The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) recently launched two new information sources for the public to find local produce and search food establishment inspection scores with ease.
A new web-based app, developed through a partnership with the S.C. Department of Agriculture, S.C. Department of Social Services and S.C. Association of Farmers Markets, will help individuals find and buy fresh local produce in the state. The free S.C. Farmers and Roadside Market app includes an interactive map that “shows the location, hours of operation and accepted payment types, including WIC, SNAP and senior voucher programs, for over 200 farmers markets and roadside produce stands across the state,” according to DHEC. The app also includes healthy recipes each month featuring in-season produce.
“This app provides many benefits to users by enabling them to locate nearby farmers markets and increasing access to healthy food all while supporting South Carolina farmers and our state’s number one industry,” S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said in a release.
Data for the app was collected through the development of the S.C. Fruit and Vegetable Outlet Inventory created by the organizations involved in the app launch. The DHEC community health staff surveyed 229 local markets throughout April, May and June of last year. The data will also be included as part of the S.C. Obesity Action Plan and will be used to identify areas of the state where access to fresh produce may need to be improved, according to DHEC.
“Access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be a defining factor that distinguishes a thriving community from a disadvantaged one,” Lisa Davis, DHEC director of health services, said in a release. “The app makes it easy to find local, affordable options for fresh produce throughout the state, which can help empower people to make healthy eating choices for their families.”
DHEC also launched the S.C. Food Grades web application that provides the public with information on risk-based inspection scores and reports for restaurants, grocery stores and food trucks, among others. Individuals can use the map search tool to find any DHEC-permitted retail food establishments and view their two most recent inspection scores, as well as recent inspection reports.
Risk-based inspections are conducted on over 18,000 establishments in South Carolina by DHEC annually or quarterly, and are based on an establishment’s food processes and their compliance history.
S.C. Food Grades app: www.scdhec.gov/foodgrades
S.C. Farmers and Roadside Market app: www.scdhec.gov/farmersmarkets