Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: August 31, 2012
Food safety is important. Consumers have a right to enjoy safe food that meets high standards. To celebrate businesses and organizations that meet high standards, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Governor's Award for Excellence in Food Safety. This prestigious annual award will be presented at the Retail Food Safety Conference on September 26, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Big Fish Grill in Rehoboth. The event is sponsored by Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) and the Delaware Restaurant Association. Nominations are open to all food establishments and their employees, and will be accepted until September 10, 2012.
"The Governor's Food Safety Awards allow us to highlight those in the foodservice industry who go above and beyond to ensure that their food handling practices are superior," said Carrie Leishman, president of the Delaware Restaurant Association. "We recognize that responsible food safety is a year-round commitment and elevating those that do it well shows all Delawareans and those who travel to Delaware that our restaurants are safe and open for business."
The Delaware Restaurant Association is the state trade association dedicated at promoting, advocating and improving the foodservice industry in Delaware. The 2,000 restaurants in the state employ more than 40,000 people exceeding sales of over $1.3 billion annually. Delaware restaurants are the largest small business employer and the largest component of Delaware's tourism industry.
"The food services industry continues to be an important part of our economy here in Delaware," said Governor Jack Markell. "I applaud the effort of the restaurants and other food services in our state to guarantee that their foods are both safe and enjoyable. All of us need to recognize their continued commitment to meet and exceed quality standards."
The Governor's Award is presented each year to the "best of the best" in retail food safety. The goals of this program is to recognize food establishments for conscientious and committed effort on an ongoing basis to reduce the risk factors that may cause food borne illness and provide a safe product to consumers. In its tenth year, the awards now include a new area of consideration to highlight the efforts of food establishments that provide low calorie, full meal options.
"It is important to take responsibility for our own eating habits and learn more about different healthier choices, to allow ourselves the pleasure to enjoy an amazing and healthy meal out at the various Delaware food establishments," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Checking the ingredients and preparation method of meals with your waiter or asking to replace different ingredients with healthier options is always a positive step toward healthier eating habits."
Former winners of the Governor's Award include:
Restaurants-This group covers small independent businesses, chain restaurants, fast-food businesses, and diners.
Retail -This group represents grocery stores, retail bakeries, and convenience stores.
Institutional Food Services-This group represents cafeterias in schools and healthcare facilities, as well as culinary arts training kitchens.
Some of the evaluation criteria are:
"The Retail Food Safety Conference is a wonderful way to celebrate the commitment and dedication of Delaware's restaurants and food establishments to keeping the food supply safe and the dining experience enjoyable," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services.
DPH and the Restaurant Association enthusiastically welcome Delaware's public constituents and food safety stakeholders from industry, educational institutions, and governmental agencies to participate in the nomination process. The nomination forms are available at: www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsp/govawardpage.html.
Completed forms can be mailed to the Office of Food Protection, 417 Federal St, Dover DE 19901-3635, or faxed to 302-739-3839. For more information about the Governor's Award nominations, call the DPH Office of Food Protection at 302-744-4743.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.