Note: This is the first edition of NACCHO’s new Greener Guidance environmental health advice column. To learn more and submit a question for future editions, click here.
Dear Greener Guidance,
I have been hearing about plastic straw restrictions and bans being implemented across the country. What are the implications for local health departments?
– Thirsty for Information
Dear Thirsty for Information,
According to April Meneghetti, environmental health division manager for Yolo County in California,”plastic straw bans may or may not impact local environmental health departments depending on how the ban is written.” While Yolo County Environmental Health is not the enforcing agency for the plastic straw ordinance in Davis (a city in Yolo County), Meneghetti mentioned there is a plastic straw bill currently before the California State Legislature that will have a different outcome.
“If passed, this bill will be enforced by local environmental health departments as the bill adds language to the California Retail Food Code,” Menghetti explained. “Anytime the California Retail Food Code has an addition or change in code language, there is additional training that needs to be done both for the inspectors and the food facility operators. This adds one more thing that inspectors will need to check for compliance on as part of their current routine restaurant inspections.”
We recommend paying close attention to any restrictions proposed in your area to stay informed and be prepared for potential changes.
For more information on plastic straw bans, see NACCHO’s recent blog post examining the health benefits of straws, as well as safe and equitable alternatives to plastic.