DHEC’s Food Safety Team Recognized as Outstanding Community Leader of 2021

The SC Restaurant & Lodging Association (SCRLA) recently presented DHEC with the Outstanding Community Leader Award. 

During the 68th Annual Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheon, the agency’s food safety team was recognized for our collaborative efforts with SCRLA while navigating the pandemic. 

“The restaurant industry is a valued part of our community both for employees and consumers,” said Sandra Craig, Director for the Division of Food and Lead Risk Assessments. “Our team has worked diligently and in innovative ways to ensure food safety compliance during this unprecedented time. We are honored by this recognition as well as the partnership we have with the SC Restaurant and Lodging Association.” 

In response to COVID-19 and for the safety of DHEC employees, clients, and the public, the food safety team: 

  • Helped develop guidance for restaurant reopening; 
  • Implemented virtual inspections; and  
  • Assisted in developing and launching the Palmetto Priority Seal of Commitment. 

“The professional and technical support in writing the Restaurant Reopening Guidance documents that preceded FDA and NRA guidance helped get our industry the information needed to re-open safely,” stated the email informing DHEC of the honor. “Establishing the Virtual Food Safety Check and transitioning to the Limited Scope inspection ensured compliance and customer safety. And, your team’s professional assistance helped in developing and launching the Palmetto Priority Seal of Commitment, again, before any other state or national program was launched.” 

As of Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, the team has completed 24,793 virtual inspectionsThe Palmetto Priority Seal is a program that allows restaurants to verify that they have taken specific protective actions to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

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