The Consumer Health Services Section of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture is charged with overseeing the safety of the states food supply. The section also has some Environmental Health duties such as swimming pool inspection, assisting with drinking water safety, assisting communities with nuisance complaints, etc. The section is composed of 20 field staff, two supervisors, one program manager, one assistant program manager, and one support staff position. The field staff have degrees in Animal Science, Food Science and Environmental Health.
CHS conducts food safety education and inspectional activities in all areas of the state not covered by local departments of health. There are six local health departments in Wyoming (the counties of Laramie, Natrona, Teton, Sweetwater, and Sublette, and the city of Laramie). CHS maintains an "equal to" USDA meats safety program and conducts all meat slaughter and processing inspection, even where local departments exist. CHS also maintains a state-wide dairy program and participates in enforcing the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance as a signatory to the Interstate Milk Shippers Conference.
Any person processing, distributing, storing or preparing food for wholesale or retail use shall obtain a license from the department of agriculture or a local health department. The license is not transferable, shall be renewed on an annual basis and shall be prominently displayed in the establishment or processing plant. No establishment or processing plant shall serve, hold for sale or sell food to the public without a valid license. The license application is not available online and may be obtained from the local inspector or health department. All establishments that are new, have a new owner or have changed location shall pay an initial fee of $200 with an annual license renewal of $100.
Temporary establishment food permits are available for a maximum of 14 consecutive days at a fee of $50. Temporary sampling permits are also available for 14 individual days within 3 consecutive months for a fee of $50. This permit can only be used for events at a single location.
What does Consumer Health Services (CHS) do?
- Reduces the occurrences of food safety hazards.
- Reduces the occurrences of hazards to health & safety that are created by interaction of the public.
CHS also provides educational trainings for industry and consumers by offering through the Wyoming Food Safety Coalition:
- Hand washing activities in schools
- In-house health trainings in establishments
- Serving Safe Food courses
- HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) trainings
- WY Food Safety Fundamentals
- Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance (FSPCA)
- Egg Grading
Partnerships are key to food safety & public health programs today. CHS partners with the Wyoming Food Safety Coalition comprised of individuals working for a variety of agencies and organizations dedicated to food safety in Wyoming. The WFSC members provide educational training to industry, food workers and consumers.
CHS has also reached a solid cooperative partnership with the state health department in the investigation of foodborne illness. The state epidemiologist, the manager of CHS and other public health officials meet every week to discuss infectious disease reports. The state health reps, nurses and CHS inspectors work together to conduct the investigations. It is a true team effort and communication is complete and positive.
CHS has recently established a solid partnership with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Together with the WY Dept of Health, DEQ and EPA, we are striving to prevent waterborne disease outbreaks in the state.
CHS promotes HACCP
HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) system allows food service managers to identify hazards within their operation and monitor critical control points to ensure food has remained safe. Food industry management that develops a written HACCP plan, monitors critical control points, establish corrective actions and record keeping system. With HACCP, managers take the responsibility to control the safety of the items produced for consumption.
We are determined to do everything we can, to see that Wyoming's food is the safest in the world!