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What health permits do I need to sell Italian ice?

Ken Little
StarNews

Q. I want to operate an Italian ice push cart next summer. Since Italian ice is water-based and the process of selling it is just scooping the product from its tub into the customer’s cup, what, if any, health permits do I need? Italian ice is gluten free, dairy free, and kept below freezing at all times. It poses no allergy risk, so is the rule of mobile vendors needing to operate alongside a brick and mortar restaurant still applicable?

A. Italian ice is not considered potentially hazardous food and is not regulated by the N.C. Department of Health Human Services under the N.C. Food Code Rules.

Italian ice is regulated by N.C. Department of Agriculture.

Joan Sims, food compliance supervisor with the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Drug Protection Division, said selling Italian Ice is permitted, providing regulatory conditions are met.

Sims apparently assumed a woman is asking the question, but the answer applies to both sexes.

“The answer is yes. We would permit her as a frozen dessert manufacturer if she is making the ice herself per the Administrative Code,” Sims said.

If purchasing a pre-packaged product, the vendor would be subject to 21CFR110 (all foods) regulations.

“However, we would not put her into a routine inspection program except when deemed necessary,” meaning that a complaint about the vendor had been filed, Sims said,

The facility where the product is stored is also subject to inspection.

No frozen products are allowed to be stored in a home setting, Sims said.

Here’s a link with information for starting a food business, and the rules and regulations individuals must follow: http://www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/foodbiz.htm. Contact information for the Food and Drug Protection Division is also at that link.

To review the N.C. Food Code, go to: http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/faf/docs/foodprot/NC-FoodCodeManual-2009-FINAL.pdf.

For more information on the N.C. Department of Agriculture and the role it plays in regulating food sales, go to: http://www.ncagr.gov/.

RELATED LINKS:

What are the health regulations that apply to a food cart?

Are food trucks allowed in New Hanover County?

If a person sells food at a church function, does he or she need a permit?

User-contributed question by:
Andre Meadows

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