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Restaurant Inspections & Violations

Restaurant Inspections & Violations

Inspection Types

Boulder County Department of Health and Environment conducts several different types of food inspections in retail food establishments.

  • Regular Inspection
    A complete inspection evaluates a food establishment‘s compliance with all aspects of Colorado’s food safety regulations. Inspectors cite all operational and structural violations of the food regulations found at the time of inspection.
  • Routine Inspections
    A routine inspection focuses on an establishment’s food handling, food preparation practices and potential sources of food contamination. These inspections are not complete inspections, they may not include structural violations that do not directly impact food safety
  • Follow-Up Non-Enforcement Inspections
    A follow-up inspection is conducted to check an establishment’s efforts to correct cited violations and to assure compliance with Colorado’s food safety regulations.
  • Investigation Inspection
    An investigation inspection is an inspection conducted as a result of a foodborne illness . Investigation Inspection commonly includes documentation on how the suspect menu items are prepared, who prepared them, sources of food, and if facility has had any other complaints or ill workers.
  • Complaint Inspection
    A complaint investigation is an inspection conducted as a result of a reported food safety concern that does not involve foodborne illness. Complaints can range from concerns related to general sanitation, sanitation procedures, facilities/structures, or general maintenance.
  • Re-Inspection
    Unannounced full inspections that are conducted as a result of violations which cause the establishment to not pass a routine inspection based on statutory enforcement requirements.
  • Other Inspections
    Point of contact with establishment that is not a regular, routine or follow-up inspection

Inspection Violations

Risk factors are important practices or procedures identified as the most prevalent contributing factors of food-borne illness or injury. Public health interventions are control measures to prevent food-borne illness or injury.

Compliance status to be designated as IN, OUT, NA, NO for each numbered item
IN Compliant
OUT Not in Compliance
NO Not observed
NA Not applicable
COS Corrected on site
R Repeat violation

Violation Explanations

Foodborne Illness Risk Factors & Public Health Interventions

1. Person in charge present, demonstrates knowledge & performs duties
A person in charge must be present at the food establishment during all hours of operation. The establishment’s management must be knowledgeable about food-borne disease prevention and the regulatory requirements. Food service workers must have a basic understanding of food safety as it relates to their job or task they are performing. Examples of demonstration of knowledge include: dishwashers must know how the dish machine they operate sanitizes and when they should be washing their hands; cooks that reheat foods must know the temperature requirements for reheating foods; and employees who are required to cool foods must know what the temperature requirements and proper processes are for cooling. The more knowledgeable the establishment’s staff are, the safer the food handling practices in the establishment.

2.Certified Food Protection Manager
At least one employee that has supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service must be a certified food protection manager who has shown proficiency of required information through passing a test that is part of an accredited program. The course covers food safety issues, regulations, and techniques to maintain a food-safe environment. The intent of the course is to certify that each food manager has demonstrated by means of a food safety certification examination that he/she has the knowledge, skills and abilities required to protect the public from food-borne illness.

3. Management/Employee Knowledge; Responsibilities & Reporting
Based on the risks inherent to the food operation, during inspections and upon request the person-in-charge (PIC) must demonstrate knowledge of food-borne disease prevention, application of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles (HACCP), and the requirements of the regulations. The PIC must demonstrate this knowledge by:

  • Responding correctly to the inspector’s questions as they relate to the specific food operation. The areas of knowledge include:
  • Explaining the responsibility of the PIC for preventing the transmission of food-borne disease by a food employee who has a disease or medical condition that may cause food-borne disease;
  • Describing the symptoms associated with the diseases that are transmissible through food;
  • Explaining how the PIC, food employees, and conditional employees comply with reporting responsibilities and exclusion or restriction of food employees;
  • Employees are properly trained in food safety, including food allergy awareness, as it relates to their assigned duties.

Employees of food service establishments that become ill are required to inform management of their illness. The establishment’s management must exclude employees from work that are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, and/or fever with sore throat. Sick employees should remain off work 24-48 hours after they are symptom free.

4. Proper Use of Reporting, Restriction & Exclusion
The PIC must exclude or restrict a food employee from a food establishment if the employee is suffering from an illness that can be transmitted through food. This employee must be excluded or restricted from handling food and/or clean equipment and utensils. Workers with gastrointestinal illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, and/or fever with sore throat, can transmit disease-causing microorganisms they are carrying into the foods they are handling, then on to the individuals that consume the food product. If the employee is diagnosed with Norovirus, Shigella spp., nontyphoidal Salmonella, Hepatitis A, or Shiga Toxin-producing E. Coli, employees are required to be excluded and are to immediately contact the local Health Department.

5. Procedures for Responding to Vomiting and Diarrhea
Effective clean-up of vomit and fecal matter in a food establishment must be handled differently from routine cleaning procedures. It should involve a more stringent cleaning and disinfecting process. Some compounds that are routinely used for sanitizing food-contact surfaces and disinfecting countertops and floors, may not be effective against Norovirus. It is therefore important that food establishments have procedures for the cleaning and disinfection of vomitus and/or diarrheal contamination events.

6. Proper Eating, Tasting, Drinking or Tobacco Use
The use of tobacco products or eating during food preparation is prohibited. The hand to mouth contact that occurs during these activities results in the contamination of workers’ hands and food. Food service workers are allowed to consume beverages during food preparation. Employee beverage containers are to be closed and stored in an area where they cannot contaminate food, utensils and preparation areas.

A food employee may not use a utensil more than once to taste food that is to be sold or served.

7. No Discharge from Eyes, Nose or Mouth
Discharges from the eyes, nose, or mouth through persistent sneezing or coughing by food employees can directly contaminate exposed food, equipment, utensils and single-use articles. When these poor hygienic practices cannot be controlled, the employee must be assigned to duties that minimize the potential for contamination.

8. Hands Clean & Properly Washed
The hands play a critical role in the transmission of disease-causing microorganisms. Food employees with dirty hands and/or fingernails may contaminate the food being prepared. Therefore, any activity which may contaminate the hands must be followed by thorough hand washing. Even seemingly healthy food service workers may serve as reservoirs for disease-causing microorganisms that are transmissible through food. Staphylococci bacteria, for example, can be found on the skin and in the mouth, throat, and nose of many healthy food service workers. Food service workers can pass this bacterium on to customers through food by touching these areas with their hands.

Hand washing is a critical factor in controlling disease-causing microorganisms associated with toileting activities as well as other microorganisms that can be transmitted via cross contamination from raw animal foods.

Friction, soap and water have been found to play the most important role in effective hand washing. Effective hand washing must include warm water, scrubbing with soap, rinsing with clean water and drying the hands. The following are examples of situations when hands must be washed:

  • Before leaving the restroom and upon returning to food handling, beverage preparation and warewashing after restroom use.
  • When switching between working with raw meat, fish, poultry and other animal foods and working with ready-to-eat foods.
  • After coughing or sneezing.
  • After smoking, eating or drinking.
  • After touching head, hair, mouth, cuts, burns or other sores.
  • Before putting on food handlers gloves.
  • After handling dirty dishes, utensils and equipment.
  • After handling service animals
  • Between tasks

9.No Bare Hand Contact with RTE Foods or Pre-approved Alternate Procedure Properly Followed
Most food-borne illnesses reported in the United States are caused by fecal-oral microorganisms such as Norovirus. These disease-causing microorganisms are easily transmitted from food handlers to ready-to-eat foods such as salads, deli meats and cheeses, and ice. A key control in preventing these food-borne illness outbreaks is preventing bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Gloves are one of the barriers recommended to prevent bare hand contact, but are not required to be worn by all food service workers. Using other barriers such as utensils, tongs or deli tissues, can also prevent bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

10. Adequate Hand washing Sinks Supplied & Accessible
Hands are probably the most common vehicle for transmission of disease-causing microorganisms to foods in a food establishment. Workers’ hands become contaminated when in the restroom, handling raw meat and poultry, touching dirty dish-ware and utensils, as well as during normal food preparation. Wetting of the hands, the application of soap and the friction of rubbing the hands together lifts contaminants off the skin. A final rinsing of the hands in warm water removes the contaminant.

  1. Since hand washing is such an important factor in the prevention of food-borne illness, sufficient hand washing sinks must be available to make hand washing not only possible, but likely. Designated hand washing sinks are required to be provided in any area where food and beverages are prepared and served, where utensils and equipment are washed, and in restrooms.
  2. Food service workers may be unlikely to wash their hands unless properly equipped hand washing sinks are accessible in the immediate work area. Hand washing sinks which are improperly located, blocked by portable equipment or stacked full of soiled utensils and other items, become inaccessible and unavailable for use. Nothing must block the approach to a hand washing sink thereby discouraging its use.
  3. Hand washing sinks must be stocked with a supply of hand soap and hand towels or be provided with a hand-dryer device to encourage frequent use.

11. Food Obtained from Approved Source
All foods used or sold in a retail food establishment must be obtained from commercial sources that are inspected by the appropriate public health authority (USDA, FDA, state or local health departments). Foods prepared in private homes cannot be used or sold in retail food establishments because they have frequently been implicated in food-borne outbreaks. Home kitchens have limited capacity to safely maintain food at proper temperatures. In addition, the limited space can result in poor storage practices and cross contamination.

12. Food Received at Proper Temperature
Temperature is one of the prime factors that controls the growth of bacteria in food. Many, though not all, types of pathogens and spoilage bacteria are prevented from multiplying to microbiologically significant levels in properly refrigerated foods. Refrigerated, time/temperature control for safe food must be at a temperature of 41° F or below when received.

Raw shell eggs must be received refrigerated and at an ambient air temperature of 45 F or less;

Cooked foods received hot must be at a temperature of 135° F or above;

A food that is labeled frozen and shipped frozen by a food processing plant must be received frozen.

13.Food in Good Condition, Safe & Unadulterated
Foods that are spoiled or become contaminated are considered adulterated and unfit for human consumption. Food establishments must dispose of all spoiled and contaminated foods.

Canned, hermetically sealed and otherwise packaged foods must be handled in a manner to maintain the container for product integrity. Damaged packaging can allow the entrance of contaminants into the food product resulting in the growth of disease-causing microorganisms or spoilage of the contents. Food establishments are required to inspect canned goods and other packaged foods for damage. For example, cans with rim or seam damage, body creases, swelling or bulging cannot be used.

14.Required Records Available; Shellstock Tags, Parasite Destruction

Shellstock must be obtained in containers bearing legible source identification tags or labels that are affixed by the harvester or dealer that depurates, ships, or reships the shellstock. The following records must be kept on site in the establishment:

  • The harvester’s identification number that is assigned by the Shellfish Control Authority;
  • The date of harvesting;
  • The most precise identification of the harvest location or aquaculture site that is practicable based on the system of harvest area designations that is in use by the Shellfish Control Authority and including the abbreviation of the name of the state or country in which the shellfish are harvested;
  • The type and quantity of shellfish;
  • The following statement in bold, capitalized type: “This tag is required to be attached until container is empty or retagged and thereafter kept on file for 90 days.”

Before service or sale in ready-to-eat form, raw, raw-marinated, partially cooked, or marinated-partially cooked fish must be: (1) Frozen and stored at a temperature of -4°F or below for a minimum of 168 hours (7 days) in a freezer; (2) Frozen at -31°F or below until solid and stored at -31°F or below for a minimum of 15 hours; or (3) Frozen at -31°F or below until solid and stored at -4°F or below for a minimum of 24 hours. This does not apply to molluscan shellfish, scallops, farm raised salmon, fish eggs, Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Tuna (Southern), Bigeye Tuna, or Bluefin Tuna (Northern).

If raw, raw-marinated, partially cooked, or marinated-partially cooked fish are served or sold in ready-to-eat form, records of the freezing temperature and time to which the fish are subjected must be retained in the food establishment for 90 calendar days beyond the time of service or sale of the fish.

15. Food Separated & Protected
Cross contamination must also be avoided by separating raw animal foods from ready-to-eat foods. Produce, deli meats, cheeses, cooked foods and other ready-to eat foods, must be stored above or separated from raw meats, poultry, fish and eggs. This prevents juices and blood from the raw animal foods from getting into ready-to-eat foods. In addition, raw animal foods must be stored by the product’s adequate cooking temperature. Raw meat roasts and steaks must be stored above or separated from lamb, pork, fish and eggs. Hamburger and other raw ground meats must be below or separated from the above mentioned foods and raw poultry must be separated from all other foods.

Cross contamination must also be avoided during food preparation. Disease-causing microorganisms can be transferred onto food from contaminated utensils or soiled work surfaces. Cutting boards, utensils and sinks used to prepare raw meats, poultry and fish, must be thoroughly washed and sanitized prior to working with produce or other ready-to-eat foods. Equipment such as meat grinders and saws must be broken down and cleaned and sanitized between working with beef, pork, lamb, or fish.

16. Food Contact Surfaces: Cleaned & Sanitized
Soiled dishware, pots, pans, cutting boards and food contact surfaces of equipment, must be properly washed and then sanitized to minimize food contamination. Washing is the removal of food residue or soil from surfaces using detergents. Sanitization is the application of heat or chemicals on cleaned surfaces that results in a 99.999% reduction of disease-causing microorganisms. There are many different types of sanitizers that can be used in food establishments. The most common include: hot water between 165°F and 180°F, chlorine mixed at concentrations between 50-200 ppm, quaternary ammonia mixed at concentrations between 150-400 ppm, and iodine mixed at a concentration of 12.5 ppm.

When equipment and utensils are washed and sanitized by hand, a three basin sink is required. The first basin is filled with hot soapy water. The second is filled with clean rinse water and the third is filled with water containing sanitizer. Equipment and utensils are washed in the first basin to remove soil and food residue. They are then rinsed free of detergents in the second compartment and are then placed in the third compartment where they are sanitized. The equipment and utensils must remain in the sanitizing solution for at least one minute to allow the sanitizer enough contact time to effectively kill disease-causing microorganisms that may be left on the surfaces after washing and rinsing.

If a dish machine is provided in a food establishment it must be of commercial design to effectively sanitize. Most commercial dish machines sanitize equipment and utensils by the accumulation of heat from contact with 180°F hot water, or by contact with chemical sanitizers such as chlorine, during the dish machine final rinse cycle.

Knives, slicers, tongs, cutting boards and other utensils that are used on a continual basis, must be washed and sanitized once every four hours to prevent the accumulation of disease-causing microorganisms on their surfaces. These utensils must be pulled from use and washed in the three basin sink or dish machine.

Establishments will often have equipment that needs to be washed and sanitized, but is too large to fit into a warewashing sink or dish machine, or is not designed to be submerged in water. This equipment must be washed and sanitized “in place”. Surfaces must be washed with a detergent solution to remove food residue and soil, rinsed free of detergents with clean water, then soaked in an approved sanitizer and allowed to air dry.

Some equipment is designed with a Clean-In-Place (CIP) system. These systems clean and sanitize by the circulation of detergents and sanitizers through a piping system into and over internal equipment surfaces.

17. Proper Disposition of Returned, Previously Served, Reconditioned & Unsafe Food
Re-service of food such as bread, rolls and ice, which has been served to a customer can be a means to transmit disease-causing microorganisms from one person to another. Leftover potentially hazardous foods, such as milk, coffee cream, appetizers and cooked rice, which are saved for re-service to another customer are potentially contaminated and temperature abused. Once foods are served, with the exception of packaged and are time and temperature control for safety (TCS) foods, retail food establishments are required to discard the leftovers. Saving and re-serving leftover foods is not allowed.

Meats, poultry, fish and other raw animal foods contain disease-causing microorganisms. Offering these foods for customer self-service can result in cross contamination and the transmission of disease-causing microorganisms to hands, packaging materials and surrounding surfaces including shopping carts. Retail food establishments are not allowed to offer self-service of raw animal foods to the public. An exception exists for buffets and salad bars that offer foods such as sushi or raw shellfish; and buffets such as Mongolian grills that offer raw, ready to cook meats, poultry and fish that are intended for immediate cooking and consumption on premises.

18. Proper Cooking Time & Temperature
Thorough cooking can be the most effective step in eliminating microorganisms in food. Unless ordered by the consumer, food establishments are required to cook: poultry and stuffed meats, pasta and fish to 165°F; ground meats to 155°F; game meats to 145°F; eggs, pork, lamb, fish and other beef cuts to 145°F; fruits and vegetables that are to be hot held to 135°F, and rare meat roasts to 130°F.

19. Proper Reheating Procedures for Hot Holding
The thorough cooking or heating of food provides a high degree of assurance that disease-causing microorganisms in food will be destroyed. Some bacteria however form heat-resistant spores such as Clostridium perfringens, which allow the bacteria to survive the cooking process. If cooked foods are not quickly cooled, these spore-forming bacteria can become vegetative cells and can grow to dangerous levels. Cooked foods can also get contaminated during storage or preparation. To kill vegetative bacteria, foods must be quickly reheated to temperatures greater than 165°F. Food establishments must quickly reheat foods to greater than 165°F in order to hot hold foods above 135°F during service to prevent the growth of microorganisms.

20. Proper Cooling Time & Temperature
Proper cooling means lowering the temperature of food quickly to prevent bacterial growth. Cooling practices that allow foods to remain between 135°F and 41°F for prolonged periods of time are one of the most frequent causes of food-borne illness. Extended cooling processes allow disease-causing microorganisms to grow in TCS foods. Foods are required to be quickly cooled from 135°F to 70°F in 2 hours and from 70°F to 41°F in an additional 4 hours. These required cooling times are based on how fast bacteria grow. By meeting the required cooling parameters, disease-causing microorganisms will not grow to dangerous levels.

21. Proper Hot Holding Temperatures
Disease-causing microorganisms will grow in foods held at temperatures between 41°F and 135°F for extended periods of time. Food establishments are required to hold hot foods at 135°F or above to prevent bacterial growth.

22. Proper Cold Holding Temperatures
Disease-causing microorganisms will grow in foods held at temperatures between 41°F and 135°F for extended periods of time. Cold holding temperatures generally do not kill bacteria that may be present in food, but will slow or inhibit their growth. Food establishments are required to cold hold foods at 41°F or below.

23. Proper Date Marking & Disposition
Harmful microorganisms can grow in foods at cold temperatures. If certain foods are kept too long, the microorganisms can grow to unsafe levels and cause illness. The bacteria of greatest concern is Listeria monocytogenes or LM. Date marking foods, in addition to storing refrigerated foods at temperatures of 41°F or less, is the best protection against this harmful bacteria. Ready-to-eat foods prepared and held in a food establishment for more than 24 hours must be clearly marked to indicate the date or day by which the food must be consumed on the premises, sold, or discarded when held at a temperature of 41° F or less for a maximum of 7 days. The day of preparation must be counted as Day 1.

24. Time as a Public Health Control: Procedures & Records
Disease-causing microorganisms will grow in foods held at temperatures between 41°F and 135°F for extended periods of time. If a food is between these temperatures for a short time, no significant bacterial growth should occur. Food establishments are allowed to use time rather than temperature to control bacterial growth. When using time as a control, the foods that are removed from temperature control must be served or discarded after 4 hours. In order for food establishments to use time as a control, they must develop a plan that outlines food handling procedures that includes: a list of foods that will be monitored using time as a control, how the food will be marked to indicate the time when the item is removed from temperature control, and the time it will be disposed of.

25. Consumer Advisory Provided for Raw or Undercooked Foods
Disease-causing microorganisms are often found in raw animal foods. Individuals who choose to eat foods of animal origin that are raw or not fully cooked are at an increased risk of acquiring food-borne illnesses. Food establishments serving raw or lightly cooked animal foods such as rare hamburgers, raw or seared fish, raw oysters or lightly cooked eggs, must inform consumers of the increased risk of food-borne illness. Consumer advisory information for customers can be provided on menus, table tents, placards or brochures.

26. Pasteurized Foods Used; Prohibited Foods Not Offered
The elderly, young children and persons with underlying health conditions or who are immunocompromised, are more likely than other people in the general population to experience food-borne illness. Facilities that specifically care for highly susceptible populations such as assisted living facilities, hospitals and childcare facilities, must limit exposure to disease-causing microorganisms by not serving raw or lightly cooked animal foods such as fish, shellfish, meats and eggs.

27. Food Additives: Approved & Properly Used
Use of unapproved additives, or the use of approved additives in amounts exceeding those allowed by food additive regulations could result in food-borne illness, including allergic reactions. For example, many adverse reactions have occurred because of the indiscriminate use of sulfites to retard “browning” of fruits and vegetables or to cause ground meat to look “redder” or fresher. The concern for misuse of additives also applies to establishments operating under a variance for specialized processes such as the use of sodium nitrite or other curing agents in smoking and curing operations. However, if this process is done incorrectly, it could cause illness or death because of excessive nitrite or because the food is insufficiently preserved. Food and Color additives must be used in compliance with a federal food, or color additive regulation, an effective food-contact notification. Such regulations, notifications, and exemptions are generally composed of three parts. In order for a food or color additive to be in compliance, they must comply with three criteria: the identity of the substance, specifications including purity or physical properties, and limitations on the conditions of use.

28. Toxic Substances Properly Identified, Stored & Used
The accidental contamination of food and food contact surfaces with cleaners, sanitizers or other chemicals, can cause serious illness or injury. Distinct labels on chemical containers help ensure that poisonous or toxic materials are properly stored and used.

Separation of cleaners, sanitizers and other chemicals from food, equipment and utensils, helps ensure that chemical contamination does not occur. Cleaners, sanitizers and other chemicals must be stored below and away from all food, food preparation areas, ware washing areas, clean equipment and utensils, paper good and single service items.

Failure to use cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals properly can be dangerous. Directions listed on container labels must be followed correctly. Failure to follow stated instructions could result in injury to workers or customers. Sanitizers must be used at the proper concentrations: Chlorine 50-200 ppm, Quaternary Ammonia 150-400 ppm, and Iodine 12.5 ppm. High levels of sanitizers or soaps can leave toxic or harmful residues.

Containers that once contained cleaners, paints or other chemicals, cannot be utilized for the storage of food. Residual chemical can leach out of the containers and contaminate food that is stored in them.

Medications must be labeled and stored away from food and food contact surfaces. Proper labeling and storage of medications helps ensure they are not accidentally misused or contaminate food and food contact surfaces.

29. Compliance with Variance, Specialized Process, Reduced Oxygen Packaging Criteria or HACCP Plan
Reduced oxygen packaging (ROP) encompasses a variety of food packaging methods where the air within the packaging is removed or modified to less than the normal ambient oxygen level. ROP packaging methods extend product shelf life, but can also be conducive for the growth of Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes. Food establishments wanting to conduct ROP must develop a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan to control these of disease-causing microorganisms. The HACCP plan identifies food safety hazards in the preparation process, outlines steps to control the hazards, and sets critical control points that must be monitored to verify foods are processed safely. All ROP processed foods must be held refrigerated at 41°F or less. Some products, depending upon the type of ROP processing and proposed shelf life, are required to be held at temperatures as low as 34°F. ROP processed foods have a limited shelf life and therefore must be labeled with a “use by” or discard date.

Juice packaged for retail sale in a food establishment must be made under a HACCP plan or labeled with a warning notice that reads, “WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Good Retail Practices

30. Pasteurized Eggs Used Where Required
Raw or undercooked eggs that are used in certain dressings or sauces are particularly hazardous because the virulent organism Salmonella Enteritidis may be present in raw shell eggs. Pasteurized eggs provide an egg product that is free of pathogens. The pasteurized product should be substituted in a recipe that requires raw or undercooked eggs.

31. Water and Ice from Approved Source
Freezing does not invariably kill microorganisms; on the contrary, it may preserve them. Therefore, ice that comes into contact with food to cool it or that is used directly for consumption must be as safe as drinking water.

Water, unless it comes from a safe supply, may serve as a source of contamination for food, equipment, utensils, and hands. The major concern is that water may become a vehicle for transmission of disease organisms. Water can also become contaminated with natural or man-made chemicals. Therefore, for the protection of consumers and employees, water must be obtained from a source regulated by law and must be used, transported, and dispensed in a sanitary manner. Wells and other types of individual water supplies may become contaminated through faulty equipment or environmental contamination of ground water. Periodic sampling is required to monitor the safety of the water and to detect any change in quality.

32. Variance Obtained for Specialized Processing Methods
A food establishment must obtain a variance before:

  1. Smoking food as a method of food preservation rather than as a method of flavor enhancement
    Curing food
  2. Using food additives or adding components such as vinegar
    • As a method of food preservation rather than as a method of flavor enhancement, or
    • To render a food so that it is not time/temperature control of safety food
  3. Packaging food using a Reduced Oxygen Packaging (ROP) method
  4. Operating a shellfish life-support system display tank used to store or display shellfish that are offered for human consumption Custom processing animals that are for personal use as food and not for sale or service in a food establishment, or
  5. Sprouting seeds or beans

33. Proper Cooling Methods Used; Adequate Equipment for Temperature Control
Food establishments must have adequate equipment to maintain foods at safe temperatures. The capacity of equipment needed in a food establishment is dependent upon the establishment’s menu, type of meal service provided, the amount of advanced food preparation conducted, cooling and reheating practices, and meal volume. Refrigeration capacity must allow for the storage of bulk ingredients, prepared foods and for cooling hot foods. In addition, point of use refrigeration must be provided on cook lines, order pick-up areas, in bars and in wait stations, where TCS foods are held. Steam tables, hot holding cabinets and other hot holding equipment, must be provided to hold foods hot after cooking and reheating. Equipment must also be of such design for the intended use such as hot holding of potentially hazardous foods or for reheating of foods. Food containers used for cooling should be shallow and uncovered to allow foods to rapidly cool.

34. Plant Food Properly Cooked for Hot Holding
Fruits and vegetables that are cooked for hot holding must be cooked to a temperature of 135° F.

35. Approved Thawing Methods Used
Freezing prevents microbial growth in foods, but usually does not destroy microorganisms. Improper thawing causes food temperatures to rise above 41°F, which allows bacteria to grow in the food. Foods that are precooked or ready-to-eat, cannot rise above 41°F during thawing. Raw animal foods such as meats, poultry and fish, can only rise above 41°F during thawing, but for no more than four hours. Food establishments can thaw foods in a number of different ways, but the safest is under refrigeration at 41°F or less.

36. Thermometers Provided & Accurate
Because food temperature control is so critical in assuring food safety, all food establishments must have and must use an accurate food probe thermometer to check food temperatures. Food product thermometers are required to have a temperature range of 0 – 220°F. The thermometers must be accurate to +/-2°F. Establishments that cook thin meats, such as small hamburger patties, must also have small diameter thermometer probes capable of accurately measuring the temperature of these meats. Food service workers need to use food product thermometers to verify foods are cooked or maintained at required temperatures.

37. Food Properly Labeled: Original Container
Raw shucked shellfish must be obtained in non-returnable packages which bear a legible label that identifies the name, address and certification number of the shucker, packer or repacker of the shellfish the “sell by” or “best if used by” date, harvester’s identification number, date of harvesting, type and quantity of shellfish. All shellfish must be kept in original container with the shellstock tag and kept on file for 90 days.

Working containers holding food or food ingredients that were removed from the original container shall be labeled (with the common name of the food) unless the food is readily and unmistakably recognized, such as dry pasta.

Food shall be offered for human consumption in a way that does not mislead or misinform the consumer. Food packaged in a retail food establishment shall comply with labeling requirements, including identifying major allergens.

38. Insects & Rodents Not Present; No Unauthorized Animals
Rodents such as mice and rats live in and feed on garbage and refuse. Disease-causing microorganisms are therefore often present on their hair, in their feces and urine. Microorganisms can be transmitted to people when rodents come into contact with food and food contact surfaces causing contamination.

Animals can carry disease-causing microorganisms that can be transmitted to humans through direct or indirect contamination of food and food contact surfaces. They shed hair continuously and may deposit liquid or fecal waste creating the need for vigilance and more frequent and rigorous cleaning efforts. Live animals are not allowed in food establishments unless providing a service. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only recognizes trained dogs as service animals. These service animals must be trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service animals are allowed to accompany visual or hearing impaired or otherwise disabled persons in areas customers are allowed. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Service animals are not required to wear special collars or harnesses, or be licensed or certified as such. Food operators are required to make a determination as to whether an animal brought into their establishment is truly a service animal. Operators should limit inquiries to asking if the animal is a service animal and what task or service has the animal been trained to perform.

39. Contamination Prevented During Food Preparation, Storage & Display
To prevent disease-causing microorganisms, filth, foreign matter and other adulterants from getting into food, food must be protected from potential contamination during storage, preparation and display.

This includes the need to segregate damaged, spoiled or recalled products in a designated area away from other food, equipment and utensils.

Food must be stored a minimum of 6″ off the floor to prevent contaminants entering into the product.

40. Personal Cleanliness
The requirement for fingernails to be trimmed, filed, and maintained is designed to address both the cleanability of areas beneath the fingernails and the possibility that fingernails or pieces of the fingernails may end up in the food due to breakage. Ragged fingernails present cleanability concerns and may harbor pathogenic organisms. Items of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and watches may collect soil and the construction of the jewelry may hinder handwashing. As a result, the jewelry may act as a reservoir for bacteria and viruses to contaminate food when handled.

Dirty clothing may harbor disease causing microorganisms that are transmissible through food. Food employees who inadvertently touch their dirty clothing can contaminate their hands. This could result in contamination of the food being prepared. Food may also be contaminated through direct contact with dirty clothing.

Consumers are particularly sensitive to food contaminated by hair. Hair can be both a direct and indirect vehicle of contamination. Food employees can contaminate their hands when they touch their hair. A hair restraint keeps dislodged hair from ending up in the food and may deter employees from touching their hair.

41. Wiping Cloths: Properly Used & Stored
Counter tops, work tables, cutting boards, and other food contact surfaces are wiped down constantly to keep them free of food spill. Soiled wiping cloths, especially when moist, can become a breeding ground for disease-causing microorganisms that could be transferred to food. Wet wiping cloths must be stored in a sanitizing solution of adequate strength to kill microorganisms between uses. Wet wiping cloths must be maintained saturated with sanitizer concentrations of 50–200 ppm chlorine or 150-400 ppm quaternary ammonia. Sanitizer test strips should be used to verify that the correct concentration of sanitizer is being maintained.

42. Washing Fruits & Vegetables
All fresh produce, except commercially washed, pre-cut, and bagged produce, must be thoroughly washed under running, potable water before eating, cutting or cooking to remove visible soil.

43.In-Use Utensils: Properly Stored
Utensils that are provided to dispense and serve food must be stored and handled in a manner that protects the utensil and the food from contamination. Dirty or contaminated utensils can contaminate the foods that are being dispensed and served. To prevent possible contamination of food, utensils must be stored: in the food with the handle out of the food; in a running water dipper well or in hot water that is above 135°F; or on a clean dry surface if the utensil is cleaned and sanitized once every four hours.

44. Utensils, Equipment & Linens: Properly Stored, Dried & Handled
Soiled work clothing, cloth napkins, table cloths and wiping cloths, can contaminate food and food contact surfaces. These items must be properly laundered between uses to prevent the transfer of microorganisms. Proper storage of soiled work clothing, napkins, table cloths and wiping cloths will reduce the likelihood of contamination of food, equipment, utensils and single service articles. If clothes washers and dryers are provided in food establishments they must be located and properly installed to prevent contamination of food and food contact surfaces.

45. Single-Use & Single-Service Articles: Properly Stored & Used
Single service items such as paper cups, napkins, straws, plastic “to-go” food containers and plastic tableware, must be stored and dispensed in a manner that protects these items from contamination. Single service items must be stored off the floor and covered. Storage of single service items in restrooms, under unprotected sewer lines and under unfinished stairs, is prohibited. Dispensers can be used to protect these items when in service. Single service items such as tableware may be prewrapped, or provided in a dispenser that presents the utensil handle to the server or consumer. Paper towels required at handwashing must be in a dispenser to help protect the towels from contamination.

46. Gloves Used Properly
Gloves used in touching ready-to-eat food are defined as a “utensil” and must meet the applicable requirements related to utensil construction, good repair, cleaning, and storage. Multiuse gloves, especially when used repeatedly and soiled, can become breeding grounds for pathogens that could be transferred to food. Soiled gloves can directly contaminate food if stored with ready-to-eat food or may indirectly contaminate food if stored with articles that will be used in contact with food. Hands must be washed before donning gloves. Gloves must be discarded when soil or other contaminants enter the inside of the glove

47. Equipment, Food & Non-Food Contact Surfaces Approved, Cleanable, Properly Designed, Constructed & Used
Food contact surfaces of equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed to be smooth, durable, non-absorbent and easily cleanable. Equipment that is of poor design and construction, or is in a state of deterioration does not allow for easy cleaning and will result in the accumulation of soil and the contamination of the food. Surfaces which have imperfections such as cracks, chips or pits, allow microorganisms to attach and form biofilms. Once established these biofilms can release disease-causing microorganisms into food.

Food contact surfaces must also be constructed of safe materials that will not impart toxic substances into food. Materials used in the construction of food contact surfaces must not contain metals such as lead, zinc, copper and antimony, which could leach into food at potentially toxic levels.

To assure equipment and utensils are fabricated of safe materials and are designed for easy cleaning, they must be of commercial design and should be certified by an American National Standards Institute accredited sanitation program.

Non-food contact surfaces of equipment routinely exposed to splash or food debris must be constructed to be smooth, durable, nonabsorbent and easily cleanable. Equipment that is easily cleaned minimizes the presence of microorganisms, moisture and debris, as well as deters the attraction of rodents and insects. Well-designed equipment enhances the ability to keep nonfood-contact surfaces clean.

48. Ware-washing Facilities: Installed, Maintained & Used; Test Strips
To ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils, ware-washing facilities must be provided and must be properly designed, constructed, maintained and operated. Ware-washing facilities must accommodate the continuous flow of equipment and utensils through pre-scraping, washing, rinsing, sanitizing and air drying in a way that prevents contamination of clean dishware, pots, pans and utensils. Drainboards, sinks and warewashing machines, must be of adequate size to handle the equipment and utensils that are used in the establishment. All food establishments preparing or serving unpacked foods and beverages must have a 3-compartment warewashing sink. Equipment and utensils must be washed in a detergent solution in the first compartment, then rinsed free of detergent in the middle compartment and then sanitized in the last compartment before being air dried. Proper execution of the 3-step manual ware-washing procedure reduces the chance of contaminating the sanitizing water and diluting the strength and efficacy of the chemical sanitizer being used.

The temperatures of the wash and final rinse water are critical factors affecting cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils. It is important that warewashing machines are provided with accurate thermometers for monitoring water temperatures. Sanitizer test kits must also be provided and used by food service workers to ensure that the concentrations of chemical sanitizers being used are correct. Warewashing machines are required to operate at specific water flow pressures. Water pressure can affect how well a dish machine will sanitize. Water pressure that is too low or too high results in poor spray patterns within the dish machine. A pressure gauge installed on the dish machine’s final rinse line allows workers to monitor the water pressure of a dish machine.

49. Non-Food Contact Surfaces Clean
The surfaces of cabinets, utensil drawers, shelves, and exterior surfaces of refrigerators, hot holding equipment and other nonfood contact surfaces must be cleaned to keep them free of accumulation of food spills, food residues, grease and other soil and debris. The presence of food residue and other debris may provide a suitable environment for the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. Workers may inadvertently transfer this contamination to food. Accumulation of food spills and food residue on nonfood contact surfaces may also be a source of food, causing the harborage of insects, rodents and other pests.

50. Hot & Cold Water Available; Adequate Pressure
A sufficient supply of hot water is critical for employee hand washing, washing of equipment and utensils, and general cleaning needed in all food establishments. Water heating systems are required to meet the peak demands of the establishment. Both hot and cold water are to be provided at sinks. Hot water must be greater than 100°F at handwashing, must be greater than 110°F at warewashing sinks and greater than 120°F at dish machines.

51. Plumbing Installed; Proper Backflow Devices
It is critical that all plumbing fixtures, including water and sewer lines in food establishments, be maintained in proper working order. Poorly maintained plumbing systems may result in potential health hazards such as cross connections, the back-up of sewage or leakage. These conditions may directly result in the contamination of food, equipment, utensils or paper goods. Poorly maintained plumbing can also adversely affect the ability of food handlers to adequately wash their hands, cause improper warewashing operations and increase the potential for cross contamination of food, equipment and utensils.

Plumbing connections between drinking water systems and non-drinking water systems are called cross connections. Cross connections can occur in many different ways in a food establishment. The simplest may be a hose attached to a faucet that is dropped into a container or sink filled with contaminated water. In this example the hose causes a direct connection between the building’s drinking water system and the contaminated or non-drinking water in the container or sink. To prevent the “backflow” of contaminated water back into the building’s water system caused by siphonage, a backflow protection device must be installed on the faucet where the hose is attached. Backflow devices must be of proper design and adequately installed to assure proper operation and maintenance. Backflow devices must be installed on all faucets or hose bibs where a hose can be attached, on soap and other chemical dispensing systems that are plumbed to the building’s water systems, on water lines to dish machines, and in soft drink carbonator systems.

52. Sewage & Waste Water Properly Disposed
Adequate sewage and waste water disposal is a basic requirement for all food operations. Waste water contains high levels of disease-causing microorganisms. Proper disposal of human waste greatly reduces the risk of fecal contamination. This provision is intended to ensure that waste will not contaminate ground surfaces or water supplies, pollute surface waters or allow rodents or insects to serve as vectors of disease. Food establishments must dispose of all waste water into a sanitary sewer. Both public and onsite wastewater treatment (septic) sewage systems must be maintained to prevent the backup of sewage into the establishment or on to the ground outside.

To prevent the possibility of sewage contacting food or backing up into fixtures such as food preparation sinks, warewashing sinks, ice bins, refrigerators or dish machines, the drainage systems from these fixtures must drain through an “air break” before entering the sewer. This physical gap in the drain line does not allow waste water to back up into fixtures if a sewage backup should occur.

53. Toilet Facilities: Properly Constructed, Supplied & Cleaned
Adequate, sanitary toilet facilities are necessary for the proper disposal of human waste and for preventing the spread of disease by flies and other insects. Toilet rooms and toilet facilities must be of sanitary design and maintained clean and in good repair to motivate employees to maintain a high degree of personal hygiene by utilizing good sanitary practices and in turn prevent food contamination. Doors to toilet rooms must be kept closed to help prevent the possible spread of disease-causing microorganisms by the movement of flies or by other means between toilet facilities and food preparation areas. To help prevent bare hand contact with fecal waste, dispensed toilet tissue must be supplied at toilets. Additionally, a waste receptacle must be provided to dispose of any refuse.

54. Garbage & Refuse Properly Disposed; Facilities Maintained
Trash or waste containers should be available wherever trash and garbage are generated within the food establishment. Waste containers must be provided at handwashing sinks, in restrooms and within kitchen areas. Trash cans and other waste containers must be constructed to be easily cleanable. The proper storage and disposal of garbage and refuse is necessary to minimize pest and odor problems. Improperly handled garbage and refuse creates nuisance conditions, makes housekeeping difficult and can result in the contamination of food, equipment and utensils. Recycling materials, garbage and refuse must be removed from within the food establishment daily.

Recycling and waste materials located outdoors are to be stored in clean, covered, leak proof trash receptacles that prevent the scattering of these materials. Recycling and waste materials should be handled and stored in a manner not to attract, harbor or act as a breeding place for flies, rodents and other pests. Recyclable materials, garbage and refuse must be removed from the premises at least once a week.

55. Physical Facilities Installed, Maintained & Clean
The premises in and around a food establishment must be maintained in an orderly fashion to prevent attracting and harboring rodents and insects. Premises must be free of litter and the accumulation of unnecessary articles, including old and unused equipment. Some items that are not necessary for the daily operation of the establishment but are still needed, may be stored on premise but in an orderly fashion to prevent contamination and to permit cleaning of storage areas. Brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, and other maintenance equipment can contribute to the contamination of food and food contact surfaces. These items must also be stored in a manner that prevents contamination and does not lead to harborage and breeding of rodents and insects.

Effective pest management to control insects, rodents and other pests, includes preventing entry of pests into the establishment by providing tight fitting doors and thresholds, keeping outside doors and windows closed, and sealing off any cracks or openings in foundations or around utility penetrations.

Floors, floor coverings, walls, wall coverings and ceilings must be designed, constructed and installed so they are smooth and easily cleanable.

56. Adequate Ventilation & Lighting; Designated Areas Used
Adequate ventilation is very important in maintaining a high level of sanitation within a food establishment. A poorly ventilated kitchen is generally very hot and can contribute to refrigeration not being capable of holding foods less than 41°F. Insect and rodent infestations may occur if doors and windows are left open in an attempt to cool the establishment. Worker hygiene may be affected by sweat dripping into food or onto food contact surfaces, or by contaminating hands when wiping the face. Soiling of walls, ceilings and equipment surfaces with smoke, grease and moisture may also result. Insufficient make-up air supplied into the building can result in high carbon monoxide levels due to back draft of gas appliances such as water heaters and ranges. The regulations require exhaust hoods to be installed above all grease cooking equipment and equipment that gives off large amounts of heat and steam. Outside air must be mechanically supplied back into the building at a volume equal to or greater than what is being exhausted out of the building.

Light levels are specified so that sufficient light is available to enable workers to work safely, read labels, identify toxic materials, recognize the condition of food, utensils and other supplies, and to evaluate cleaning. Sufficient light makes the need for cleaning apparent by making any accumulation of food spills and other soil conspicuous. Lights that are shielded, coated or shatter resistant, help prevent breakage and potential contamination of food, clean equipment, utensils and single service items from fragments of glass should a bulb break.

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Food Safety Program

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