3 Compartment Sink Meeting

By Jim Juliano 4/15/08

On April 9, 2008, a California state senate subcommittee meeting was held at the offices of the Orange County Department of Environmental Health. The subject being discussed at this meeting was the 3 compartment sink, or “warewashing” sink as it is referred to in the California Retail Food Code, and its requirement with regards to mobile food facilities. The subcommittee was going to take the findings from this meeting and present them at a Coalition meeting in Sacramento the following day to possibly amend the CFRC. There were representatives from County health departments from all over the state, current and potential cart business owners, and representatives of manufacturing companies that specialize in cart construction in attendance.

Some of the key points that were touched on at the meeting:

  • When is a 3 compartment sink required?
  • Where does it have to be?
  • Number of sinks required for multi-unit configurations.
  • When are enclosures required?
  • Possible amendments to the CFRC

A good amount of time was dedicated to proposing the addition of some clarifying language to the code that is more specific to the operation of coffee/espresso carts. While the health department officials lobbied on one side of the room to keep the code vague and non-descript, the people being affected by this law voiced their request for more specific classification. Whether the health department people want to look at it this way or not, coffee carts are included in the same classification as catering trucks, ice cream trucks, hot dog and popcorn carts. These are all “Mobile Food Facilities” and since they are just that (mobile), they are permitted to operate anywhere within the jurisdiction of their county.

The findings of the committee were that anytime Milk is used in the preparation of coffee/espresso drinks, whether hot or iced/blended, there is a “Potentially Hazardous Food” present, so a 3 compartment sink is required to sterilize the utensils that come in contact with the milk. Those utensils can be the frothing pitcher, the whisk, or the blender. It was the intention of the committee to introduce a new subdivision to the CFRC that specifically stated when brewed espresso, tea, or coffee were served, no 3 compartment sink was necessary.

There is another subcommittee meeting scheduled for later this year, to pick up where this meeting left off on this subject. A particularly intriguing topic that was discussed at the end of this meeting that will receive further attention at the next meeting was the notion of drafting a section specific to beverage based cart businesses. Either way, any changes or amendments that the Sacramento Coalition agrees on wouldn’t be put into law until January 1, 2009. So until then, the 3 compartment sinks are here to stay in California.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply