Fairfax eateries lauded

Logo of the Fairfax County government's Gold Carrot Food Safety Excellence Award.

For the second consecutive year, the Fairfax County Health Department is recognizing local eateries for excellence in food-safety practices and employee education.

Sixteen local food service operations – including an assisted-living center, a suburban deli and an elementary school – received the second annual 14 Carrot Gold Food Safety Excellence Award as an acknowledgment of their commitment to food safety.

The awards are based on the results of inspections conducted in the previous year. Inspections are required by law and performed by environmental-health specialists with the health department.

“While every food-service facility under our jurisdiction is required to meet minimum food-safety requirements, these 16 establishments are to be commended for going above and beyond to safeguard their patrons from the risks of food-borne illness,” said Pieter Sheehan, director of the Division of Environmental Health. “We hope the recipients prominently display their award, and we look forward to honoring more facilities in the future.”

The 2015 recipients of the Fairfax County Health Department’s 14 Carrot Gold Food Safety Excellence Award are Burke Health Care Center; Mount Daniel Elementary School, Falls Church; INOVA Sunrise of Reston; Costco Wholesale #6206, Alexandria; IHOP, Alexandria; Wendy’s, Annandale; Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Tysons; Oakton Elementary School; Perk Express McLean; Sunrise Assisted Living, Fairfax;  Perfect Pita, Tysons; George’s Steak N’Things,  Fairfax Station; Panda Express, Fair Oaks; KFC, Chantilly; J J Deli, Herndon and Noodles & Company, Fairfax.

Food-service establishments can be nominated for the award by members of the food industry, the public or health inspectors. An awards team from the Health Department reviews the nominations and selects winners.

To be eligible for consideration, recipients of the Carrot Gold Awards cannot have any critical violations during inspections conducted in the last 24 months, and no more than six non-critical violations in the past year. Employees (other than the certified food manager) must be able to explain and/or demonstrate proper food-handling procedures. The facility must also have a valid permit to operate and be in good standing with the Health Department.

“Food safety is a collaborative effort – involving industry, consumers and public health,” Sheehan said. “By achieving this honor, these recipients demonstrate their commitment to protecting the community’s health.”

The Health Department regularly inspects more than 3,800 food-service establishments, restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, food carts, fair/festival trailers and convenience stores each year in Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.

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