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Food Safety

The food safety program protects public health by working to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illnesses, to reduce potential contamination sources for food consumed by the general public, and to promote compliance with state food safety laws and regulations through education and enforcement.

  • Licenses and inspects restaurants, grocery stores, schools, food processors, mobile food units and pushcarts, farmer’s markets, and temporary events.
  • Reviews construction plans for new or extensively remodeled food establishments and ones that are changing ownership.
  • Investigates foodborne illness outbreaks and performs inspections originating from consumer complaints.
  • Maintains a retail food establishment Ratings List that is available to the public.

Retail Food Establishment Rating List

The retail food establishment rating list are based on sanitation practices and food handling procedures observed on the date of inspection. This list contains the rating of the most recent routine inspection completed.

An establishment may not be listed for several reasons, such as an establishment which has been recently opened, an establishment temporarily closed for repair, etc. or the establishment's failure to meet minimum sanitation requirements.

All new establishments are given an initial rating no higher than "standard" and may move to a higher sanitation rating on subsequent inspections, based upon performance.

Unannounced inspections are conducted on a routine basis. Sanitation ratings are based upon a standardized statewide inspection system. Items of greatest importance include:

  • Safe food source and storage, Proper food temperature control,Employee health and personal hygiene practices, Cleaning and sanitation practices, Facility and equipment design. Construction and maintenance, Insect and Pest control, Lighting, Ventilation, Water supply, Handling/storage of utensils, and Waste disposal

Superior - The establishment understands and routinely corrects sanitation deficiencies on a day-to-day basis and does not wait for a health inspection before doing so. in addition, at least 75 percent of employees and management of a superior food establishment must have successfully completed a food safety training course conducted by this department, or its equivalent.

Excellent - The establishment routinely corrects most sanitation deficiencies and immediately corrects the minor violations found at the time of inspection.

Standard - The establishment generally corrects most sanitation deficiencies on a routine basis and corrects violations found at the time of inspection in the time allowed by the inspecting health officer.

Fair - The establishment barely meets minimum standards required by state and local food safety codes. Serious and minor sanitation deficiencies are found on each inspection. Sanitation deficiencies are not corrected on a routine basis and repeat inspections are often a necessary part of regulating these establishments to help assure minimum food safety conditions.

Risk is assigned according to the type of food, how it is prepared, and the chance of cross-contaminating the food.  These are important factors associated with the transmission of foodborne illness.  The higher the establishment’s risk, the greater the chance of transmitting a foodborne illness.  The higher the “risk,” the more frequently we inspect.

High Riskestablishment prepares foods to cook, cool and reheat before sell.  For example, a “full service restaurant” is a “high” risk establishment.     

A “Medium Risk” establishment sells limited preparation, processed foods.  For example, a “fast food restaurant” is a “medium” risk establishment.

 A “Low Risk” establishment sells prepackaged foods that require no food preparation.  For example, a “convenience store, mini-mart, or bodega” is a “low” risk establishment.

Adi Pour, Ph.D., Director


Updated March 1, 2020

Retail Food Establishment Rating List (68 pages)

Inspection reports can be requested with the Freedom of Information Act by calling 402-444-6427.