Food Service Inspections
Retail Food Service
A person who wishes to serve or manufacture food for public consumption is required by ordinance to first obtain a permit from the health department. These permits are issued following a review of facility plans and menu and assuring, by inspection, compliance with food safety standards and practices. Routine inspections during subsequent operation of the food service assesses the operator’s success in assuring that routine practices are conducted in a safe and sanitary manner.
Health Department staff conducts inspections of all facilities that sell food and/or drinks to the public. The random, unannounced inspections are done to check compliance with all applicable state and local requirements. The facilities are checked for issues such as proper employee hand washing, safe food handling practices, food preparation techniques, food storage, facility cleanliness, insect or rodent infestations and sanitizing procedures. These facilities include restaurants, grocery stores, institutions, food manufacturers, mobile food units, schools, as well as temporary and occasional events and festivals.
- Inspection Frequency:
Restaurant inspection frequency is based upon the priority rating of the facility. Establishments are rated high, medium or low depending on the complexity of the menu, how much food is made from raw products, and how much is made in advance rather than cooked-to-order. Food-borne illnesses can increase with the number of times that a food product is handled during preparation. (For example: restaurants that handle food more frequently are rated as high priority and are inspected more frequently than a facility that serves food such as a packaged sandwich.)
- Violations (Two types of violations may be cited):
Critical Violations: Violations of the food service code, which, if left uncorrected, are more likely than other violations to directly contribute to food contamination and illness. Examples of critical violations include inadequate temperatures. Such problems can create environments that cause bacteria to grow and thrive, which puts the consumer at risk for food-borne illness.
Non-Critical Violations: Violations not directly related to the cause of food-borne illness, but if uncorrected, could impede the operation of the restaurant. The likelihood of food-borne illness in these cases is very low. Examples of non-critical violations include a lack of facility cleanliness and maintenance or improper cleaning of non-food contact surfaces.
- Types of Inspections:
Routine: This is scheduled inspection, unannounced to the restaurant. An inspector will conduct a complete inspection covering all items in the regulations for compliance.
Follow-up Inspection: This is an inspection for the specific purpose of re-inspecting items that were not in compliance at the time of the routine inspection.
Training: The inspector visits the restaurant to present a formal training event for the restaurant’s staff.
Complaint: This is an inspection conducted as a result of a complaint received by the health department. The specifics of the complaint will be evaluated and discussed with the person in charge.