2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
500.121 Disciplinary procedures.—
(1) In addition to the suspension procedures provided in s. 500.12, if applicable, the department may impose an administrative fine in the Class II category pursuant to s. 570.971 against any retail food store, food establishment, or cottage food operation that violates this chapter, which fine, when imposed and paid, shall be deposited by the department into the General Inspection Trust Fund. The department may revoke or suspend the permit of any such retail food store or food establishment if it is satisfied that the retail food store or food establishment has:
(a) Violated this chapter.
(b) Violated or aided or abetted in the violation of any law of this state governing or applicable to retail food stores or food establishments or any lawful rules of the department.
(c) Knowingly committed, or been a party to, any material fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy, collusion, trick, scheme, or device whereby another person, lawfully relying upon the word, representation, or conduct of a retail food store or food establishment, acts to her or his injury or damage.
(d) Committed any act or conduct of the same or different character than that enumerated which constitutes fraudulent or dishonest dealing.
(2) A manufacturer, processor, packer, or distributor who misrepresents or mislabels the country of origin of any food may, in addition to any penalty provided in this chapter, be subject to an additional administrative fine in the Class II category pursuant to s. 570.971 for each violation.
(3) Any administrative order made and entered by the department imposing a fine pursuant to this section shall specify the amount of the fine and the time limit for payment thereof, not exceeding 21 days, and, upon failure of the permitholder to pay the fine within that time, the permit is subject to suspension or revocation.
(4) In any court proceeding relating to administrative orders, the burden of proving violations of this chapter and of upholding administrative orders is with the department.
(5) The department shall post a prominent closed-for-operation sign on any food establishment that has had its permit suspended or revoked. The department shall also post such a sign on any establishment judicially or administratively determined to be operating without a permit. It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person to deface or remove such closed-for-operation sign or for any food establishment to open for operation without a permit or to open for operation while its permit is suspended or revoked. The department may impose administrative sanctions for violations of this subsection.
(6) If the department determines that a food offered in a food establishment is labeled with nutrient claims that are in violation of this chapter, the department shall retest or reexamine the product within 90 days after notification to the manufacturer and to the firm at which the product was collected. If the product is again found in violation, the department shall test or examine the product for a third time within 60 days after the second notification. The product manufacturer shall reimburse the department for the cost of the third test or examination. If the product is found in violation for a third time, the department shall exercise its authority under s. 500.172 and issue a stop-sale or stop-use order. The department may impose additional sanctions for violations of this subsection.
(7) The department may determine that a food establishment regulated under this chapter requires immediate closure when the food establishment fails to comply with this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter and presents an imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare. The department may accept inspection results from other state and local building officials and other regulatory agencies as justification for such action. The department shall, upon such a determination, issue an immediate final order to close a food establishment as follows:
(a) The division director or designee shall determine that the continued operation of a food establishment presents an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare.
(b) Upon such determination, the department shall issue an immediate final order directing the owner or operator of the food establishment to cease operation and close the food establishment. The department shall serve the order upon the owner, operator, or agent thereof of the food establishment. The department may attach a closed-for-operation sign to the food establishment while the order remains in place.
(c) The department shall inspect the food establishment within 24 hours after the issuance of the order. Upon a determination that the food establishment has met the applicable requirements to resume operations, the department shall serve a release upon the owner, operator, or agent thereof of the food establishment.
(d) A food establishment ordered by the department to cease operation and close under this section shall remain closed until released by the department or by a judicial order to reopen.
(e) It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for a person to deface or remove a closed-for-operation sign placed on a food establishment by the department or for the owner or operator of a food establishment to resist closure of the establishment by the department. The department may impose administrative sanctions for violations of this paragraph.
(f) The department may adopt rules to administer this subsection.
History.—s. 1, ch. 72-73; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 39, ch. 82-225; ss. 2, 3, 4, ch. 83-8; s. 9, ch. 87-388; s. 102, ch. 92-291; s. 10, ch. 94-180; s. 604, ch. 97-103; s. 20, ch. 97-220; s. 1, ch. 98-13; ss. 5, 14, ch. 98-396; s. 1, ch. 2002-85; s. 26, ch. 2002-295; s. 20, ch. 2011-205; s. 34, ch. 2014-150.