BROOKVILLE – Insuring that food served or sold at Franklin County establishments is safe is a process, Franklin County Health Department sanitarian David Fehlinger explained to board members at the July 9 quarterly meeting. If an inspection shows critical problems, in addition to the inspection report that is filed with the Indiana State Department of Health, he writes a letter to the business. If they don’t clean up their act, a fine can be levied. “We’ve never fined anybody.” The most drastic action would be to close an establishment.
After a citizen complained about conditions at Rosenberger’s Market, Brookville, Fehlinger said a tour of the store afterwards showed “they seemed to fix the problems.”
Rosenberger’s officials sent a letter to FCHD addressing the complaint. In part it read, “Rosenberger’s Market understands food safety is a high priority for our customers” and the family that has operated the store for four generations agrees. They said employees keep everything that comes in contact with food “clean and sanitized throughout the day .... We regret that a customer would repeatedly make complaints” to the health department instead of approaching the business first.
The sanitarian added, “Bernie Rosenberger made a good point. You can go to any grocery store and stand there and see them doing things wrong.” Fehlinger said while he observes employees’ practices, they are on their best behavior.
Health officer Dr. Michael Fain recalled, “You and I discussed possibly having a sanitarian from another county” who would not be recognized tour a site and complete a report. Supervisor Diane Turney, R.N., wasn’t sure the findings of an out-of-county sanitarian would stick. The consensus was to have an ISDH employee perform an inspection at a place with continuing violations.
The sanitarian reported he has sent letters to just four or five establishments in the last five years. Sometimes meetings to discuss issues are scheduled instead. Fehlinger said, “It seems to help.” In addition to regular visits, he and fellow sanitarian Joe Meier investigate written and phone complaints.