At Last The Mystery is Over — California Decides What Constitutes a “Hot Dog”
California will define what a “hot dog” is in legislation moving through the Senate.
If approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, California’s food safety code will say a hot dog is:
“A whole, cured, cooked sausage that is skinless or stuffed in a casing and that is also known as a frankfurter, frank, further, wiener, red hot, Vienna, bologna, garlic bologna, or knockwurst, and that may be served in a bun or roll.”
The California Retail Food Safety Coalition sought inclusion of the hot dog definition in SB 946, a bill introduced by the Senate Health Committee to make various technical changes in statute.
The hot dog definition and a requirement that employees in places where food is prepared must wash their hands before putting on gloves will find their way into the California Retail Food Code, known as CalCode, created in 2006 through 103-page legislation sponsored by the coalition.
CalCode replaced the Californian Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law, enacted in 1985. The initial law led to creation of the coalition of restaurateurs, retailers, grocers and others involved in food preparation.
The 2006 bill, SB 144, was carried by then Sen. George Runner, a Lancaster Republican, in an attempt to make California’s food safety laws mirror those contained in the federal Model Food Code, which is updated every two years by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The law contains everything from the proper heating of different foods, to lighting intensity to prohibitions on allowing vermin inside.
For example, food cannot be stored in locker rooms, toilet rooms or under open stairwells
California shares about 90 percent of the same provisions as federal law.
The requirement to wash hands before putting on gloves is already in state law.
Now the requirement for hand washing would read:
“Before initially donning gloves for working with food and before donning gloves to replace gloves that were changed or replaced due to the circumstances described in paragraphs (2) to (10), inclusive.”
Among the activities after which hand washing is necessary:
“After touching bare human body parts other than clean hands and clean, exposed portions of arms.
“After using the toilet room.
“After caring for or handling any animal allowed in a food facility pursuant to this part.
“After coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief or disposable tissue, using tobacco, eating, or drinking.
“After handling soiled equipment or utensils.” And
“During food preparation, as often as necessary to remove soil and contamination and to prevent cross-contamination when changing tasks.”
The actual hand washing itself is to be conducted this way:
“All employees shall thoroughly wash their hands and that portion, if any, of their arms exposed to direct food contact with cleanser and warm water by vigorously rubbing together the surfaces of their lathered hands and arms for at least 10 to 15 seconds and thoroughly rinsing with clean running water followed by drying of cleaned hands and that portion, if any, of their arms exposed. Employees shall pay particular attention to the areas underneath the fingernails and between the fingers.”
Many of the pages in Runner’s bill are devoted to definitions which is where the hot dog paragraph will be housed.
For example, Section 113769 of the Health and Safety Code describes “egg” as “the shell egg of the domesticated chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or guinea.”
Several sections later, “fish” is defined:
“ ‘Fish’ means fresh or saltwater finfish, crustaceans and other forms of aquatic life, other than birds or mammals, and all molluscan shellfish, if intended for human consumption. ‘Fish’ also includes alligator, frog, aquatic turtle, jellyfish, sea cucumber and sea urchin, and the roe of these animals.”
As defined, “game animals” do not include “ratites such as ostrich, emu, and rhea.”
Ratites, as the examples suggest, are a class of large flightless birds.
Hot dog would most likely find its future home between “hermetically sealed container” and “imminent health hazard.”
Among the other actions this year’s SB 946 would take is strike “telemedicine” from the codes and replace it with “telehealth.”
According to the California Telemedicine and eHealth Center, telemedicine is the providing patient care from a distance while telehealth encompasses a broader array of services that can be provided remotely.
The Department of Health Services is also absolved from reporting to the Legislature by January 1, 2008 about telemedicine-rerlated payments under Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor.
Filed under: Legislature/Legislation
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