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As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Department of Health will allow some “low-risk” food sellers to self-certify their inspections. This would include businesses that sell pre-packaged food and beverages with minimal food preparation. Even if this revision seems to be most relevant to 7-11s and gas stations, small food businesses will benefit from the reduced supervision. Restaurants who have not had a food safety related closing for 36 months will also be eligible to self-certify. Unfortunately, the main issue with the Department of Health has not been the frequency of inspections, so much as the amount of time it takes to have plans reviewed by the department and the inconsistent application of design regulations.

The Department of Health is a vast regulatory body that oversees everything related to public health. The Food Protection Division is just one segment of the department, and is responsible for restaurants, taverns, groceries, commissaries, and hot dog cars. Read the rest of this entry »

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