The St. Mary’s County Health Department held its annual ceremony on April 3, 2022, to recognize the recipients of the 2022 Gold Star Awards. The awards were given to 107 food service facilities that achieved superior food safety standards in St. Mary’s County. These establishments make up approximately 20% of the county’s licensed food service facilities.

The Gold Star Program, which has been recognizing food establishments for superior food safety practices since its inception in 2007, is a critical component of St. Mary’s County’s efforts to ensure food safety. Environmental health specialists at the health department regularly inspect over 500 food service facilities in St. Mary’s County to ensure that they meet the high standards set by the program. During 2022, the health department conducted over 1400 inspections.

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen earned the St. Mary’s County Health Department 2022 Gold Star Achievement Award for our outstanding record of excellence in food safety and sanitation. The awards were presented by Dr. Meenakshi Brewster, Heather Moritz, Mark Morris and Michael Pottinger at a ceremony on April 3. Credit: St. Mary's Caring Soup Kitchen

Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer, stated that the food establishments that achieved this high level of compliance deserved recognition for their attention to food safety and sanitation. She further added that the extra dedication of these establishments ensured that community members could enjoy their food with confidence in its safe preparation.

To earn a Gold Star, food establishments must meet specific requirements, including having no critical violations, no temperature violations cited during a monitoring inspection, and all violations noted by an inspector must be corrected by a 30-day follow-up inspection. Moreover, the food service workers must have completed a recognized and approved “Food Service Sanitation and Safety Class” within the last two years.

Food establishments that meet these requirements receive a certificate and a window sticker designating them as Gold Star establishments. The awards recognize these establishments for achieving the highest standards in food safety and sanitation.

St. Mary’s County takes food safety very seriously, and the Gold Star Program is an essential part of its efforts to ensure that community members have confidence in the safety of the food they consume. The program’s success is due to the commitment of food service establishments to meet high standards for food safety and sanitation.

For more information about the Gold Star Program and the 2022 Gold Star Award winners, please visit the health department’s website at

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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