Golden ‘A’ Awards

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Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the county’s Golden A Awards
ceremony. This is hosted by the Environmental Health Section of the Brunswick
County Health Services. This event was held at Odell Williamson Event Center at
Brunswick Community College. This is the 25th year that the Golden A Awards
have been given.

Environmental Health is responsible for inspecting the food service operations in
Brunswick County. The reason for the Golden A Ceremony is to celebrate and
recognize those restaurants and other food service operations that have gotten
an 95% or above on each of their required health inspections during 2023. In his
opening remarks, Danny Thornton, Environmental Health Director said that he
was proud to be in a room with so many people that place food safety at such a
high level.

I am so proud of the many places that get this award. There are 533 food
service operations (this includes restaurants, food stands, meat markets, senior
sites, institutional food services—nursing home dietary, pushcarts, mobile food
units and school lunchrooms) that are inspected here in Brunswick County. Out
of them, 357 got the Golden A this year. That’s 67% and an increase of 6% from
last year. Wow! What an impressive number. These folks do a great job.

Even more impressive are those that got a Platinum A award. This award is
given to operations that have received a Golden A Award for five years in a row.
There were 185 Platinum A’s awarded.

You can check out the listing of past Golden A and Platinum A award winners on
Environmental Health’s webpage at This year’s
awardees will be posted soon. Those recognized were given framed certificates
that you can see posted in their locations—be sure to look for them and feel
confident that these folks set a high standard for food safety!

I was invited to participate in this event because I have trained many of the folks
getting these awards in food safety. N.C. Cooperative Extension in in Brunswick
County offers a Food Safety Manager Certification class called Safe Plates. This
is an evidence-based program designed at NC State that provides training on
food safety standards for managing food safety in a food service operation.

I had the opportunity to recognize some of these Safe Plates participants. After
taking the Safe Plates class, participants take an American National Standards
Institute (ANSI) test from the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals.
Upon successfully passing this test they receive their Food Safety Manager
Certification. There were four Safe Plates students that received 95% or above
on this test in 2023. These were:

Ken Leuth from Streat Side Cafe in Southport

Ken Leuth from Streat Side Cafe in Southport

Ken Lueth form Streatside Café in Southport, Amy Cole and Teresa Whitaker both from Chaser’s Sports Bar and Grill on Oak Island. It’s good to note that both of these restaurants also received Platinum A awards. Melissa Matthews from Little River, SC also achieved this score.

Amy Cole and Teresa Whitaker from Chaser's on Oak Island

Amy Cole and Teresa Whitaker from Chaser’s on Oak Island

Safe Plates classes incorporate the best available science in food safety and is
based on the Food and Drug Administration’s 2022 Food Code. I teach these
classes several times a year with the assistance of staff members from
Environmental Health. Check out our website for upcoming class and test dates
here in Brunswick County.

I’m so proud that many of my students have achieved Golden A, Platinum A and
our Safe Plates Excellence awards. Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Brunswick County Center Syracuse is a Family and Consumer Science team
member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County
Center 910-253-2610 or by email at