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Concession stands at Forsyth County parks not being inspected
Commissioners delegate the responsibilities to Board of Health
Cole Ferguson asks for the price of an item at the concession stand at Central Park, while Joshua Hart waits behind him. - photo by Jim Dean

Concession stands at county parks may not currently be receiving food safety inspections, based on information that came to light at a Board of Commissioners work session Tuesday.

At the May 23 meeting, commissioners were presented with a letter from Ed Carter, county manager for the Forsyth County Environmental Health Department, requesting clarification of “the requirements related to food safety at temporary nonprofit events.”

“The purpose of the letter is to take us up on a state statute which authorizes the county to issue temporary food service or food sales permits, irrespective of county functions or nonprofit functions on county property,” said Ken Jarrard, Forsyth County’s attorney. “We can issue those temporary food service permits, or our local health department can issue those. If we want the health department to issue those, we need to simply sign [the document].”

While commissioners unanimously agreed to sign the document, the question arose as to whether nonprofit events and county concession stands are currently being inspected at all.

“I don’t think we’re inspecting food sales at nonprofits now,” Jarrard said. “It says nonprofit food sales and food services at events sponsored by the county — I [also] don’t know how many [of those] we have.”

The question then turned to booster clubs, which are often registered as nonprofits, many of whom operate concession stands at county parks to raise money for various organizations.

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said the county is not currently doing inspections on such stands, and Carter told the Forsyth County News his department does not perform those kinds of inspections.

“I think the expectation is that somebody’s doing the [inspections] — that it’s either the county or the Board of Health,” Jarrard said. “If nobody’s doing it, it probably needs to be assigned to the Board of Health.”

Chairman Todd Levent said it seems inspections should be happening for booster clubs, but they are not currently.

“It’s interesting because the booster clubs are filing for 501(c)3s and now [they’re not inspected],” he said. “[Maybe] the [Board of Health] realized they haven’t [been], and they’re sending us this letter.”