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Why is no sanitation rating posted at Great American Cookies at Independence Mall?

Amanda Lisk

The Great American Cookies, like all snack/dessert food businesses, is inspected by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, not the New Hanover County Health Department, and therefore is not required to post a rating.

The Department of Agriculture inspection is a pass or fail inspection; no grade is given. Restaurants making food with meat, fish and produce are required to be inspected and given a grade by the New Hanover County Health Department, but because entities such as Great American Cookies do not sell meat or produce and do not make any food or cookie dough at their local sites, they fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Agriculture. Great American’s cookie dough is sent from an Atlanta facility, and cookies are then simply baked daily at the local sites. The Department of Agriculture inspects Great American Cookie locations on a regular basis, checking for general facility sanitation and cleanliness.

“We look to see if the equipment is clean, look to make sure the location is free of any pest activity. We take a look at employee practices: are employees handling food in a sanitation manner, is the equipment operating properly,” said Anita MacMullen, Food Administrator with the Department of Agriculture.

MacMullen said that if anyone has any questions about the sanitation of Great American Cookie locations or any other snack or dessert venues falling under their jurisdiction, contact the Department of Agriculture at 919-733-7366 and ask for the compliance office.

The first Great American Cookie store opened in 1977 in Atlanta. Close to 400 locations are now open in malls throughout the United States and around the world, including one in Saudi Arabia.

For more on what types of venues the N.C. Department of Agriculture inspects, visit www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/foodbiz.htm

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