Healthy People in a Healthy Environment

Press Release – December 2010 Food Service Facility Inspections


Contact:  Bill Wiseman, Public Information Officer, (410) 612-1771



BEL AIR, MD -(January 18, 2011) The Harford County Health Department inspects restaurants and other food service facilities to routinely monitor food handling practices, and sanitary and physical conditions. A report of food service facility inspections from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010 is attached.

Depending on the type of food service offered by the facility, routine random inspections are conducted up to three times a year. Complaints and food borne illness outbreak investigations prompt additional inspections. Inspectors (environmental sanitarians) closely evaluate eight critical food safety items which most often contribute to food borne illness. 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 food safety inspection items are as follows:

  1. Food must be obtained from an approved source.
  2. Food must be protected from contamination, spoilage and adulteration.
  3. Food workers must practice effective hand washing; must be restricted during illness or infection.
  4. Food must be properly cooled.
  5. Food must be held at proper hot and cold temperatures.
  6. Food must be adequately cooked and reheated.
  7. Potable hot and cold running water must be provided.
  8. Sewage disposal system must function properly.

Kim Burns, Director of the Food Inspection Division at the Harford County Health Department explains, ?In addition to the above critical items, environmental sanitarians also evaluate food service facilities for general food handling and facility maintenance, or sanitation items.  Sanitarian violations, generally speaking, do not carry the same risk to the patron as critical items. Facilities found in violation of sanitation items are not routinely closed. Instead, compliance within 30 days, or within a timeframe specified in a written compliance schedule, is required.?  A reinspection is typically scheduled to verify that corrections have been made.

Currently, the Harford County Health Department licenses and inspects a total of 1,893 food service facilities (936 permanent food service facilities and 957 temporary food service facilities).

Ms. Burns stressed, ?Inspections represent facility conditions at the time of inspection only. An inspection conducted on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long-term cleanliness of an establishment.?

For additional information on the Food Division of the Health Department or to view the report electronically, please visit the Food Inspection website.  There is a month-by-month listing of all Food Inspection Reports and a full list from October 2010 to the present..