Area bars without approved kitchens cannot continue to serve crawfish to patrons, according to a statement from the Mobile County Health Department.
The bars that serve crawfish must also have a food service license and the crawfish cannot be cooked “outside on the sidewalk.” However, MCHD spokesman Mark Bryant said the regulation is not new.
“We met with the Downtown Mobile Alliance and area bar owners last year about this,” Kelly Warren, the director for MCHD’s Prevention & Wellness Division, said in a statement Friday. “Since some establishments serving crawfish are licensed to sell alcohol and are not licensed to serve food, we told them they could partner with those permitted businesses that could cook for them.”
Dr. Stephanie Woods Crawford, who oversees inspection services, said in the statement the act of serving food to the public requires “sanitary facilities” for preparation and a sink to “wash your hands” and for “washing of cooking items.”
“MCHD continues to protect the health and environment of Mobile County,” Crawford said. “The MCHD inspectors will issue Notice of Violations to any establishment that does not possess the appropriate permit as outlined in Chapter 420-3-22, Alabama State Board of Health, Food Establishment Sanitation.”
Inspectors this week had to shut down a crawfish boil taking place outside a downtown bar. The inspectors found the residue water from the pots was being dumped into the street and flowing into the storm drain.
“Our inspectors were protecting the community and the environment,” Crawford said.
Warren said another problem is that crawfish boils downtown often take place outside on sidewalks. Cooking must take place in a controlled environment, like a permitted kitchen that has been inspected and approved.
“Even if it is a restaurant cooking crawfish, they cannot do it outside on the sidewalk,” Warren said. “The food is exposed to the elements, to animals and insects, and to anything that could be dropped into the pot. Our inspectors will continue to review places that are cooking crawfish that are not permitted to serve food.”
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