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Food Safety and S.C. Public Health

DHEC's Role in Food Safety

South Carolina law says that restaurants and food stores must follow safe food practices. DHEC helps carry out the state's food safety laws. Among other duties, we:

  • Inspect retail food establishments(South Carolina law requires that food services and stores be inspected at least once a year; we typically makemore than 74,000 visits to S.C. food service facilities annually.)
  • Educate and work with industry to help train food service employees so they will understand and practice food safety regulations
  • Make sure that restaurants and food stores are clean (sanitary)
  • Investigate thousands of complaints from the public each year about unclean or unsafe conditions in S.C. food service establishments
  • Publish ratings of food service establishments based on our inspections of their sanitation and food handling processes
  • Follow up with food establishments that score poorly on inspections to make sure they correct violations
  • Regulate all Grade A milk production, hauling, processing, packaging and distribution activitieswhich includes conducting unannounced inspections of each milk facility and testing samples of raw and finished products and water supplies used by the facility
  • Regulate and inspect facilities involved in production, hauling, processing, packaging and distribution of frozen dairy foods such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen novelties
  • Regulate and inspect facilities that manufacture and bottle soft drinks and bottled water, which includes conducting unannounced inspections and running lab tests annually to sample products for certain substances or germs or properties that could harm human health.