Henrico Health Department’s Food Safety Team consists of eight Environmental Health Specialists (EHSs) who work to educate and motivate foodservice professionals in serving safe food. We work closely with the operators of over 1000 foodservice establishments serving the public in Henrico County. If you are a consumer at any of these foodservice establishments then our mission is to assure that the food you consume does not cause foodborne disease.
We know that the vast majority of foodborne diseases are not directly caused by the obviously distasteful things (like the proverbial fly or hair in my soup) but rather by invisible contamination and growth of disease causing bacteria. Consequently, you will see that a great deal of our surveillance and training focuses on critical practices such as cooking temperatures, cooling procedures, cold and hot holding, personal hygiene, and cross-contamination since these are the factors known to cause most foodborne illness.
In our inspection reports you will see some terms (or jargon) that have special meanings in the context of serving safe food. For instance:
Cross-contamination is anything which spreads contamination from one food to another;
Demonstration of Knowledge (DoK) refers to the knowledge of food safety principles and practices required of foodservice managers;
Potentially hazardous foods (PHF) are those moist and protein rich foods known to allow rapid growth in numbers of disease causing bacteria;
Ready to eat foods (RTE) are foods in a form ready for consumption without having to undergo any further cooking;
Sanitize is a process which reduces the numbers of bacteria on a surface, like using bleach or heat to kill germs on a plate; and,
Single-service or single-use are utensils designed to be used once then discarded, like a paper plate or plastic fork.
We hope that you find this information to be helpful in understanding food safety concerns and the food safety history of your favorite restaurants.
If, after viewing this website, you have questions or comments please call us at 804-501-4529.