News Releases > Health Department proposes amendment to food ordinanceALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Nov. 12, 2008)– Local health officials are proposing a rule change that would allow restaurants to grill outside whenever they want as long as they prepare and sell the meat inside.
The current ordinance requires food establishments to obtain a separate “onsite cooking” permit which only allows grilling up to 10 days a month. The current rule also allows food to be prepared and stored outside as long as there is adequate cover as well as dishwashing and handwashing stations.
Under the proposed amendment, licensed retail food service establishments will be able to cook meats on a covered grill on an unlimited basis so long as all food preparation and sale takes place inside. No additional permit will be required.
“For the past year, we’ve been working with our vendors and with the other city and county departments which have regulatory authority on this issue to find an appropriate and equitable solution,” said Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health Administrator Mindy Waldron, who spearheaded the effort.
“After some struggle, we believe we’ve come up with a compromise that satisfies the health and safety concerns while easing the restrictions on restaurants. We hope to have everyone’s support.”
Currently, eight establishments have the 10-day outdoor cooking permit. All vendors were invited to attend a meeting this week where health officials discussed the differences between the current and the proposed rule. Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters also spoke at the meeting.
"I'm pleased we were able to take time to identify concerns by those in the restaurant industry and develop solutions to fix the problem," Peters said.
The new rule would meet the provisions of the Indiana Food Code and comply with all existing local ordinances and rules enforced by the health department, Allen County Building Department, the Department of Planning Services/Zoning and the Fort Wayne Fire Department.
The ordinance amendment will be presented first to the Executive Board of Health on Nov. 17 before it is voted on by the Allen County Commissioners on Nov. 21.