North Carolina to Match Stricter Federal Food Safety Rules

North Carolina residents can express themselves on new restaurant regulations aimed at making meals safer, a move much of the industry supports.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the state public health division held a public hearing to determine whether to adopt federal food guidelines. The rules would require cold foods be kept colder, order sick restaurant workers to stay home and prohibit cooks from touching some foods with bare hands.

Legislators authorized replacing state regulations with the federal food code. Fewer sickness outbreaks should save the state $6 million over four years.

The new rules are expected to cost restaurants more than $5 million in four years, but save money by protecting patrons. The industry figures a foodborne illness outbreak costs a restaurant about $75,000.