The Environmental Health Food Program Department is responsible for programs that protect our community from the transmission of disease by food. It provides state licensing, inspection and education to food service/food establishment operations in Ashtabula County. The Ashtabula County Health Department, with the help of the Food Service Department, enforces food service rules and laws, which are set forth by the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3717 and Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3717 (Ohio Food Safety Code), OAC 3701-21 (Food Service Administrative Rules) and OAC 91:3-4 (Retail Food Establishment Administrative Rules). These rules apply to the construction, operation and sanitation for food service operations, retail food establishments, temporary and mobile food services, and vending machine locations.
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Food Service Definitions
Currently, in the State of Ohio food service/food establishment operations are divided into classes based upon risk as follows:
· Risk Level I – – risk food service operation means a food service operation whose activities include, but are not limited to, an operation that offers for sale or sells: pre-packaged refrigerated or frozen potentially hazardous foods; coffee, self service fountain drinks; pre-packaged non-potentially hazardous beverages; pre-packaged non-potentially hazardous foods; or baby food or formula. These operations pose potential risk to the public in terms of sanitation, food labeling, sources of food, storage practices, or expiration dates.
· Risk Level II – – risk food service operation means a food service operations whose activities include, but are not limited to: handling, heat treating, or preparing non-potentially hazardous food; holding for sale or serving potentially hazardous food at the same proper holding temperature at which it is received; or heating individually packaged, commercially processed potentially hazardous foods for immediate service. These operations pose a higher potential risk to the public than Risk Level I because of hand contact or employee health concerns but minimal possibility of pathogenic growth exists.
· Risk Level III – – risk food service operation means a food service operation whose activities include, but are not limited to: handling, cutting, or grinding raw meat products; cutting or slicing ready-to-eat meats and cheeses; assembling or cooking potentially hazardous food for immediate consumption, held hot or cold, or cooled; operating a heat treatment dispensing freezer; reheating in individual portions only; or heating of a product, from an intact, hermetically sealed package and holding it hot. These operations pose a higher risk to the public than Risk Level II because of proper cooking temperatures, proper cooling procedures, proper holding temperatures, contamination issues or improper heat treatment in association with longer holding times before consumption, or processing a raw food product requiring bacterial load reduction procedures in order to sell it as ready-to-eat.
· Risk Level IV – – risk food service operation means a food service operation whose activities include, but are not limited to; reheating bulk quantities of leftover potential hazardous food more than once every seven days; or caterers or other similar food service operations that transport potentially hazardous food. These operations pose a higher potential risk to the public than Risk Level III because of concerns associated with: handling or preparing food using a procedure with several preparation steps that include reheating of a product or ingredient of a product where multiple temperature controls are needed to preclude bacterial growth; offering as ready-to-eat a raw potentially hazardous meat, poultry product, fish, or shellfish or a food with these raw potentially hazardous items as ingredients; using freezing as a means to achieve parasite destruction; serving a primarily high risk clientele including immuno-compromised or elderly individuals in a facility that provides either health care or assisted living; or using time in lieu of temperature as public health control for potentially hazardous food.
Food Service Operation Inspection Frequency
(A) Except as specified in paragraph (B) of this rule, a licensor shall inspect food service operations at least every fifteen months as follows:
· Risk Level I – – at least one standard inspection each licensing period.
· Risk Level II – – at least one standard inspection each licensing period.
· Risk Level III – – at least two standard inspections each licensing period.
· Risk Level IV – – at least two standard inspections and two critical point inspections, and if applicable two variance reviews each licensing period. The licensor may conduct the critical control point inspection on the the same visit as the standard inspection and when applicable verify the terms of any variance that may have been issued.
· Mobile Food Service Operation – – at least one standard inspection each licensing period.
· Temporary Food Service Operation – – at least one inspection during the period of operation.
· New Food ServiceOperation – – one standard inspection not later than thirty days after the license has been issued. If less than six months remain in a licensing period, the licensor may elect to eliminate one standard inspection AND one critical control inspection and one variance review for an operation classified as Risk Level III or IV.
(B) The licensor shall inspect at least fifty percent of an operator’s vending machine locations each licensing period.
For more information please contact the Ashtabula County Health Department at (440) 576 – 6010 option 3.