Advocacy

Retail Food Service Chapter 246-215 WAC
Rule Revision Proposed Changes and Comment Period June 2019

Proposed Retail Food Rule: Top 10 Changes

A draft of the revised rule is available for review and comment. While there are several proposed changes, the following highlighted items are likely to affect a wide variety of food establishments.

1. Person in Charge (PIC): Knowledge & Duties

At least one PIC will need to be a Certified Food Protection Manager by July 1, 2021 and will need to ensure Active Managerial Control.

2. Employee Health

Establishments must notify employees about reporting illness to the PIC and be able to verify they provided the notification. In addition to vomiting, diarrhea, or jaundice, employees are required to report illness with Salmonella, E. coli, hepatitis A, norovirus, or Shigella.

3. Clean up of Vomiting and Diarrheal Events

Operators will need to have a written plan on how to clean up vomit and diarrheal events in the food establishment.

4. Bare Hand Contact with Ready-to-Eat Foods

Establishments wanting to prepare food with bare hands will need to demonstrate active managerial control in order to be approved.

5. Date Marking for 7-Day Shelf-Life

Most ready-to-eat, refrigerated, perishable foods in opened packages will need to be marked and used within a 7-day shelf-life.

6. Refilling Reusable Consumer-Owned Containers

Establishments have the option to allow customers to bring in a clean container to fill, refill, or reuse.

7. Dogs in Outdoor Areas

Dogs may be allowed in outdoor areas if an operator follows set procedures with a written, approvable plan.

8. Mobile Food Units

Several changes were made for mobile food units based on recent state law changes and comments received.

9. Donated Foods

Several sections were changed to clarify approvable food sources and reduce limitations to help safely rescue food.

10. Food-Specific Changes

• Hamburger and other ground meats will need to cook to 158°F instantaneous (instead of 155°F for 15 seconds)
• Partially-cooked fresh fish may be served with a modified consumer advisory on the potential parasitic concern


Public Presentations and Comment Interested stakeholders may attend a public presentation on the proposed rule. The presentations will include a review of the proposed changes and time for questions and comments. Comments will be accepted until the end of July 2019.

Kennewick: July 16, 2019
2:00-4:00 pm
Benton-Franklin Health District
Classroom (1st floor)
7102 West Okanogan Place
• Spokane: July 17, 2019
9:00-11:00 am
Spokane Regional Health District
Auditorium (Room 104)
1101 West College Avenue

• Bellingham: July 22, 2019
1:00-3:00 pm
Ferndale Library
Ferndale Meeting Room
2125 Main Street
• Renton: July 23, 2019
1:00-3:00  pm
Renton Technical College
Blencoe Auditorium
3000 NE 4th Street

• Seattle:  July 23, 2019
5:30-7:30 pm
Green Lake Library
Green Lake Meeting Room
7364 East Green Lake Drive North

Vancouver: July 24, 2019
2:00-4:00 pm
Vancouver Community Library
Columbia Room
901 C Street

Webinar: July 25, 2019
9:00-11:00 am


Register by emailing: [email protected]

For more information about the Food Service rule review, visit www.doh.wa.gov/foodrules

Retail Food Code Revision or contact Susan Shelton at 509-212-1206 or [email protected]

 

Legislative Session ends with Real Progress on Hunger & Poverty in Olympia

~ Claire Lane, Director, Anti Hunger and Nutrition Coalition

In addition to much-needed policy and program changes for human services, the Legislature finally began to make real progress in fixing our state's broken tax code. The new budget deal adds needed new revenue in several ways - all of which make progress on righting our upside-down tax code which makes low-income people pay more of their income in taxes than the wealthiest millionaires and billionaires do. The new biennial budget includes $460 million in new and progressive revenue, so legislators could make significant improvements in special education, behavioral health, access to higher education, environmental protections, early learning, child welfare, criminal justice, access to housing, and - thanks to all of you - hunger. 
 
Almost the entire list of our Coalition's priorities was funded, after nearly all our priority bills passed --- THANK YOU for all your emails, phone calls, testimony in hearings, sign-on letters, and even joining our first-ever all-virtual (and very snowy) Hunger Action Day
 
The progress made this session by our amazing legislative champions was made possible because you speak up - thank YOU!  
TAKE ACTION:
Now, please speak up one more time to say thank you to your lawmakers who championed our issues! Click here to say thanks to your 3 state legislators. 
 
Then, join us on Wednesday, May 29 from 12:30 - 2pm for a special Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition meeting! 
We'll have a robust discussion about the legislature, what our policy wins mean for the coming year, ways to engage with your state and Congressional lawmakers over the summer - and a BIG CELEBRATION of what we accomplished! 

Together we made big changes this year to strengthen SNAP, school meals, and our food system:  
 
HB 1587 - Washington's newly-created SNAP Fruit & Vegetable state program  
$2.5 million 
For 4 years, 68 health clinics, 90 farmers markets, and 130 grocery stores have collaborated with DOH on an innovative federally-funded pilot to increase access to fruits & vegetables for low-income people. State funds will sustain this program, draw down $450,000 in private foundation support, and leverage state funds in newly-released federal grant RFP.  THANK YOU to the 200+ organizations and individuals who signed on to our community support letter, and to our partners at the Washington State Farmers Market Association, City of Seattle, Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, American Heart Association, and Safeway Foundation for coming to Olympia (sometimes several times!) to testify in support of this transformative program for SNAP clients. Also, BIG THANKS to our hard-working, enthusiastic bill sponsor, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (Spokane) and his partner in the Senate,Sen. Claire Wilson (Auburn)!  And more thanks to Gov. Jay Inslee: after including this program in his budget, on Monday, only hours after session ended, he already signed the bill into law! 
 
HB 1893 - Access to SNAP and Emergency Need Grants for College Students 
$1.5 million for emergency grants for low income students and to DSHS to implement SNAP eligibility changes. 
This bill is a BIG step forward to ensure that low-income college students have better access to SNAP and help our state's colleges and universities become places students and others can use SNAP benefits. The bill also provides funds for emergency grants to struggling students. Even better: these funds also can be used as match for federal SNAP/Basic Food Education & Training (aka BFET) funds to support access to job training at community & technical colleges for SNAP recipients. HUGE thanks to our colleagues at the University District Food Bank for their research into college hunger and SNAP, the students who testified, and to our new friends at the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges who are excited to keep working with anti-hunger partners! We are also so GRATEFUL to our bill sponsor, Rep. Debra Entenman (Kent), for her passionate commitment to struggling students and ending hunger. 
 
Increase Use of Community Eligibility for School Meals:  
$236,000 to fund new OSPI staff position 
Unfortunately, neither HB 1892 (eliminate school lunch co-pays) or amendments to last year's HB 1685 (unpaid school meal debt) passed out of committees --- so we encouraged our legislative champions to invest in OSPI's Child Nutrition Services Dept. so they have the capacity they need to ensure as many families and schools possible have access to free school meals. This staff position will also help ensure implementation of last year's Breakfast After the Bell legislation will be successful next school year, when more than 289 schools in nearly 200 districts will be required to change how they serve breakfast. BIG thanks to Rep. Monica Stonier (Vancouver), our fantastic legislative champion on these issues in the final budget. 
Adequate Time for Lunch 
$126,000 to fund study with 6 elementary schools and OSPI
HB 1272 failed at the very last minute, but the study in the bill was funded in the budget! Now diverse elementary schools will work with each other and OSPI to figure out the right policies and procedures needed for schools to ensure students to have enough time to eat a nutritious lunch, and create a new model policy for our state. THANK YOU to our partners at the Washington State PTA and their parent advocates, as well as our Coalition's newest steering committee member from the WA State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for testifying in the House and Senate. HUGE thanks to our tenacious bill sponsor, Rep. My-Linh Thai (Bellevue) who didn't take no for an answer if it meant kids wouldn't have lunch. 
Sustainability of WSDA's Regional Markets / Farm to School Program:  
$500,000 ongoing
For the first time since 2011, WA State Dept. of Agriculture now has enough ongoing state funding for their Regional Markets team to maintain current staff and have the stability to plan for the future - allowing those connections with growers and institutions to grow into the future. We're so grateful to the 125 organizations and individuals who signed on to our community support letter, and to WSDA's staff who provided invaluable information and support for this ask. 
 
Bonus Food System Win: Continue the Work of the Food Policy Forum 
$100,000 
For the past two years, food systems advocates, agriculture organizations, anti-hunger advocates, state agencies and legislators have worked together to build stronger relationships and deepen our shared understanding of opportunities to improve Washington's food system. We are grateful this work will continue - and we are excited to share a new report with you soon on what we've been doing. Rep. Mia Gregerson (SeaTac) deserves thanks for continuing to champion this big-picture work for our food system. 
 
With our housing and other anti-poverty partners, we won life-changing protections and investments in the safety net for very poor Washingtonians: 
1603 - Strengthen TANF to Help Families with Kids Living in Deep Poverty Fully funded
More eligible families with children that live in deepest poverty will be able to access TANF services that help with workforce training, child care, and cash assistance by stopping the policy that permanently disqualified families for TANF assistance and by reinstating a policy that allows homeless families more time with TANF assistance. Newly-elected Sen. Joe Nguyen (White Center) joined forces with long-time TANF champion Rep. Tana Senn (Mercer Island), along with our partners at Statewide Poverty Action Network, Washington Budget & Policy Center, and so many others to ensure this bill finally became the law again. 
 
Eviction Reform Bills Fully Funded:  
SB 5600 allows tenants 14 days (instead of 3) to catch up on late rent before losing their homes; allows eviction court judges to use discretion and consider extenuating circumstances such as job loss or hospitalization; expands a mitigation fund to ensure landlords receive judgement payments promptly while giving tenants more time to pay; and, limits the attorney fees tenants can be required to pay. This bill faced significant opposition but Sen. Patty Kuderer (Bellevue) worked tirelessly to protect tenants. 
 
HB 1440 increases the amount of notice from current 30 day to 60 days that landlords must give tenants for rent increases. Big thanks to Rep. Nicole Macri (Seattle) for continuing to lead the tough housing fights with this bill. 
 
Such HUGE gratitude to our brilliant and dogged allies at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance: these two bills form the largest-ever overhaul of the state's Residential Landlord-Tenant Act since its inception in the 1970's. These changes will transform lives - now and far into the future. 
 
Strengthen Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) Program for Disabled Homeless People: 
$14.5 million 
HEN serves our communities' most vulnerable members and, despite soaring rents statewide, this 25% overall increase is HEN's first-ever funding increase since its inception in 2011. Washington Low Income Housing Alliance estimates this will help 1,000 more people avoid homelessness.
Bonus Housing Wins: 
Lawmakers allocated an unprecedented $175 million to the Housing Trust Fund: the largest allocation ever included in a biennial budget. It will build nearly 5,000 more permanently affordable homes across the state. Also, thanks to HB 1406, local communities will gain a brand-new source of funds to build affordable homes with a new option to retain a portion of the state sales tax they already collect. 
 
What's Next?
Join your fellow advocates on Wed. May 29 (12:30 - 2pm) for AHNC's end of session celebration and conversation about how we can keep up this momentum! 
 
Also, keep your eyes open for a follow-up alert that will be a deeper dive into the tax system changes that helped make possible all of these investments for our hungry and struggling neighbors. We want everyone to understand how the legislature took important first steps to raise new revenue to reverse some of these long-standing harmful impacts of the Great Recession - and did it by taxing only those most able to afford to pay more, like high tech businesses and global banks. At the same, this budget plan still includes hundreds of millions of dollars in unrealistic savings assumptions and forces artificial austerity by requiring across-the-board state agency reductions and assumed savings in Medicaid. Advocates have learned from experience that these savings won't materialize, and budget writers will have to fill the hole once again next year. 
 
But for now --- we want to thank you for your insights, your advocacy - and for these shared wins for people and communities across our state. 
 
Remember to share the gratitude - send messages to your lawmakers with your appreciation! 

 

Advocacy

"Food Security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life."  - 1996 World Food Summit (U.N.)

The Washington Food Coalition follows current events that may affect nutrition programs that our members utilize to serve their communities. We also pay close attention to the many related programs that serve the families we serve every day. Many of these programs work in tandem with our efforts to support people through a hard time and hopefully into a better place. 

For more information about nutrition programs, our legislative agenda, and the latest happenings and actions you can take, check out our latest updates, what we are watching, and follow us on Facebook or twitter.

See more on our Advocacy Page

Quick Links:

2018 State Legislative Agenda

What we are Watching at the Federal Level

 

 

What We Are Watching: Federal Advocacy

2018 Farm Bill:
The Farm Bill is a huge complex piece of legislation that is reauthorized and passed approximately every 5 years. This bill brings together farm industry interests, conservation interests, human services interests, and really nearly any stakeholder that has an interest in our food system.
The Farm Bill expired September 30, 2018. This is legislation that needs to be reauthorized every 5 years. It is a very complex piece of legislation that brings together many interests and stakeholders working within our food system.

The Farm Bill is organized into 12 Titles or sections.
We as anti-hunger advocates tend to be most interested in the Nutrition Title (Title IV). This is the section of the Farm Bill that governs programs that Americans rely on to feed their families through tough times. 
This year, in 2018, we are All Hands on Deck to fight any cuts or structural changes to SNAP (the federal food stamp program).

The House passed a Farm Bill proposal on June 21st with a 213-211 vote that includes draconian provisions in regards to the SNAP program. This bill by all analyses would result in cuts to SNAP largely through reducing enrollment through harsh work requirements and time limits if unable to meet those requirements.
The Senate passed a Farm Bill proposal based on bi-partisan negotiations on June 28th, with an 86-11 vote. This bill did not include the cuts to benefits and eligibility that are contained in the House bill.
For some resources on the value of SNAP to people that need it, to our local economies and our communities, see these resources from our partners at FRAC:
Governor Inslee released this letter to our Washington State Congressional Delegation regarding H.R. 2 voicing concerns and opposition to the current bill in the House. To read the full letter, click here.
And here is an Op-Ed from our former Board Chair Helen McGovern-Pilant from EFN: Click here to read the full article in The News Tribune.
Some additional great articles from our partners are here:

What you can Do:
Contact your Congressional Representatives...they need to hear from YOU, their constituents, about your priorities and concerns. 

What we would like to see: a real effort to strengthen SNAP by increasing the benefit rate based on the "low cost" food plan as opposed to the "thrifty" food plan as described by USDA, among other things. This would increase the ability of food stamp recipients to purchase healthier food. A great example of what strengthening SNAP and its positive impacts could look like is contained in HR1276 Closing the Meal Gap Act, a marker bill that you can urge (or thank) your lawmakers for signing in support of.
At this point, we want to see adoption of a Farm Bill as passed in the Senate with provisions that protect and strengthen SNAP.
 

What We Are Watching: 2018 State Legislative Session  

Expand Access to School Breakfast for Hungry Kids:

Hungry kids face extra and unnecessary struggles in school - yet feeding kids a healthy school breakfast can have a dramatic impact on their academic, health and economic futures.
Our schools are offering breakfast - but they are not reaching the kids who need it most: WA ranks 45th among states in serving breakfast to low income students.
We know how to fix it: when breakfast is part of the school day - just like lunch - more kids start their day with the fuel they need. Requiring very high poverty schools (70% or more low income students) to change their breakfast service time will help tens of thousands of students at nearly 400 schools. And clarifying instructional time for breakfast means any school can choose to serve breakfast after the bell.

 

Make Our Kids and Communities Healthier by Strengthening Washington's Farms:

Connecting farmers to local schools and other local buyers makes Washington's kids and communities healthier and makes Washington's farms more successful.
WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture) created its nationally recognized Farm to School Program (working in tandem with the Small Farms Direct Marketing Program) to provide a valuable resource for our agriculture sector, while also improving school meal quality for students. Restoring $250,000 to WSDA's programs will allow WSDA to meet increasing demand from farmers for the program's expertise and support in expanding farm businesses to new markets, especially schools.

 

Equip School Kitchens to Improve Nutrition for Kids:

School nutrition staff are often unable to prepare and serve healthier food because schools do not have needed equipment for cooking/preparing food from scratch.
Apple A Day kitchen equipment grants support school efforts to cook healthier meals for kids. Maintaining $1 million in the capital budget allows schools to prepare fresh, healthy food for students and sustains a smart investment in our schools and in our children's nutrition.

Additional Anti-Poverty issues we are keeping an eye on:

Fix Our Tax System to Create a Healthy, Prosperous, Hunger-free Washington:

We continue to have the most regressive tax system in the country, which means low income people wind up paying the highest share of their income in state taxes through the sales tax and property tax as passed on by landlords into higher rents. Closing outdated tax loopholes, increasing transparency in tax breaks, and finding new and sustainable sources of revenue are all strategies needed to respond to our growing population and to invest in the basics - food, housing, schools, and health care - that benefit all Washingtonians, especially those who need it most.

 

Strengthen TANF program for Low Income Families with Children:

Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance and an array of work support services to low income families with children designed to promote family economic stability. There are three key strategies that are being advocated for to strengthen our state's TANF program:
  • Restore the TANF grant cuts so that low income families have more money to meet basic needs.
  • Raise the limits on vehicles and assets so that families can benefit from TANF with resources to help them after TANF ends.
  • Reduce barriers for pregnant and parenting teens to TANF can help end intergenerational poverty.

 

Protect Access to Affordable Housing for Low Income People:

Food insecurity and housing insecurity are tightly linked. One way to fight hunger is to ensure people have adequate, affordable housing. These are some of the key priorities this year in housing and homeless prevention:
  • Pass a capital budget: Protect and expand funds for programs that meet diverse housing needs.
  • Strengthen homelessness funding: Eliminate the sunset date and increase the amount for document recording fees - the largest source of funding for homelessness services. Now is the time for more reliable resources to address the housing crisis facing every county in WA.
  • Ban source of income discrimination: Prevent landlords from excluding renters with Social Security income, disability income, Housing Choice (section 8) vouchers, veteran's housing subsidies, etc. This discrimination has a significant impact on populations who rely on housing subsidies to make ends meet - they are the same people at highest risk for hunger.

 

Improve Access to Jobs with the Fair Chance Act:

 " Ban the Box" that asks about convictions in the very first step of applying for a job, so a person can be assessed on their qualifications and skills first. This policy boosts employment and reduces recidivism, saving the state money in both prisons and social services.

Our Ongoing Commitment:

Protect Investments in Nutrition, Health, and Economic Stability for People in Need:

Our state has created innovative programs and proactive policies that help fight hunger and poverty in our communities. As lawmakers act to improve education, mental health services and more, it is critical to protect funding for basic needs services such as Emergency Food Assistance Program, State Food Assistance, Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, affordable housing, HENS/ABD and other programs for low-income people so these programs remain effective in fighting hunger and poverty.