Hospitals seek meal exemption

WARREN -- State Rep. Randy Law of Warren, R-64th, is supporting two Warren hospitals' continued exemption from state licensing as they make meals for delivery by Trumbull County Mobile Meals.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture's legal staff continues to review whether the hospitals qualify for exemption. Meanwhile, the department received a letter from Law on July 1 supporting the hospitals' request.
The state would prefer that Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Health Center obtain licensing that would require them to follow a process called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. This is a systematic approach for reviewing food preparation, from the receipt of foods to their final distribution, to prevent food-borne illnesses.
The hospitals are recommending a program of additional training for volunteers on food safety, food handling and equipment sanitization. Volunteers also would get training in menu and recipe ingredients, labeling and temperature maintenance, among other things.
The two hospitals have partnered with Mobile Meals for 35 years. The hospitals prepare the food for Mobile Meals during the course of daily patient meal-making and are reimbursed monthly by Mobile Meals for the cost of the food supplies only.
The state can grant a "catering exemption" if a meal is made, delivered and served by one entity that has total oversight. In the Trumbull County case, however, oversight of the meals changes to Mobile Meals once they leave the hospitals.

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