FOOD SAFETY & SANITATION
Please Note: None of the state or federal regulatory agencies allow you to operate a food operation from your home.
The Department of Health works with food service establishments as defined by s. 381.0072, Florida Statute to help ensure their products are not a source of foodborne illness. Generally this includes food service operations located in institutional settings (such as schools, assisted living facilities, detention facilities, adult day cares, etc.), civic and fraternal organizations, bars and lounges that don't prepare foods, and theaters that limit their food service to items customarily served at theaters (such as beverages, pop corn, hot dogs and nachos). The codes and standards for food service establishments are found in Chapter 64E-11 (192 KB Pdf), Florida Administrative Code.
The Department of Health's (DOH) Food Hygiene Inspection Program is risk-based. This means that those facilities that pose a greater risk to the public becoming sick from consuming their product are inspected more often than those that pose a lesser risk. The amount of risk is determined by risk factors. These risk factors include the types of food served, the amount of preparation that is required, the population that is served, and the quantity of food that is prepared. Considering these types of factors are consistent with recommendation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In fact, Annex 5 of the 2005 version of the FDA Model Food Code is devoted to conducting risk-based inspections. High risk facilities are inspected quarterly, which means 4 times per year (or 3 times for schools that close for summer vacation). Moderate risk facilities are inspected semiannually, which means 2 times per year. Low risk facilities are inspected once per year.
Here are some examples:
Inspections are performed at the County Health Department (CHD) level by the Environmental Health section. Each CHDs Environmental Health section is responsible for all DOH-regulated food service establishments located within their county. There are several types of inspections that are performed. The types of inspections that you may see in this report are routine inspections, re-inspections, and complaint inspections. Routine inspections are periodic inspections that are performed as a part of the on-going food safety system. Re-inspections are completed when a facility has violations that need corrections in more than the standard time frame. Complaint inspections are performed in response to a citizen’s complaint. Both routine and complaint inspections are unannounced inspections. This means there is no prior notice or pre-arranged time frame before the inspector arrives. If a re-inspection is required, the facility is given a specific date by which specified violations must be corrected; therefore, there is an arranged time for the re-visit.
Once an inspector completes an inspection it is given a result of Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or Incomplete. "Satisfactory" means that there were no observed violations at the time of inspection or the violations that were observed were not significant enough to require correction before the next routine inspection. "Unsatisfactory" means that the violations were a significant threat to public health and sanitation and require correction before the next routine inspection. An "Incomplete" inspection means that the inspection was interrupted and the inspector had to leave before completing the inspection.
If you would like to review a copy of a facility inspection report, please contact the facility operator or the local county health department (some county health departments may charge a record request fee for this service).
OPENING A FOOD SERVICE BUSINESS:
For information regarding hospitals and nursing homes, please contact the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA - http://www.myflorida.com/agency/30/ ). Read the Agency for Health Care Administrations Monitoring of Hospitals and Nursing Home Food Service Operations .
For information regarding group homes that serve persons with disabilities, please contact the Agency for Person with Disabilities (APD - http://www.myflorida.com/agency/42/ ).
For information regarding child care facilities, please contact the Department of Children and Families (DCF - http://www.myflorida.com/agency/17/ )
Personnel Hygiene (hand washing) is the number one cause of food borne outbreaks in our state. The local health departments have lots of flyers/posters/presentations on the importance of hand washing.
DID YOU KNOW?
Due to past legislative changes the Department of Health no longer works with food service facilities in hospitals, nursing homes, child care facilities, many group homes, and churches and other not-for-profit religious organizations. For information regarding child care facilities, please contact the Department of children and Families (DCF - http://www.myflorida.com/agency/17/
Most Restaurants in our state are licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can contact them at 850-487-1395.
Most Grocery stores and convenience and convenience stores in our state are permitted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Codes and Statutes
Chapter 64E-11 Florida Administrative Code: Florida Administrative Code