15A NCAC 18A .2676       INFORMAL REVIEW PROCESS AND APPEALS PROCEDURE

(a)  If a permit holder disagrees with a decision of the local health department on the interpretation, application, or enforcement of the rules of this Section the permit holder may:

(1)           Request an informal review pursuant to Paragraphs (d) and (e) of this Rule; or

(2)           Initiate a contested case in accordance with G.S. 150B.

(b)  The permit holder is not required to complete the alternative dispute resolution prior to initiating a contested case in accordance with G.S. 150B.

(c)  When a petition for a contested case is filed, the informal review process shall terminate.

(d)  If the permit holder requests an informal review, the request shall be in writing and shall be postmarked or hand-delivered to the local health department within seven days of notice of the decision giving rise to the review. The request shall state the issues in dispute.  If the inspection giving rise to the informal review was conducted by the Environmental Health Supervisor in the county or area where the food establishment is located, or when the county or area has only one registered environmental health specialist assigned to inspect food establishments, the Environmental Health Regional Specialist assigned to that county or area shall conduct the local informal review. As soon as possible, but at least within 30 days of receipt of the request, the person conducting the review shall contact the permit holder, provide that permit holder an opportunity to be heard on the issues in dispute and issue a written decision addressing the issues raised in the appeal.  Copies of the decision shall be mailed to the permit holder and to the State Health Director.  That decision shall be binding for the purposes of future inspections of the establishment in question unless modified pursuant to Paragraph (e) of this Rule or by the State Health Director.

(e)  Following receipt of the written decision of the Environmental Health Supervisor or his or her representative issued pursuant to Paragraph (d) of this Rule, the permit holder who initiated the informal review may appeal the resulting decision to an Informal Review Officer designated by the Department to be responsible for final decisions on appeals from throughout the state. Notice of such appeal shall be in writing, shall include a copy of the Environmental Health Supervisor's or his or her representative's decision, and shall be postmarked or hand-delivered to the local health department and to the Department within seven days of receipt of the written decision issued pursuant to Paragraph (a) of this Rule.  Within 35 days of receipt of this appeal, the designated Informal Review Officer shall hold a conference in Wake County.  At least 10 days prior to the conference, the Informal Review Officer shall provide notice of the time and place of this conference to the permit holder and the Environmental Health Supervisor for the county or area where the issue arose.  Within 10 days following the date of the conference, the Informal Review Officer shall issue a written decision addressing the issues raised in the appeal and that decision shall be binding for purposes of future inspections of the establishment in question unless modified pursuant to Paragraph (g) of this Rule or by the State Health Director.

(f)  If the decision on appeal at the local or state level results in a change in the score resulting from an inspection of an establishment, the regulatory authority shall post a new grade card reflecting that new score.

(g)  Appeals of the decision of the designated Informal Review Officer shall be in accordance with G.S. 150B.

(h)  Nothing in this Rule shall impact the right of a permit holder to a reinspection pursuant to Rule .2661 of this Section.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 130A-248; S.L. 2011-394, Section 15(a);

Eff. September 1, 2012.