Friday, December 19, 2014

Food Service Inspections

Sanitarians inspect licensed food service operators and retail food establishments for proper food storage, handling, preparation and serving. In 2008, Public Health sanitarians conducted more than 7,400 inspections at more than 2,700 facilities, including restaurants, grocery stores, school cafeterias, daycare centers and more.

Many of these inspection reports are available for review online. The internet offers an opportunity to share that information, which may assist you in being a well-informed consumer.

We ask that you keep in mind that any inspection report is a “snapshot” of the day and time of the inspection. On any other day, an establishment could have fewer or more violations than noted on the day of the report. An inspection report may not be representative of the overall, long-term conditions within an establishment. It is also important to note that a violation at an operation which is part of a restaurant chain indicates a problem only at that particular location. In our experience, it is unrealistic to expect that a complex, full service food operation can routinely be violation free.

Inspections

Depending on the type of facility, inspections occur unannounced, one to four times per year, not including follow-up inspections. A sanitarian may also choose to conduct additional inspections throughout the course of the year if he/she feels the facility needs extra guidance/monitoring.

Sanitarians inspect restaurants and food establishments for compliance with Ohio’s Uniform Food Safety Code, including proper food storage, handling, preparation and serving. Food Code violations are broken down into two categories: critical and non-critical.

  • Critical violations are items that, if in noncompliance, are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness or an environmental health hazard. Examples of critical violations include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene.
  • Non-critical violations cover such things as dirty floors, lack of hair restraints, and open waste receptacles.

Public Health staff have always practiced education over enforcement. In addition to required inspections, Public Health offers food safety training for licensed food service operators and retail food establishments to ensure that food service staff understand and follow proper food handling procedures.

Inspection Reports Online

Montgomery County residents are now able to view inspection reports from licensed food service operators and retail food establishments inspected by Public Health (Montgomery County, excluding the city Oakwood).

NOTE: Online inspection reports are available for a period of two (2) years.  For older reports contact the Environmental Health office.

Online inspection reports not only help sanitarians complete their work more efficiently, they also give residents an inside look at what a public health sanitarian sees during an inspection. It is important to understand, however, that inspection information provided here shows only the conditions of the facility at the time of the inspection. A single inspection report should not be used to evaluate a food service establishment. Looking at a facility’s inspection results over a period of time gives a more accurate picture of that facility’s commitment to food safety and sanitation.
Time temp

Common Questions

What information will I find on an inspection report?
Both critical and non-critical violations are shown on inspection reports. The corresponding food code and recommended corrective actions are listed with each violation so residents understand what is required to correct the problem. This information will help residents better understand Ohio’s Uniform Food Safety Code and what is done locally to enforce it. General comments about the facility may also be indicated on the report.

On the inspection report you may see three types of ink or colors used. Black ink shows the form and what the appropriate code summarizes as a violation. Red is used to show a violation exits on the form. The color blue reflects what the inspector saw at the facility that day and is specific to that inspection. Blue color may show both positive and negative comments by the inspector.

Different abbreviations and terms may be used on the reports and are explained below:
  • CC = (Cooling) Food was observed in the cooling stage.
  • CH = (Cold Holding) Food was observed holding in an area such as a top load cooler or on ice.
  • CK = (Cooking) Food was observed cooking.
  • CS = (Cold Storage) Food was observed in cold storage such as in a refrigerator.
  • EE = (Reheating) Food was observed reheating in microwave, on the stove, or in an oven.
  • FF = (Freezer) Food was observed in the freezer.
  • HH = (Holding) Food was observed in hot storage such as in a steam table.
  • HO = (Hot Holding) Food was observed in hot storage such as in a steam table.
  • PP or prep = (Preparation) Food was observed in the preparation stages.
  • RR = (Receiving) Food was observed being delivered to the restaurant.
  • SS = (Storage) Food was observed in storage such as stock room.
  • TT = (Thawing) Food was observed thawing.
  • WI = (Walk in storage/Cooler Food) was observed in the walk in cooler.
  • PHF or TCS = Potentially Hazardous Food or Time/Temperature Controlled for Safety Food. A potentially hazardous food or time/temperature controlled for safety food is a food that is natural or synthetic that requires temperature control. PHF/TCS includes a food of animal origin that is raw or heat-treated; a food of plant origin that is heat-treated or consists of raw seed sprouts; or cut melons. Examples: cooked carrots, beef, chili, soups, deli meats, or chicken.
  • RTE = (Ready to Eat) A ready to eat food is any food in a form that is edible without washing, cooking, or additional preparation and that can be reasonably expected to be eaten in that form.
  • F = (degrees Fahrenheit) Fahrenheit is a unit of measurement for temperature.
  • Temp = (Temperature taken) A temperature of food or air was taken.
  • PIC = (Person In Charge) A person in charge is required in all licensed facilities during hours of operation.
  • CCP = (Critical Control Point) A Critical Control Point is a type of inspection conducted for Risk Level 4 facilities.
  • Ambient = (Ambient Air) The air around the food in a refrigerator.
  • Cooler = (Cooler) This is the same as refrigerator.
What are common problems found on an inspection?
Many problems found during an inspection are non-critical, do not pose an immediate public health threat and can be corrected while the sanitarian is on site.

Critical violations are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness or an environmental health hazard. Examples include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene. Critical violations may require additional follow up from the sanitarian to ensure the problems are corrected properly.

In rare occasions, it may be necessary to close a restaurant or other food service operator due to an imminent health hazard. An imminent health hazard may exist because of an emergency such as a fire, flood, extended interruption of electrical or water service, sewage backup, misuse of poisonous or toxic materials, the onset of an apparent food borne illness outbreak, a gross unsanitary occurrence or condition, or other circumstance that may endanger public health.
Nuisances and Complaints
If you encounter a problem or have a concern while visiting a retail food establishment or food service operation, tell the manager and ask that it be corrected. If you are not satisfied with the response, or if you have a suspected food borne illness to report, contact our office immediately at (937) 225-4460.

Please note that Public Health only accepts complaints associated with facilities located within Montgomery County (excluding the city of Oakwood).
More Common Questions