Archive for Thursday, December 10, 2009

Details emerge on how transfer of food inspections will affect Douglas County

Andrew Stull, an environmental health specialist for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, conducts a food inspection in 2008 in the cafeteria at Woodlawn School, 508 Elm St. The county health department is losing its contract with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to provide food operation inspections. Stull will remain employed at the health department and conduct other inspections. But, two other longtime employees will lose their jobs as a result of the contract cut, which goes into effect Jan. 9, 2010.

Andrew Stull, an environmental health specialist for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, conducts a food inspection in 2008 in the cafeteria at Woodlawn School, 508 Elm St. The county health department is losing its contract with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to provide food operation inspections. Stull will remain employed at the health department and conduct other inspections. But, two other longtime employees will lose their jobs as a result of the contract cut, which goes into effect Jan. 9, 2010.

December 10, 2009

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The Kansas Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it was going to cut its $90,000 contract with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department to provide restaurant inspections.

The contract ends Jan. 9.

Here are more details about how the contract termination will affect Douglas County. The story first appeared Tuesday.

Today, there are two full-time inspectors from the local health department who inspect about 435 restaurants and other operations where food is served for immediate consumption on or off site. The Kansas Department of Agriculture has one inspector living in Douglas County who inspects the grocery and convenience stores, food processors and manufacturers, and food wholesalers and warehouses. There are about 150 of these establishments.

Starting Jan. 9, KDA will employ three inspectors, who live in Douglas County, to provide all of the food inspections in Douglas County. But, two of the inspectors will cover more than just Douglas County. One inspector will cover Douglas County and parts of Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties. Another inspector will cover Douglas County and parts of Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

The loss of the contract caused the local health department to eliminate two of its four positions within environmental health. There were two inspectors who were certified to conduct all inspections and two inspectors who were not trained in food service. After the contract ends, there will be two inspectors whose primary inspection duties will be sanitary code and recreational water facilities.

Statewide, KDA also cut its contracts with Geary, Reno, Riley and Saline counties. The five county contracts cost KDA about $245,000 each year, or 8.4 percent of its $2.9 million budget for food safety.

The contract cuts come on the heels of KDA’s announcement last week that it would cut safety and sanitation inspections of hotels, motels and other overnight lodging operations.

The agency lost $303,000 in Gov. Mark Parkinson’s latest round of state budget cuts. The cost of the lodging inspection program is $240,000 annually.

The department moved three full-time lodging inspectors into the state’s food safety program.

According to KDA, the current facility-to-inspector ratio is 391 to 1. After the contracts end, the ratio will be 398 to 1. The department oversees 11,969 licenses and has 30 inspectors.

To find food inspection reports, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Web site.

Comments

thewayitis 5 years, 5 months ago

They aren't saving 245,000 or 8.4% of the budget. KDHE still has to pay the salaries of inspectors whether it is by contract or week by week. Th e inspection system is paid by the licensee's anyway at appx 200 per renewal plus 250 for new license do the math and the state is making a killing on Dg Co for appx 800 licenses. 90,000 divided by 2 inspectors in Dg Co plus other costs isn't much. They will have to spend the same no matter how they do it, they are just splitting hairs really. Rod Bremby is still an idiot.

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