Food Establishment Inspections

Food establishments that sell or serve food to the public must get an annual permit and be inspected by Jefferson County Public Health. These establishments include restaurants, food and espresso carts, cafes, delis, the fresh food sections in grocery stores, temporary events where food is sold, and more.

There are over 230 permitted food service establishments in Jefferson County. About half of these establishments have 2 unannounced inspections per year, the rest have at least one. Any restaurant may request a special educational session.

The purpose of the inspections is to assure that the food is being handled properly upon receiving foodthrough preparation and serving. Inspectors observe kitchen workers' food handling practices, assure equipment is working properly, take food temperatures, inspect refrigerators and storage areas, assure water temperatures, and correct level and use of sanitizers. Any problem found is written up, and the manager is taught the correct procedure or method immediately.

Sample Forms

Inspection Results

View food establishment safety inspection results online.

Types of Violations

"Red critical violations" are those food handling practices that, when not done properly, are most likely to lead to food borne illnesses. These food handling practices include:
  • Food safety knowledge among staff and person in charge (PIC).
  • Controlling temperature, such as cooking meats to the right temperature to kill food borne disease germs, keeping food hot enough until it is served, keeping food cold enough, and cooling food properly.
  • Washing hands, adequate hand washing facilities, and using utensils or gloves instead of bare hands on "ready to eat" food.
  • Serving only approved foods, storing food properly, and protection from cross-contamination serving practices.
"Blue violations" are primarily maintenance and sanitation issues that are not likely to be the cause of a foodborne illness.

Inspection Point System

Each violation has a numerical value based on its risk of food borne illness. Therefore, there are more points given for red critical violations than for blue violations. Whenever possible, violations found during the inspection are corrected immediately. Red critical items found during the inspection must be corrected immediately. An example of this would be: upon finding a food item to be held at an inappropriate temperature, re-heating the food to 165° F, putting it into the refrigerator or discarding the food.

The inspections are based on a 428 point system. The totals of red and blue points are added up to determine the score. A score of 0 points means no violations were noted during that inspection.
  • Food establishments with violations totaling 35 to 104 points shall be re-inspected within the time frame specified on the report (usually within 2 weeks).
  • Food establishments that fail to correct the violations noted in the first inspection report shall be re-inspected again. Failure to correct violations after the second re-inspection may result in suspension of the permit.
  • Food establishments with violations totaling 105 points or above shall have the permit to operate suspended by JCPH.