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Retail Food Establishment Reports

Who Conducts The Inspections You Are About To Review?

Inspections for recreational facilities in Waukesha County are conducted by Environmental Health Specialists (EHS), many of whom are state or nationally Registered Environmental Health Professionals. These professionals work with restaurant owners and managers, pool operators, hotel / motel managers, camp directors, and retail store managers each day to keep you safe from harmful bacteria, viruses, physical hazards, and chemical contaminants. EHS spend time during each inspection discussing the processes and measures that are taken to assure a safe and hygienic environment for you.

  • In Waukesha County we license and inspect over 1850 public establishments, of which about 1050 are restaurants and 450 are retail food establishments.
  • At this time the only program available for viewing is the food inspection program and we encourage you to read through the following information prior to viewing the inspection reports.


A person who serves food to the public is required by law to first obtain a permit. These permits are issued following a pre-licensing inspection to confirm compliance with food safety standards and practices.

Routine inspections during subsequent operation of the food service establishment assess the operator's success in ensuring that day to day operations are conducted in a safe and sanitary manner. These inspections are generally unannounced.

Routine inspections are conducted using a risk based inspection approach.

The risk based inspection is conducted using the following processes:

  1. Following the flow of food throughout the food facility.
  2. Observation and verification of proper food safety practices and procedures.
  3. Discussion and dialogue with the food service employees and management.

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 – means the improper practices or procedures that have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through epidemiological data, as the contributing factors of foodborne illness or injury. “Risk Factor” includes:

(a) Poor personal hygiene;

(b) Food from unsafe source;

(c) Inadequate cooking;

(d) Improper holding temperatures; and

(e) Contaminated equipment.

Good Retail Practices – means the practices or procedures that focus on general sanitation in the food establishment.

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 (WFC). Deficiencies that result in immediate health hazards to the general public are corrected immediately.


  • Pre-inspection is a type of inspection used for a new establishment or an existing establishment under new ownership. A pre-inspection must be completed before an establishment can be open for business.
  • Routine is a complete risk based inspection covering all items in the Wisconsin Food Code. Routine inspections are conducted annually within the licensing year.
  • Re-inspection is a type of inspection that is required when risk factor violations are noted on the routine inspection report and cannot be corrected onsite or when consecutive violations are noted on past inspection reports. Re-inspections are required to ensure that violations have been corrected.
  • Follow-up Inspection is a type of inspection that is used at the discretion of the inspector to check back with the establishment operator to assure that violations have been corrected following a routine inspection. Unlike a re-inspection this is not required.


There are several types of Retail Food Establishment licenses.  These include:

  • Non-processing; an establishment that only sells packaged potentially hazardous food, but does not make it on site.
  • Processing potentially hazardous food; an establishment that makes and sells potentially hazardous food on site.
  • Processing non-potentially hazardous food; an establishment that makes and sells non-potentially hazardous foods on site.
  • On Farm Sales; a farm that sells regulated food products right on the farm, but does not process them on site.
  • Farmers’ Market; for retail food items that are sold on site at farmers’ markets

For both the Non-processing and Processing potentially hazardous food licenses, fee determination is based upon gross annual food sales of all food items sold.

Understanding Observations on the Inspection Report

  • Priority Observations are those violations such as improper cooking, reheating, cooling, or handwashing. These violations are known to cause foodborne illnesses. A priority observation is designated with a superscript P (P). Uncorrected priority observations usually result in a re-inspection.
  • Priority Foundation Observations are those violations such as no soap or single use toweling available for handwashing, failure of the person in charge to properly train employees, not maintaining required documentation, labeling or records. These observations support or enable a priority violation and may contribute to a foodborne illness. A priority foundation observation is designated with a superscript Pf (Pf). Priority foundation observations will be reexamined during the next routine inspection.
  • Core Observations are violations that usually relate to general sanitation, operational controls, sanitation standard operating procedures, facilities or structures, equipment design, or general maintenance. They are not designated by a superscript. Core observations will be reexamined during the next routine inspection.


  • Keep in mind that any inspection report is a "snapshot" of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant 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 an establishment.
  • Whether meals are prepared by food establishment employees or by you at home, preparing food safely is key to preventing food-borne illness.