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Alaska Food Protection Task Force Meeting Minutes

In Attendence

  • Katie Hubbard- ANTHC
  • Dr. Sarah Coburn - DEC/Office of the State Veterinarian
  • Brehan Kohl – DEC/FSS
  • Kim Stryker – DEC/FSS
  • Lizzy Buckingham – DEC/FSS
  • Bobbie McDonald – DEC/FSS
  • Jeremy Ayers – DEC/FSS

Program Updates - Kim Stryker

Program Updates:

  • Updates to the 18 AAC 34 regulations are in the works. The updates are for streamlining of the regulations, no changes to what people are doing. The updates will be sent for review within the next month or so.
  • The program is revising the Alaska Food Code. The revisions deal specifically with manufactured foods. The federal rules for preventative control will be added, and the revisions will specify who this will apply to. Most are manufacturing food firms in Alaska will be exempt from preventative controls, and larger establishments may be familiar with these rules. The changes will hopefully happen within a year. When the draft is finished, it will go out to comment for more than 30 days. Public workshops will happen to explain changes and allow people to ask questions.
  • Food Safety/Small Business Start-Up Conference: The conference will include action items, a task force, partnering with small businesses, and providing information about food safety. There may be a speaker from the AK Small Business Start-Up Conference.
  • Some budget for the program is still up in air – there has been a 50% of reduction in travel, however the program is not scheduled to lose any staff. There are currently some vacancies: 1 in Ketchikan, 1 in Anchorage, 1 in Wasilla, and 1 vacancy in Fairbanks has been filled.
  • Temporary Food Service permitting is in full swing, as well as seafood inspections.
  • The program got a 10 out of 10 on Manufactured Food Standards during the FDA Audit. Alaska is one of 24 states that received a 10 out of 10.

Member Updates

Jeremy Ayers

The Yuck line allows individuals to call, text, or send video about a foodborne illness or facility complaint. This will hopefully increase the number of people who will report on foodborne illness. FSS has partnered with the Center of Excellence out of Florida, which monitors Twitter for certain phrases that would indicate food poisoning in Alaska. In addition, the online reporting form has been updated to be specific to food, and it appears to be much more popular than the old ECU reporting form. There has been an increase in reporting.

Dr. Bob Gerlach

Produce inspections started nationally in April. This year the inspections will only take place in firms with over $500,000 in food sales. This accounts for one firm in Alaska, and the inspection will take place later this summer. The first year is intended to be an educational year of what is in the rule and what is expected.

Katie Hubbard

A safety professional in a tribal entity in Kenai wants to gain training to help with oversight of food facilities in their area. Some possible training include taking ServSafe, taking FDA trainings that may be beneficial and available online, and going out with Environmental Health Officers from FSS while they do inspections. A facility reached out to find out information on ATP monitoring for cleanliness. However, this is expensive and it would be more beneficial to focus on practices and spend money on training.

Topics for Next Meeting

How to promote YUCK line/Facility Complaints

Next Meeting October 19, 2019

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