(A) This section applies when the licensor of retail food establishments is the director of agriculture.
(B) The director of agriculture may suspend or revoke a retail food establishment license on determining that a license holder is in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules adopted under it pertaining to retail food establishments, including a violation evidenced by documented failure to maintain sanitary conditions within the establishment. Except as provided in division (C)(9) of this section, the suspension or revocation of a license is not effective until the license holder is given written notice of the violation, a reasonable amount of time to correct the violation, and an opportunity for a hearing.
(C) All actions and proceedings undertaken pursuant to this section shall comply with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, except as follows:
(1) The location of any adjudicatory hearing that the license holder requests shall be the director's offices in Licking county.
(2) The director shall notify a license holder by certified mail or personal delivery that the license holder is conditionally entitled to a hearing. The director shall specify in the notice that, in order to obtain a hearing, the license holder must request the hearing not later than ten days after the date of receipt of the notice.
(3) If the license holder requests a hearing, the date set for the hearing shall be not later than ten days after the date on which the director receives the request, unless the director and the license holder agree otherwise.
(4) The director shall not postpone or continue an adjudication hearing without the consent of the license holder. If the license holder requests a postponement or continuation of an adjudication hearing, the director shall not grant it unless the license holder demonstrates that an extreme hardship will be incurred in holding the adjudication hearing on that hearing date. If the director grants a postponement or continuation on the grounds of extreme hardship, the record shall document the nature and cause of the extreme hardship.
(5) In lieu of having a hearing and upon the license holder's written request to the director, the license holder may submit to the director, not later than the date of the hearing set pursuant to division (C)(3) of this section, documents, papers, and other written evidence to support the license holder's claim.
(6) If the director appoints a referee or examiner to conduct the hearing, the following apply:
(a) A copy of the written adjudication report and recommendations of the referee or examiner shall be served by certified mail upon the director and the license holder not later than three business days following the conclusion of the hearing.
(b) Not later than three business days after receipt of the report and recommendations, the license holder may file with the director written objections to the report and recommendations.
(c) The director shall consider the objections submitted by the license holder before approving, modifying, or disapproving the report and recommendations. The director shall serve the director's order upon the license holder by certified mail not later than six business days after receiving the report and recommendations.
(7) If the director conducts the hearing, the director shall serve the director's decision by certified mail upon the license holder not later than three business days following the close of the hearing.
(8) If no hearing is held, the director shall issue an order by certified mail to the license holder not later than three business days following the last date possible for a hearing, based on the record that is available.
(9) If the director determines that an emergency exists that presents a clear and present danger to the public health, the director may suspend a license, effective without a hearing. Thereafter, without delay, the director shall afford the license holder an opportunity for hearing. On determining that there is no longer a clear and present danger to the public health, the director may rescind the suspension without a hearing.
Effective Date: 11-03-1999.