MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
It is necessary for everyone to eat to survive, so wouldn’t it make sense to ensure what we are eating is safe?
The men and women of the Occupational Health Clinic, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, made food safety one of their priorities during the first Inspector’s Choice Awards ceremony, Sept. 30.
“From August 2009 to August 2010, we have looked at every food facility within the Camp Lejeune region,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Shaun Maney, lead petty officer of the OHC. “Out of more than 100 facilities, we have chosen four with the highest total inspection scores for the year.”
Out of 158 culinary facilities aboard Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River and surrounding satellite installations, monthly inspections were combined to result in the top facility in four levels of food handling.
“The four categories range from a facility where the food is not handled and is pre-packaged to a facility that creates a meal from scratch,” said Lt. j.g. Mark Otto, an environmental health officer with the OHC.
The overall goal of the Inspector’s Choice Awards is to give incentive to all culinary facilities to continually strive for a higher level of food quality.
“We want everyone else to be envious of your achievements here today,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Mercer, department head of the OHC. “If they step up their game to match (the winning facilities), the facilities overall will be more well-protected and the risk of food-borne illnesses will be lowered.”
Dolly Coady, manager of the IA 1057 Filling Station and winner of the Category 3 award, said that while winning was an honor, the efforts of the facilities are not just for public notoriety.
“The whole purpose is to make sure we keep a healthy environment for the Marines and sailors and that they all can eat safe,” said Coady.
With participants claiming the first Inspector’s Choice Awards ceremony a success, one may hope that the praise these four facilities received will be a plateau for others to strive for, and that the end result is an overall boost in culinary facility cleanliness and safety in food.
“Everyone wants to be assured they’re getting a quality product when they go somewhere for food,” said Maney. “The goal is always to increase the quality of the product, and these awards are a step in that direction."