The Washington State Board of Health (Board) establishes minimum standards for the prevention and control of food borne illnesses. Local jurisdictions may adopt more stringent standards. The Board's rules direct food service establishments in the areas of food supplies, food protection, public health labeling, food preparation, temperature control, personal hygiene, garbage and litter, sanitary equipment, and pest control. The Board considers the most recent version of the United States Food and Drug Administration's Food Code when adopting rules for food service.
A microenterprise home kitchen operation (MHKO) pilot program is created. The pilot program may permit up to 100 MHKOs in the first year and may permit up to 200 additional MHKOs in each year thereafter. The State Board of Health must complete required rulemaking by July 1, 2023. The Department of Health (Department) must submit a report to the Legislature reviewing the program and provide recommendations for necessary legislation by December 10, 2022.
"Microenterprise home kitchen operation" means a food facility that is operated by a person in the person's primary domestic residence where food is stored, handled, and prepared for consumers. A MHKO may sell food products to be consumed at a location other than the premises of the MHKO, whether delivered directly to the consumer by the MHKO or by an intermediary, and cater a specific menu and amount of food which is prepared on the premises of the MHKO for service to a customer at a different location.
Rules adopted must provide for the following restrictions on MHKOs:
The MHKO must post any inspection scores, grades, or other evaluation records required by the local health jurisdiction at the entry of the operation during business hours and on any Internet page or Internet food service intermediary that is offering the operation's food for sale.
Additional requirements that may be required for a MHKO include application for and renewal of permits; inspections; sanitary procedures; facility, equipment, utensil requirements; labeling procedures; requirements for clean water sources and waste and wastewater disposal; and requirements for washing and other hygienic practices. The MHKOs are exempt from a number of provisions in the food services code and modified requirements are provided.
A MHKO must obtain a permit from the Board, in cooperation with the local health jurisdiction, and may be required to be renewed annually. The application must include the MHKO's standard operating procedures such as food types that will be prepared, handling procedures, cleaning plans, refuse disposal processes, food storage, and days and times the MHKO may be operated.
The application must be accompanied by an inspection fee. The MHKO must be inspected before initial permitting and may be inspected up to once per year after the initial permitting and at any time in response to a foodborne outbreak or other public health emergency. The inspection must document the findings and those findings must be kept by the local health jurisdiction. The inspection protocol includes basic standards the MHKO must follow while preparing, handling, or storing food in the MHKO.
A MHKO operating without a valid permit and any MHKO operating in violation of any of the requirements may be subject to sanctions. For the first violation within a two-year period, the local health jurisdiction must hold an administrative conference with the operator of the MHKO, which may include an offer of technical violation. For the second or subsequent violation within a two-year period, the local health jurisdiction may issue a warning, place the MHKO on probation, issue a fine, suspend or revoke the permit, issue fees to cover the cost of inspection prior to the MHKO preparing food after suspension or revocation, or a combination of those sanctions.
A local health jurisdiction may deny, suspend, or revoke a permit after conducting a hearing at which it is determined that permittee has failed to comply with the rules or refused the local health jurisdiction access to a permitted area or records required to be kept. A local health jurisdiction may also suspend or halt a permit issued if the health officer finds that a MHKO is operating under conditions constituting an immediate danger to public health.