Racine County Public Health (RCPH) is responsible for licensing and inspecting approximately 435 food facilities in many Racine County communities. These communities include the City of Burlington, Towns of Burlington, Dover, Norway, Raymond, Waterford, Yorkville and the Villages of Caledonia, Elmwood Park, Mount Pleasant, North Bay, Rochester, Sturtevant, Union Grove, Waterford, and Wind Point.
Food establishment inspections are conducted by Environmental Health Specialists (EHS), all of whom are state or nationally Registered Environmental Health Professionals. These professionals work with food establishment owners and managers each day to keep your food safe from harmful bacteria, viruses, physical hazards and chemical contaminants.
Keep in mind that any inspection report is a “snapshot” of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a food facility could have fewer or more violations than noted in the report. An inspection conducted on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long-term operation of a food facility.
A business that serves food to the public is required by law to obtain a license. These licenses are issued following a pre-license inspection to confirm compliance with food safety standards. Routine inspections during subsequent operation of the facility assess the operator’s ability to ensure that day to day operations are conducted in a safe and sanitary manner.
During routine inspections the EHS will follow the flow of food throughout the food facility and discuss food safety practices with the food service employees as well as observe and verify use of proper food safety practices and procedures.
The inspection is focused on identifying risk factors and good retail practices in addition to providing education and information on proper food safety practices.
Risk Factors—Improper practices or procedures that have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the most prevalent contributing factors of foodborne illness or injury. Risk Factors include:
- Poor personal hygiene;
- Food from unsafe sources;
- Inadequate cooking;
- Improper holding temperatures;
- Contaminated equipment.
Good Retail Practices—Practices or procedures that focus on general sanitation in the food facility.
If deficiencies are observed during routine inspections, they are described in an inspection report with reference to a relevant section of the Wisconsin Food Code. Deficiencies that result in immediate health hazards to the public are generally corrected immediately.
Environmental Health Specialists perform other important services including:
- Working with your local public pool operator to ensure that the public has a safe pool environment to swim in;
- Working with your local lodging operator to ensure that the public is kept safe from fire, injury hazards and pests;
- Working with your local campground and summer camp operators to ensure a safe environment for children and families;
- Working with your local tattoo artists and body piercers to ensure a safe and hygienic environment;
- Sampling well water to ensure that it is safe for consumption at facilities such as restaurants, taverns, convenience stores, churches and more.