Food Safety Program
1. Program Information
The Highland County Health Department’s Environmental Health’s Food Safety Division is responsible for licensing the following food facilities within our county:
• Food Service Operations (FSO) & Temporary FSOs
• Retail Food Establishments (RFE) & Temporary RFEs
• Mobiles FSOs & RFEs
• Vending Locations
• Micro Markets
Sanitarians inspect these facilities as to their compliance to the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code. Along with general inspections, sanitarians investigate food related complaints, and provide educational talks/programs as it relates to safe food handling and food code compliance.
• Ohio Revised Code 3717 - RFEs & FSOs
• Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3717.22 - EXEMPTIONS for RFEs
• Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3717.42 -EXEMPTIONS for FSOs
3. Food Safety Websites:
• Ohio Department of Commerce –Liquor Licensing, State Fire Marshall, Building Code, etc.
4. Forms, Publications, and Applications
Our website is currently under construction. Please contact our office to receive the appropriate application.
Facility and Equipment Plan Review application packets are available for:
• Temporary FSO.RFE
The basic Facility and Equipment Plan Review process is:
1) Submit a Facility and Equipment Plan Review form, with applicable supporting documentation (ex. plans, equipment list, menu, etc.) and the appropriate plan review fee, if applicable, to this office.
Note: This office will act upon the plans within 30 days.
Make sure to contact all other applicable agencies (ie Building, Plumbing, Fire, EPA, etc.) for their required licensing/permitting process.
2) When you are near completion of your business, contact this office to schedule one or more pre-licensing inspections. Any items listed during the inspection(s) will need to be corrected.
3) Fill out, sign and date an Application for a License to Conduct a Food Service Operation or Retail Food Establishment and submit the associated licensing fee to this office for approval.
4) A copy of final approvals from other applicable agencies will need to be available for review prior to final licensing.
5) A final licensing inspection will need to be scheduled. Usually the licenses is issued at this time if everything is in order.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
• What is the process to open a food facility in Highland County?
It is best to contact this office so that a sanitarian within the food safety division can help you determine type of license you will need and to determine if other agencies (Building Department, Fire Department, Plumbing Department, ODA, Ohio EPA, etc.) will need to be involved.
• Does Highland County use a grading or rating system for its facilities?
No. All food inspection reports are public record, and are available for public viewing at the health department.
• How do I know that a restaurant is safe to eat at?
All licensed restaurants in Highland County are required to be inspected 1 or more times per year by the Highland County Health Department to verify that the facility is in compliance with Ohio Food Safety Regulations.
• How do I make a complaint about a restaurant, grocery store, vending site, mobile concession, or other food facility?
The complaint should be directed to the health department in which the facility is located if outside of Highland County. For complaints on facilities located within our county you may contact this office via mail, phone, email, or fax with the complaint and contact information.
• When do food workers need to wear gloves?
For the most part it is whenever handling ready-to-eat foods (sandwiches, deli meats, baked products, washed fruits or vegetables, etc.), or if they have open wounds on their hands. Some foods are exempt from this rule.
• How can I receive training in food safety?
There are many different organizations that provide certified food safety training. Contact your local college and review reputable internet sources for more information. For Level I or II Ohio Certification training see link above to see state approved providers.
• How long after I eat contaminated food will I feel sick?
You may or may not get sick from contaminated food. The length of time varies with the type of contaminant (bacteria, virus, toxins, etc.) from immediately to several days.
• How cold should I keep my food at home?
At least 41 degrees F or below. Having a thermometer in you refrigerator can help you to ensure that the temperature is in a safe zone.
• How hot should I cook my foods?
The temperature requirements vary depending on the food. For specific food temperatures, look at the food safety chart link under the publications section.
• What are the most important things I can do for food safety?
Wash your hands, cook and store food properly.