August 21, 2023
The Department of Health and Senior Services has issued a release to help clarify animals in a food establishment and/or grocery store.
Live animals are not ordinarily allowed on the premises of a food establishment according to 6-501.115 of the Missouri Food Code. Service animals who are controlled by the disabled employee or person are allowed in non-food preparation areas if a health or safety hazard will not result from the presence or activities of the service animal.
Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Animals who provide comfort without a specific task are considered emotional support animals, not service animals. Visit the ADA website for more information and questions. Service animals are not required to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness and handlers are not required to show proof. However, service animals must be under the control of the handler at all times, whether unleashed or leashed. To determine if a dog is a service animal, individuals can ask two questions:
- Is this a service animal?
- If so, what tasks is this animal trained to perform?
Animals can contaminate the surfaces of a food establishment and grocery store, such as if an animal is in a cart that is not cleaned between users, which can cause health or safety hazards.
Link to frequently asked questions about service animals and the ADA: https://www.ada.gov/resources/service-animals-faqs/