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STATE FOOD INSPECTION PROGRAM CHECKS COMPLIANCE

 STATE FOOD INSPECTION PROGRAM CHECKS COMPLIANCE
 RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to consumer


concern about freshness of meat and cleanliness at retail grocers, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports a high degree of compliance with the Virginia Food Laws statewide.
 "Our food inspectors routinely inspect about 10,000 retail food establishments in Virginia to check sanitary conditions, food preparation procedures, storage conditions, and labeling. We have some of the most stringent and far-reaching food safety laws in the country," said VDACS Commissioner Clinton V. Turner.
 Routine inspections are conduced on an unannounced basis approximately every six months. These inspections include collecting samples of fresh and in-store packaged and processed foods for laboratory analysis; checking the temperature of refrigerated meat or milk cases; investigating the cleanliness of meat grinders; looking for evidence of rodent or insect activity; and inspecting the cleanliness of facilities to allow employees to practice good personal hygiene.
 When the agency receives a consumer complaint or where there is reason for concern, an inspection is done within three to five days. Continuing problems are reviewed again in 30 to 60 days. Depending on the severity or frequency of the violation, offenders may be prosecuted through criminal charges, injunctions to close an establishment or seizure and embargo of suspect food products.
 Consumers with questions about Virginia's food inspection program may call 804-786-3520 in Richmond.
 For more information about VDACS efforts to ensure that food purchased in the state is safe, wholesome and properly labeled, consumers may also request a copy of the booklet "Keeping Your Food Safe." The booklet covers safe handling and storage steps consumers can take once they have purchased food from the store. Write to the VDACS Office of Communication, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, Va., 23209, or call 804-786-2373.
 -0- 11/6/92
 /CONTACT: bj Altschul, director, Office of Communication, 804-786-2373, or Mark D. Tubbs (program contact), director, Division of Dairy & Foods, 804-786-8899, both of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/ CO: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ST: Virginia IN: SU:


TW -- DC027 -- 8335 11/06/92 17:14 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 6, 1992
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