CENTRAL TEXAS – Local health departments are worried about the rise of people selling homemade food on social media. That concern comes as the CDC says every year 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food borne illnesses in the U.S.
“I know they need to earn a living, and I know they probably have good food. But if they are not dealing with the Health Department, they are just not doing the right thing,” says Dolores Davis, Owner of Krispy Chicken.
The Facebook Marketplace is a great way to buy and sell personal items, but some people in Central Texas are using it to illegally sell homemade food.
“The health concern is that they are not being properly cooked at the right temps, they are not being handled in a sanitary manor, the facility might not be up to sanitation code, as in if you have an animal running around, is there dog hair or dander, you know, do you wash your hands, are you using gloves,” says Jennifer Holley, Retail Food Heath Inspector at Bell County Public Health.
The Bell County Public Health District says you are putting yourself at risk when making these types of purchases.
“Essentially if something happens to you, and it’s not a regulated facility, we really can’t help you. Because we can’t go on to somebody’s premise, like you bought it knowing that these people are not permitted,” says Holley.
“You don’t know what you’re eating. As a customer, you are taking a big chance as the person who is selling it, because you don’t know what you’re getting,” says Davis.
Delores Davis has owned Krispy Chicken on Franklin Avenue for 40 years. She says, as a proper food business, they get checked on by a food inspector every six months.
“It’s an ever-going thing. You’re always trying to keep up. Keep things looking clean. Keep things looking good. So when the Health man does come, he’s happy,” she says.
This is exactly why local business owners are so upset.
“They are stealing business from the people that are doing it legitimately and legally and in the right manner,” says Holley.
The Bell County Public Health District did contact Facebook to get them to remove the posts, but Facebook says to them it’s not an illegal item being sold.
If you are one of those people selling food on social media, the district says to give them a call and ask what you need to do, which is to go through proper training, certified food manager training or food handler training. Click HERE to find out more.
It is illegal in Texas to sell food from your house.