As Georgia strives to recognize changes in industry, usually driven by consumer demand, rules and regulations are updated to try and accommodate these trends. But as with all new things, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), which is tasked with protecting the lives of Georgia citizens and visitors, must take into consideration many factors before making decisions which could lead to increased risks of foodborne illnesses or other health hazards.
One example is the recent addition (2015) to the Georgia Food Service Rules and Regulations, Chapter 511-6-1, which allows food service establishments to offer an outdoor dining patio area where patrons can sit with their pet dogs. A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association shows that 48 percent of pets owned in the US are dogs. (1) The Georgia Food Service Program, under the Environmental Health Section of DPH, recognized that restaurants were losing out to a segment of the population who value Fido as a family member. After researching regulations in other states, primarily in western U.S., it was determined that with special provisions in place by the restaurant, and approval from the local health department, diners could bring their pooch along with them to enjoy a meal or beverage in an outdoor patio area at their establishment.