A variance from the local health authority is required when a licensed facility or program cannot meet all the standards outlined in the local food code. The requester must explain how the proposed standards or conditions will provide adequate protection for the health, safety and welfare of persons receiving care at the establishment or program, or in the surrounding area.
Variance applications should be submitted to the agency in a timely manner, as defined by state law. Upon receipt of the application, a variance review committee shall analyze it and make recommendations to the assistant commissioner regarding approval or denial.
The committee may include at least the director and two senior food specialists of the Food Protection Program, as well as an epidemiology specialist. The committee must also consider any comments from affected regulatory authorities and other interested parties.
During routine inspections conducted by the agency or another regulatory authority, or at any other time requested by Environmental Health personnel, a licensed facility or program may be evaluated to determine compliance with the approved HACCP plan and any procedures that are based on the granted variance. If the inspected establishment is found to be deviating from the approved HACCP plan or procedures without prior Department approval, the approved variance will be revoked.
The agency will notify the person requesting the variance, and all affected regulatory authorities and other interested parties within 30 business days of approving or denying a variance. Alternatively, the requester may request an extension of this time period.