For years, San Diego breweries have invited local caterers to set up food stands in their tasting rooms, so guests may purchase hot food in between swigs. Typically, no money changes hands between the two parties — the caterer earns money from the brewery’s customers, who consequently spend more time and money drinking beer.
A county ordinance passed late last year, however, could spell the end to this symbiotic relationship. An amendment to the county’s Department of Environmental Health regulations that went into effect on Jan. 14 outlines new permit requirements for both caterers and tasting rooms wishing to do business in this way. Catering companies will now be required to procure a Direct-Sales Catering Permit, while tasting rooms will need a newly created Host Facility Permit.
The new ordinance was approved by the county Board of Supervisors following a 2016 pilot study that observed retail catering practices at breweries, wineries and private events. The study of 25 sites concluded that at least half of the caterers violated the California Retail Food Code, which guides the county’s food safety standards.
Nearly a third of the caterers were found to be in violation of the code’s cold holding standards, which requires cold perishable items to be kept at or below 41 degrees. Most violations were attributed to the use of ice to maintain cold temperatures, rather than refrigerators. Roughly 50 percent of the caterers studied did not have access to a hand-washing sink. Now, the county will require portable refrigerators, and portable handwashing sinks.
County spokeswoman Alex Bell said the ordinance is intended to “provide a roadmap on how to move forward.”
Another spokesman, Gig Conaughton, said the new protocols are the first of their kind in California. “San Diego is leading the state with this level of flexibility for food service options.”
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
It's all fun and games until someone gets seriously sick. Then the dim-wit chorus wails over the incompetent officials we are burdened with. Lame. Do something useful - go get vaccinated.
I hafta throw my hat in with these other fine commenters: this sounds like an excuse for an extra tax where one is only possibly needed. Remember when kings would do this? Remember what happened to them?
You really can't fault the county for following the shining example set by both federal and state governments. "If it moves, regulate it....."
Have you had enough government yet?
Apparently, the breweries and food trucks aren't donating to the campaign funds of the Board of Supervisors.
@Joe Kols @Richard Bagnell Actually, the people who are most hurt by this are those food vendors who cannot afford to scale up to a food truck. Many folks can run a successful (and sanitary) business from a commercial kitchen, transporting the necessary equipment and food to and from locations. Don't act like a food truck is any more sanitary than a pop-up tent. This government action is completely cutting low-income business owners around the county!
@Richard Bagnell This is about protecting local restaurants from competition. Established businesses welcome just enough new regulations to impede startups.