Department of Health inspects food stands before Mississippi State Fair opens

Department of Health inspects food stands before Mississippi State Fair opens

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ll have over 100 vendors to choose from at this year’s Mississippi State Fair - as long as they pass inspections.

“We’re looking for the same things we look at when we’re doing regular food inspections,” said Anne Hougue, a MSDH Environmentalist.

Hogue and other members of the Health Department check each food stand thoroughly.

“We’re looking to make sure that people are being careful about keeping their hands clean, that they’re keeping the hot foods hot, the cold foods cold. That they’re being careful not to cross contaminate,” she explained.

The vendors must buy a food permit and pass the initial evaluation. If the vendor fails, he or she can’t open shop.

Food Facility stickers for inspected food vendors
Food Facility stickers for inspected food vendors (Source: WLBT)

“We will make spot inspections throughout the fair, we will also, if you are eating there and see something you don’t think is right, you need to let us know. Because then we can go respond to the complaint, check them out and see if they’re not being careful,” said Hougue.

To know if a food vendor has been inspected, the easiest way is by looking for a red Mississippi state-shaped sticker that says “Food Facility Identifier.”

Though the process is extensive, the owner of Omar’s Cinnamon Rolls understands that it’s important. He has been coming to the fair for over 30 years.

“First of all, it’s the safety of the food. You gotta make sure the food is well prepared and is refrigerated right. Meat has to be a certain temperature. I don’t do meat, I do dough and so it’s very important for the business and the fair,” said Omar Botana.

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