5 On Your Side

Experts say overhaul of food safety standards is long overdue

Posted April 12, 2012 9:09 p.m. EDT

— State legislators considered changes Thursday to overhaul food safety standards that were implemented over 35 years ago. Food experts say the changes are long overdue.

Larry Michael, a spokesman from NC Dairy & Food Protection, said people are now realizing that "safe food is good business."

"This is a win for public health, and it's also a win for industry," Michael said.

Some of the proposed changes include prohibiting workers from handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and doing away with the bonus points restaurants can earn by completing a two-day food safety course.

New regulations would require a certified food protection manager to be on site whenever the establishment is open. Employees would be able to earn that certification online.

Not everyone is on board with the changes. Some restaurant owners fear that the new rules will be too costly or not practical.

The changes will combine rules from the FDA food code with tweaked state rules. If the changes are accepted, they won't go into effect until September at the earliest.