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New Food Rules Frequently Asked Questions


Category: Alabama Grease Law

Q:  Referencing the Alabama "Grease Law", we have some people wanting to collect waste grease from restaurants to use in their own biodiesel manufacturing operations. Is collecting the grease for biodiesel manufacturing an approved disposal method, as required by the law?

A:  No, as the proposal is usually presented to us, but it possibly could be approved. The issue is that the law requires all waste grease to be hauled by an approved hauler. Unless the person wanting to collect the grease has a waste grease haulers license, permit, or is registered, they cannot legally collect and haul the grease even if the intent is to use it personally to manufacture biodiesel.

Q:  Which agency issues the waste grease hauler's permit?

A:  The contact for the grease hauler and renderer registration is the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI), Meat Division: Dr. Robert Barlow is in Montgomery at 1445 Federal Drive (office phone (334) 240-7210).

Q:  So if someone wants to collect grease from a restaurant to make biodiesel and needs to be licensed/permitted to haul the grease, should I call the ADAI for the person?

A:  No. ADPH will give the contact information from the question above, any contacts from that point is up to the interested parties. When the prospective grease hauler has documentation that he/she has been approved by the ADAI, a copy of the documentation should be placed in the food establishment’s file at the county health department. Until this documentation is in our files, the grease cannot be legally collected by this person. The food establishment allowing them to do so will jeopardize the establishment’s Food Permit under the law.

Q:  How do I get a copy of the Grease Law?

A:  It’s part of the Code of Alabama 1975, located at sections 22-27-70 through 22-27-73 and updated as sections 22-27-90 through 22-27-94.

Chapter 4

Q:  Referencing the chlorine level/water temp/water pH chart for chlorine sanitization on page 136, should we require the establishments to test for water pH the same as the test for chlorine concentration?

A:  Routinely, no.

The chart gives the water pH to correspond to a minimum water temperature and minimum chlorine level effectiveness. That is, if someone wants to sanitize in 55F water, they would have to use a minimum chlorine level of 100 ppm regardless of the water pH. The only chlorine/temp combination where this is an issue is if someone is using 50 ppm chlorine minimum in high (>8.0) pH water. In that case, the minimum water temperature must be 100F. Otherwise, 75F is sufficient.

Since most municipalities adjust for the water pH, this is probably a non-issue. It's probably unnecessary, but if we want to verify the water pH, we can contact the municipal water office. They should have pH testing for the water; their test would apply to anyone on the system.

For establishments on a private water source, we can do a one-time pH test for verification if we want to. If the usual minimum chlorine sanitization level is set at 100ppm, or the sanitization rinse water temp is 100F +, then it won't matter.

Chapter 6

Q:  What is considered a “sufficient capacity” for a ventilation system?

A:  Basically, one that will do the required job of removing greasy fumes without causing contamination of food, food contact surfaces, equipment, or utensils. For standard commercial establishments, an air balance test can be required if the capacity is questionable. We sometimes run into small establishments using residential style ranges, in particular day care centers. For those situations, when the only cooking is done on a residential style range, the recommended review should consist of:

State or local fire marshal office (as applicable) shall approve the use of the type of hood. If the fire marshal approves the use of a residential hood for a residential range, the Health Dept. may allow use of the hood provided:

a.  Written documentation is provided of the fire marshal’s inspection and approval.

b.  Make-up air intake and exhaust vents are required. These require operable fans in the ventilation system. There shall be no food or equipment contamination issues.

c.  The hood must be easily cleanable, including no open seams.

d.  Intake and exhaust vents must have removable filters which are durable and cleanable.

e.  The hood and ventilation equipment shall be designed to prevent grease or condensation from draining or dripping onto food, equipment or food-related items on the range.

f.  The hood shall be installed in a manner to prevent any difficult to clean places where grease, dust or dirt may accumulate.

g.  Exhaust vents should be vented to the outside of the building rather than just into the loft or attic.

Page last updated: December 14, 2021