, taste isn't all that matters to the Rockford restaurant.

"We're very proud of the fact that we've never had any incidents as far as food poisoning or anything in that regard," said Benny Salamone, owner of Franchesco's Ristorante.

That fact is thanks to careful safety instructions like temperature charts and certified food managers. But the state is asking more. Beginning July first, virtually every restaurant employee will need a food handler's license.

Bill hatfield, boone co. Health department: "anyone who handles food, handles utensils, or comes in contact with food contact surfaces."

The problem? Boone County Environmental Health Director Bill Hatfield says not many people know much about the new law, including his department.

"This is something that will affect all of our food facilities, and we have yet to figure out exactly how we're going to enforce this requirement," said Hatfield.

Hatfield says the class can be taken online and the cost is about 10 bucks. It's money that adds up when nearly every employee needs a license.

" I have over 130 employees and when I do the math real quickly, it could be quite costly for myself as well as other businesses in Rockford," said Salamone.

He says improving food safety is always a priority, but the new law is excessive.

"It's very, very difficult to justify everything that's being asked of us by the state," said Salamone.

The new law will not impact volunteer workers. It's still required that there be a certified food manager on staff for every shift.



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