Regulations for Care Homes Regarding Food Safety and Preparation

At the end of November, tragedy struck in Loomis, a small suburb of Sacramento, when 4 people died after consuming poisonous mushrooms that were used in a soup served at a small residential board and care. Much of the subsequent internet chatter pertained to what kinds of regulations that licensed care homes follow regarding food safety and preparation.

Reports of toxic mushroom consumption in San Diego are not common since wild mushrooms thrive in areas with rainy seasons. However, in Northern California, mushroom poisoning is fairly common, and in 2009 and 2010 there were over 1,700 reported cases of mushroom ingestion-related illnesses. One major problem is that toxic mushrooms are wolves in sheep’s clothing in that they blend in quite well with edible mushrooms.

Tragedy breeds anger, and it can be easy to criticize the home’s decision to serve wild mushrooms. Interestingly, however, one of the victim’s sons commented on how well the home, which had been in operation for 5 years, had cared for his Mother even saying that the Administrator made great delicious soups that were not canned. He went on to comment that he was concerned for the Administrator who had devoted her life to her care home.

But what are the state’s regulations? Food regulations will likely continue to evolve, but at this time there are no specific regulations regarding using foods from a personal garden or from using foods that grow in the wild. Some of the regulations are very specific such as the regulation that clearly states, “Home canned foods shall not be used”. But many of the regulations are principled. For example, one regulation states that, “All food shall be of good quality.”

If you are curious about additional information on state regulations for care homes, call Care Placement. Each member of our team is a licensed Administrator and is well versed in the regulations that govern senior care homes.

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