Health departments eying illegal online food sales

Health departments eying illegal online food sales

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The holidays are right around the corner and lots of people might be looking to make an extra buck. If you're looking to make a profit by selling some holiday treats make sure you meet all the requirements or it could cost you.

Midland and Ector County Health Departments said networking online to sell food has become popular, but to put your health first and be careful with all vendors.

"Nobody wants to enjoy the holidays at the hospital," said Celstino Garcia the Health Manager with the Midland Health Department.

Health officials said there is an increase in selling food during the holidays. Social media groups like trading posts have made easy to access and sell food, you may not be able to get in store.

Midland and Ector County health departments said many of these people are selling them illegally and can result in a bacterial infection.

"We want to encourage our established owners to flourish and do well," said Garcia. "We're there to protect them but also protect the citizens."

Officials said red flags are:

  • if the seller only wants to deliver
  • if seller is using their home kitchen to cook
  • if you only have a phone number and no address for the seller

The Ector County Health Department receives reports from hospitals whenever someone checks in with a food borne illness.

"We have to go through an interview process and find out where they ate, if they went out of the county, or what type of water they used, if it was well water or city water," said Bruce Cunha, Chief Sanitarian for The Ector County Health Department.

In both counties, food vendors with permits are required to carry a copy. That means... if you have any suspicion about the food, ask to see a permit.

Fines for selling food without a proper permit start anywhere from $250-$500. To report someone selling food illegally, contact your local health department.

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