Food and Recreation
The Bureau of Food and Recreation is responsible for enforcing regulations related to the proper and safe operation of many programs. Staff monitor food service establishments that include restaurants, delis, school cafeterias and luncheonettes. Catering and hot dog trucks, food vending machines and the food stands at street fairs and carnivals are also regulated. The Bureau is responsible for public swimming pools, bathing beaches, and children’s camps. Duties include conducting routine inspections, responding to complaints from the public and the investigation of reports of illness or injury associated with these establishments. Bureau staff also conduct a five-hour Food Safety Class that is required of all food service managers. The program is offered four times a year and approximately 350 certificates are issued annually.
The public may access inspection information by going to www.rocklandrestaurantcheck.com
Every food service establishment in the county is listed. Prospective patrons may learn if their restaurant of choice has a satisfactory inspection history. The website is updated weekly.
The Rockland County Legislature in 2010 passed a local law regarding the use of trans fat in food service establishments in the county. “The Rockland County Healthy Heart Act” will become effective January 1, 2011. Restaurants will be prohibited from using partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO), a major source of trans fat, for cooking and frying, and they will not be permitted to serve foods that contain PHVO unless the food is served in the original manufacturer’s sealed container. The operator must also retain labels for foods in order to show that PHVO is not used during food preparation. On routine inspections of food service establishments, Bureau staff will be reviewing the foods in every establishment to ensure compliance with the law. Restaurant owners will be mailed informational packets and then given one written warning before enforcement proceedings are initiated.
The Bureau has provided all public swimming pools in the county with information regarding a recently enacted federal law, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The law requires that pool operators install approved drain covers to prevent entrapment. The law was passed after several patrons nationwide, including children, drowned due to very strong suction on the drains located on the bottom or sides of pools and spas. The new covers are designed to prevent entrapment and loss of life. Bureau staff visited every public pool and spa to determine if the operator was in compliance with the federal law.