Food digest August 2018

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food digest

August 2018

In this issue

Revisions to Hennepin County’s recycling ordinance now available for public comment

The county has released its draft revisions to the recycling ordinance, which includes a requirement for businesses that generate large quantities of food waste to implement food waste recycling by January 1, 2020. Requirements would apply to certain businesses, including restaurants, hotels, grocers, food manufacturers/distributors and others, that generate one ton of trash or more per week or contract for weekly collection of eight or more cubic yards of trash. To be in compliance with the proposed requirements, businesses must:

  • Have food waste recycling service in place
  • Provide food waste collection containers back-of-house and properly label them
  • Separate food waste from trash in back-of-house operations
  • Provide education and train employees annually

Review a summary of the proposed requirements and the draft revisions. Comments are being accepted through August 17 via a survey or by email to

Stay informed about the process by signing up to receive county notifications with updates.


    Cleaning wipes: how to use them safely in the kitchen

    lysol 1

    Cleaning wipes are popular items in the arsenal of busy germaphobes. In fact, we have now entered the era of DIY cleaning wipes and a social consciousness of these product’s impact on the environment. They come in an overwhelming variety from cell phone cleaners to biodegradable earth-friendly sorts, but are these cleaning wipes safe to use in your licensed food operation? The key to that answer is on the label. 

    Cleaning wipes are okay to use in the kitchen if the label contains instructions specific for “food contact surfaces” or “for surfaces that come in contact with food.” If the label does not have these instructions, then those wipes are not appropriate for your kitchen. The instructions for use must be strictly followed. The use of sanitizer test strips must also be used to ensure the concentration is within the required range.

    Wipes are often highly concentrated, and they will leave an unsafe residual amount of chemical on your counters or surfaces. This is why the labels say to rinse after using the wipes. You do not want that excess chemical getting into your food or mouth. 

    There may also be a specific amount of time in which the surface needs to remain “wet” with the chemicals. This is called the contact time. It is important to note if the label indicates a certain contact time is needed in order to work as promised.

    Please remember that it is never safe to use cleaning wipes to wash dishes or clean porous surfaces (such as wood). Those surfaces require the old fashioned wash-rinse-sanitize and air dry methods that you have used in the past.

    For questions about using wipes in your food operation, contact your health inspector or our inspector on call at 612-543-5200. 

        lysol 2
        Testing the concentration of sanitizer wipes using quaternary ammonium test strips. Concentration should be between 200-400 ppm.

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        Is your can opener hiding something?

        If you haven’t taken a close look at your can opener recently, there is no time like the present. Due to the frequency of use and the difficulty of cleaning, can openers often get overlooked in kitchens, which can cause problems.

        There is the obvious food and oil residues that build up on the hand-held unit and counter mounts. An area that may be overlooked is the interior portion that houses the blade -- metal shavings from the blade and can rims can accumulate here. These small pieces of metal will fall into freshly opened cans if not cleaned out regularly. This is a serious health hazard for everyone.

        can opener
        Dirty can opener

        Can openers need to be washed at a frequency which eliminates the food debris and metal shavings building up inside. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions and clean more often if needed. Remember that all sorts of bacteria can grow within food residues and that the piercing part of a can opener blade touches the food in the can while opening.

        4626.0840 4-601.11 from the Minnesota Food Code states that, “equipment food contact surfaces and utensils shall be clean to sight and touch.” Please ensure your can openers meet this requirement.  

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        Basic food safety class offered in September


        Hennepin County Health Department will be offering a basic food safety class:

        Thursday September 13, 2018

        9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

        1011 South 1st Street, Hopkins

        Second floor, room 233

        The flyer with further information can be found on our website under the Basic food safety class tab. Questions can be answered by calling our office at 612-543-5200.

        Section 7 K. from the Hennepin County food ordinance states that food establishments exempt from needing a Certified Food Manager (4626.2010 lists the exemptions) still need a person in charge, trained in basic food safety, during all hours of operation. This training can be accomplished by attending an approved basic food safety course such as this one offered in September.

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        Web resources

        Visit for information on:

        • General environmental health 
        • Basic food safety classes 
        • Temporary food stand licensing 
        • Food license information, categories, and fee schedule 
        • New construction or remodeling application 

          Radon information and test kits

          Septic system requirements and procedures

          Body art licensing information (tattooing and piercing)

          Beaches in Hennepin County


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          About us

          Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from Hennepin County Public Health Department. Articles are meant to support and educate Hennepin County food facility owners and operators. Topics focus on food safety and requirements from the Minnesota Food Code and Hennepin County food ordinance.


          1011 South 1st Street, Suite 215
          Hopkins, MN 55343-9413

          8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


          Past issues

          Previous issues of Food digest available in our archive.


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          Hannah Marschinke


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