The Kansas Department of Agriculture will take over food service and lodging facilities inspections in Sedgwick County, effective April 1.
The state is not renewing its contract with the city of Wichita for the inspections, which expires March 31. The move is intended to streamline the work of inspecting food service and lodging facilities, the state said in a Friday news release.
The KDA currently conducts food safety inspections in the other 104 Kansas counties. Each inspector is fully trained and certified to standards established by the Food and Drug Administration.
City Manager Robert Layton said Friday afternoon in a statement that the state’s decision did not cite any deficiency in the city’s inspection program, or offer any options to the city.
Layton said the city met contractual obligations to the state, including having one inspector on staff for every 400 food service establishments. The city received approximately $500,000 under the contract, roughly 80 percent of inspection fees.
The city staff’s activities included:
• Assuring that special events such as the Wichita River Festival, BlackTop Nationals, Great Plains Renaissance Festival and other events with multiple food vendors received inspections.
• Combining restaurant inspections with others such as grease interceptors to streamline the inspection process.
• Responding to the recent dramatic growth of mobile food service vendors in Wichita with specialized inspections.
Layton pledged that the transition to state inspections would be seamless.
“As this service transitions to the state of Kansas, the city of Wichita will do everything in its power to ensure that there is no compromise of the food service inspections that have earned the respect and confidence of the hundreds of thousands of Wichitans and guests who regularly visit the many quality food service establishments in our community,” he said.