1. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) “Food service establishment” means any place where food is prepared and intended for individual portion service, and includes the site at which individual portions are provided, whether consumption occurs on or off the premises, or whether or not there is a charge for the food.
(b) “Retail food store” means any establishment or section of an establishment where food and food products are offered to the consumer and intended for off-premises consumption. The term does not include establishments which handle only pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods, roadside markets that offer only fresh fruits and fresh vegetables for sale, food service establishments, or food and beverage vending machines.
(c) “Zone” means an administratively determined geographic portion of the state to which inspectors are assigned by the department.
(d) “Food warehouse” shall mean any food establishment in which food is held for commercial distribution.
2. Each retail food store shall post a copy of the date and results of its most recent sanitary inspection by the department in a conspicuous location near each public entrance, as prescribed by the commissioner. Such copies shall also be made available to the public upon request.
3. (a) The department shall assign at least one retail food specialist to each inspection zone. Such specialists shall assist retail food stores in remedying chronic deficiencies and shall ensure that effective pest control and other sanitary measures are properly implemented.
(b) Such specialists shall be given additional training to that normally provided to sanitary inspectors to qualify them for their duties under this section, with particular emphasis on the problems unique to retail food stores and pest control measures.
4. The department shall inspect each retail food store at least once in every twelve month period. Any store that fails two consecutive inspections shall be inspected at least once in every six month period until it has passed two consecutive inspections. In the event that a retail food store fails three consecutive inspections, the department may, in its discretion, order such establishment to cease all retail operation until it passes inspection or suspend or revoke any license issued to such establishment pursuant to article twenty-C of this chapter.
5. Licensure. No person shall maintain or operate a retail food store, food service establishment or food warehouse unless such establishment is licensed pursuant to the provisions of this article, provided, however, that establishments registered, permitted or licensed by the department pursuant to other provisions of this chapter, under permit and inspection by the state department of health or by a local health agency which maintains a program certified and approved by the state commissioner of health, or subject to inspection by the United States department of agriculture pursuant to the federal meat, poultry or egg inspection programs, shall be exempt from licensure under this article. Application for licensure of a retail food store, food service establishment or food warehouse shall be made, upon a form prescribed by the commissioner, on or before December first of every other year for the registration period beginning January first following. Upon submission of a completed application, together with the applicable licensing fee, the commissioner shall license the retail food store, food service establishment or food warehouse described in the application for two years from the applicable registration commencement period set forth in this section. The licensing fee shall be two hundred fifty dollars provided, however, that food warehouses shall pay a licensing fee of four hundred dollars.