1997 Regular Session
To: Agriculture; Public Health and Welfare
By: Representative Holland (By Request)
House Bill 1407
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO CREATE NEW SECTION 69-1-18, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE TO CONDUCT SANITATION INSPECTION IN CERTAIN RETAIL FOOD STORES; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSIONER TO LICENSE RETAIL FOOD STORES; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following section shall be codified as Section 69-1-18, Mississippi Code of 1972:
69-1-18. (1) The commissioner may conduct sanitation inspections in retail food stores. "Retail food store" means any establishment where food and food products are offered for sale to the ultimate consumer and intended for off-premise consumption. Such food or food products may be exposed to varying degrees of preparation and may often need further preparation or processing after it has been purchased. "Retail food store" shall not mean a food service establishment as defined by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
(2) The commissioner is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to establish inspection parameters and other matters as may be necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section.
(3) Each retail food store, before engaging in business, shall obtain a license from the commissioner for each place of business or facility where such business is conducted. Application for license shall be made on forms prescribed and furnished by the commissioner. Licenses issued under this subsection by the commissioner shall expire on June 30 each year and application for renewals thereof shall be made annually before the expiration date. Such licenses shall not be transferrable and application must be made for a new license if there is any change in the location or ownership of the business.
(4) The commissioner may publish the names and addresses of violators and such information pertaining to violation(s) of this section as he deems appropriate.
(5) Any person found by the commissioner to be in violation of this section may be assessed a penalty in an amount of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and subsequent violations within a six-month period at a penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00). In addition to, or in lieu of, such penalties the commissioner may suspend or revoke the permit issued to such person under terms of this section. The commissioner shall notify such person of such action in writing delivered by United States mail. Such person shall have fifteen (15) days after the notice is mailed within which to request in writing a hearing before the commissioner or his designee for the purpose of deciding whether or not the penalty imposed should be allowed to stand. The commissioner may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documents or physical evidence, to administer oaths and hear testimony.
If such person does not deliver the written request for a hearing within the time to the commissioner, the commissioner's original decision shall be final. An appeal, if taken, must be perfected within thirty (30) days after the decision of the commissioner with the circuit court of the county of the residence of the accused. If such person is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, the case shall be appealed to the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. If any penalty imposed by the commissioner is not paid within thirty (30) days of becoming final, the commissioner may take appropriate legal action to collect such penalty and the court shall award the commissioner reasonable attorney's fees and court costs to collect the penalty.
The commissioner may invoke the remedy of injunction to enforce any of the provisions of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.