2000 Regular Session
By: Representative Holland
House Bill 591
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 69-1-18, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE OWNERS OF RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS TO PAY AN ANNUAL LICENSE FEE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE; TO REVISE DEFINITIONS; TO INCREASE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR AN INFORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW UPON REQUEST OF THE ACCUSED; TO PROVIDE APPEAL PROCEDURES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 69-1-18, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
69-1-18. (1) The following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Potentially hazardous food" means a food that is natural or synthetic and that requires temperature control because it is in a form capable of supporting: the growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms; the growth and toxin production of Clostridium botulinum; or in raw shell eggs, the growth of salmonella enteritis. "Potentially hazardous food" includes an animal food (of animal origin) that is raw or heat-treated; a food of plant origin that is heat-treated or consists of raw seed sprouts; and cut melons.
(b) "Retail food establishment" 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. A retail food establishment does not include:
(i) An establishment that offers only prepackaged foods that are not potentially hazardous;
(ii) A produce stand that only offers whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables;
(iii) A food processing plant; and
(iv) A food establishment as defined by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
(2) The commissioner and his agents shall have the authority:
(a) To promulgate rules and regulations establishing certain sanitation requirements for retail food establishments;
(b) To conduct sanitation inspections in retail food establishments; and
(c) To publish the names and addresses of violators and such information pertaining to violation(s) of this section as he deems appropriate.
(3) Each retail food establishment, before engaging in business, shall obtain a license from the commissioner. Owners of more than one (1) retail food establishment must obtain a license for each establishment. A license fee of Ten Dollars ($10.00) must be paid to the department before a license will be issued. Application for such 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. Licenses shall not be transferable and application must be made for a new license if there is any change in location or ownership of the business.
(4) Any person who violates any provision of this law or the regulations adopted hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be punished by the imposition of a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed six (6) months, or both.
(5) The commissioner may impose administrative penalties for violation of this section.
(6) 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. * * *
(7) When any violation of this section or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder occurs, or is about to occur, that presents a clear and present danger to the public health, safety or welfare requiring immediate action, the commissioner or any of the department's field inspectors, or any other persons authorized by the commissioner, may issue an order to be effective immediately before notice and a hearing, that imposes any or all of the following penalties against the accused: (a) a stop sale order on any product in violation of this section; (b) an order to seize any product that is not in compliance with this section and require it to be denatured or destroyed under the supervision of the department's inspectors; or (c) an order that the retail food establishment or any department within such establishment cease operations until it is in compliance with this section. The order shall be served upon the accused in accordance with Rule 4 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure or certified mail or it may be served by giving a copy of the order to the manager of the retail food establishment or, where no manager is present, an employee of the establishment. The accused shall then have twenty (20) days after service of the order upon him within which to request an informal administrative review before the Director of the Bureau of Regulatory Services in the department, or the director's designee, who shall act as reviewing officer. If the accused makes such a request within such time, the reviewing officer shall provide an informal administrative review to the accused within ten (10) days after such request is made. If the accused does not request an informal administrative review within twenty (20) days, then he shall have waived his right to such review. At the informal administrative review, there shall be no court reporter or record made of the proceedings. Each party may present its case in the form of documents, oral statements or any other method. The rules of evidence shall not apply. The reviewing officer's decisions shall be in writing, and it shall be delivered by certified mail. If the accused is aggrieved by the order of the hearing officer, he may appeal to the commissioner for a full evidentiary hearing. Such appeal shall be perfected by filing a notice of appeal with the commissioner within thirty (30) days after the order of the reviewing officer is served on the appealing party. The hearing before the commissioner or his designee shall be held within a reasonable time after the appeal has been perfected. Failure to perfect an appeal within the allotted time shall be deemed a waiver of such right.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2000.