Public Health working with Lee County to continue food inspections

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County Public Health is continuing to take corrective action following the dismissal of former sanitarian Jodi Sutter earlier this year for negligence.

With RUSS subcontracted to take on the Environmental Health responsibilities in the county, the Board of Health is working with Environmental Program Director Rosa Haukedahl with the Lee County Health Department on food inspections.

?Lee County is going to investigate and find potential problems just like Bruce (Hudson) did with the pool,? board chair Harold Bezoni said during the Board of Health meeting on Tuesday, May 22, referring to the Executive Director of RUSS Bruce Hudson?s inspection of the pool at Comfort Inn and Suites in Mt. Pleasant, which led to its immediate closure until further notice due to violations. The pool had not been inspected since 2012.

Haukedahl is already following up with food complaints placed with the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, inspecting one establishment following the meeting yesterday. She also mentioned she had done a routine inspection of Walt?s Taproom in Mt. Pleasant before they opened earlier this month.

?If an establishment has a complaint, an inspection gets done,? Haukedahl said. ?We have a policy for complaints, the same one the state of Iowa follows.?

This year, all concession stands for events at schools and other activities like Little League games also will be inspected. As a Mt. Pleasant resident, Haukedahl said she already worked with the Mt. Pleasant Community School District to get them licensed.

Temporary licenses for events where food is being served outdoors also will go through Haukedahl. This includes Old Threshers, events in the square and anywhere else food will be served to the public. Here, Haukedahl is looking to ensure food comes from an approved source, there are hand-washing stations, food servers are wearing gloves and food is being cooked in a manner that will not make anyone sick.

During Haukedahl?s presentation, Bezoni reiterated that the Board of Health wants accountability. ?Because of what we?ve been through as a Board of Health, I think we?re a little paranoid,? he said.

?I know the level of frustration has to be high,? Haukedahl responded. ?If you don?t have the information, how can you take action??

Complaints can be made to 844-IowaSic (1-844-469-2742). Haukedahl said complaints will be inspected right away. ?Even if it?s not confirmed but you have a suspicion, let us know,? she said.

While complaints and inspections are public record, complaints can be made anonymously.

In other news, at the advisement of Hudson the Board of Health is withdrawing from 28E agreements with Jefferson and Des Moines County. The agreements were to lend environmental specialists and sanitarians to each respective county on a need basis.

With Public Health subcontracting RUSS as the Henry County environmental service, Hudson pointed out that they can?t subcontract an already subcontracted agency.

The board unanimously approved withdrawing from the agreements.