Steward Department Members Now Must Have U.S. Coast Guard Screening for Food Handler Endorsement

March 2011

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Editor’s note: The following notice from SIU Medical Director Dr. Kenneth B. Miller was sent to all SIU halls on Feb. 8. A related memo was sent to each of the union’s contracted clinics. The instructions are aimed at port personnel rather than rank-and-file SIU members, but the information is relevant to Seafarers.


All seafarers working in the steward department are required to have the food handler endorsement, “Steward Department (F.H.),” on their merchant mariner credentials (MMC). In the past, this was an automatic endorsement by the U.S. Coast Guard.


In order for the U.S. Coast Guard to provide the food handler endorsement on an initial (e.g. Ordinary Seaman, Wiper, Steward Department) or renewed MMC, a medical provider must provide a statement attesting that the applicant is “free of communicable diseases.” Only those seafarers who request to have the “Steward Department (F.H.)” endorsement and who provide the required statement will receive the “Steward Department (F.H.)” endorsement on their MMCs.


Effective 2/14/11, the following will be available at all SHBP contracted clinics.


For seafarers renewing their MMC with an entry rating requiring the steward department (F.H.) endorsement, a revised Merchant Mariner Credential Medical Evaluation Report 719K will be completed which includes a statement on page 9 attesting to the seafarer being free of communicable diseases.


For seafarers with an entry rating who failed to obtain a food handler endorsement on their MMC and require one, please issue an (A601) USCG STEWARD DEPT. FOOD HANDLER CERTIFICATION clinic receipt to obtain a food handler medical clearance to submit to the USCG. The fee for this receipt is $10.00.


In addition, all U.S. Coast Guard examinations performed by the SHBP contracted clinics will utilize the Merchant Mariner Credential Medical Evaluation Report 719K only and not the 719K-E.

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