Harford County Health Department inspects restaurants and other food service facilities to routinely monitor food handling practices, and sanitary and physical conditions. Depending on the type of food service offered by the facility, routine random inspections are conducted up to three times a year. Complaints and foodborne illness outbreak investigations prompt additional inspections.
Inspectors (Environmental Sanitarians) closely evaluate nine critical food safety items which most often contribute to foodborne illness. Critical Items are food safety requirements which must be followed to reduce the incidence of food-related illness and injury. If a critical food safety violation is discovered, it must be corrected immediately or the facility is closed until the violation is corrected. The Critical Items are as follows:
- Food must be obtained from an approved source.
- Food must be protected from contamination, spoilage and adulteration.
- Food workers with infection or diarrhea must be restricted.
- Food workers must practice effective hand washing procedures.
- Potentially hazardous food must be properly cooled.
- Potentially hazardous food must be held at proper cold or hot temperature.
- Potentially hazardous food must be adequately cooked or reheated to the appropriate temperature.
- Potable hot and cold running water must be provided.
- Sewage disposal system must function properly.
In addition to the above Critical Items, environmental sanitarians also evaluate food service facilities for general food handling and facility maintenance, or Good Retail Practices (GRP’s). GRP’s are preventive measures to control the introduction of pathogens, chemicals, and physical objects into foods. Facilities found in violation of GRP’s are not routinely closed. Instead, compliance within 30 days, or within a time frame specified in a written compliance schedule, is required. Click here to see the entire report for 2017 of food service facility inspections. A reinspection is typically scheduled to verify that corrections have been made.
To see inspections completed during a specific month, click the month below: