City Of San Marcos Cracks Down On Local Food Service Industry, Offers Public Meetings

“The City of San Marcos food code compliance office has been very willing to work with us, explain things to us and let us know how to come into compliance. They have told us that they want to keep businesses open…”

By, Terra Rivers, Managing Editor

The City of San Marcos will be hosting a community update Wednesday, Dec. 13, and Friday, Dec. 15, to discuss upcoming changes to the city’s ordinances regarding food establishments.

In October 2015, the Texas Department of State Health Services changed state regulations regarding food establishments and mobile food vendors. Changes were made to old rules, and new ones were created.  

For the last two years, San Marcos’s Food permitting process has continued to use the state regulations approved in 2006. However, in a notice about the meeting, the city stated the staff’s goal was to stay current with state regulations.

Recently, non-profit organizations and small businesses around town have been experiencing issues regarding fundraisers and traditions.

When the Cock House went to reapply for their Food Permit, they were informed they were not in compliance with current food regulations and would have to make some changes to their weekly Friday lunches. While the Cottage Kitchen is closed for the remainder of December, it will return in January 2018.

“The cottage kitchen is reevaluating it’s food serving practices and communicating with our Friday lunch hosts in an effort to come in compliance with the new food codes,” Marianne Moore, 2018 Head of the Guild of the Heritage Association of San Marcos, said. “We have never had a food complaint to the city about our food, and we are thankful for that. We appreciate the good reputation that we enjoy amongst the community. The City of San Marcos food code compliance office has been very willing to work with us, explain things to us and let us know how to come into compliance. They have told us that they want to keep businesses open. They are not trying to close businesses down. And we appreciate their guidance.”

According to another local source, two churches have had the city shut down their annual chili cook-offs and potlucks. One church nearly had to pull out from sponsoring Sights & Sounds because the city barred them from selling food at the festival.

The Hitch, San Marcos’s mobile food court off of Hopkins and CM Allen, has closed down due to food permitting conflicts. Community Impact reported food truck vendors received conflicting information from City Staff regarding the requirements to renew their food permits. Several vendors stated they were moving their mobile establishments out of the city’s limits.

City staff has invited local vendors to the Community Update meetings this week and is requesting vendor input regarding new city ordinances. Additional sessions will be held in January 2018.

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