The Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) is responsible for licensing and inspection of approximately 350 food establishments, including ~60 food service stands associated with temporary events such as Hodag Country Fest, MDA Fall Motorcycle Rally, and Minocqua’s famous Beef-A-Rama event.
Environmental Health Sanitarians (EHS) work very closely with owners and operators to ensure safe food is served to the public. The main inspection goals are:
- To eliminate or reduce exposure to environmental and safety hazards in licensed facilities
- To promote an increase in knowledge of food safety service, handling, and storage with all employees
- To partner with licensed facilities to maintain trusting and open dialogue during inspections
- To provide an owner or operator all necessary information before, during, and after inspections in order to achieve long-term food code compliance for the benefit of the local economy and the safety of the County’s patrons.
Permits are issued by the OCHD for service or sales of food. A pre-inspection is completed before a facility opens for business. The pre-inspection confirms all physical facility issues are code compliant, and confirms general food safety practices. Routine, “Risk-Based” inspections are completed annually and are normally unannounced. Inspections are completed during normal food service operations.
Risk Based Inspections focus on the following concepts:
- Following the flow of food from freezer to service to identify the most hazardous activities inherent to each different food
- Observation, verification, and validation of specific and general food safety practices
- Discussion with food service employees and management to effect long-term food code compliance
An inspection focuses on two general categories, CDC Risk Factors and Good Retail Practices (Good Sanitation Practices) in addition to providing education and information on food safety practices.
Risk factors-improper practices identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through epidemiological data, as the main factors that contribute to food borne illness. “Risk Factors” include:
- Improper holding (date marking, cooling, reheating, hot and cold holding)
- Inadequate cooking of raw animal food (meat, eggs)
- Food from unsafe source
- Poor personal hygiene
- Cross Contamination of food and equipment
Good Retail Practices-practices or facility issues that may result in a lack of facility general sanitation such as floors, walls, and ceilings deficiencies, and general cleanliness.
Observed violations are described in an inspection report with reference to a specific section of the Wisconsin Food Code (WFC). Violations that could result in immediate health hazards to the general public are corrected immediately when possible.
An 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 on a report. An inspection on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long-term operation of an establishment.
Pre-inspection-an inspection for a new facility, an existing establishment under new ownership, or a significantly remodeled facility. A pre-inspection must be completed before an establishment can be open for business.
Routine inspection-a risk based inspection using the Wisconsin Food Code. Routine inspections are completed at least one time annually and are usually unannounced.
Re-inspection-an inspection that is required when risk factor violations are noted on the routine inspection report and cannot be corrected onsite or when recurring violations are noted.
Follow Up Inspection-an inspection completed at the discretion of an inspector to follow up and ensure violations have been corrected following a routine inspection.
RESTAURANT INSPECTION REPORTS
UNDERSTANDING OBSERVATIONS ON THE INSPECTION REPORT
Priority -violations such as improper cooking, reheating, cooling, or hand washing. These violations are known to cause food borne illness. Uncorrected priority observations can result in a re inspection.
Priority Foundation -violations such as no soap or single use toweling for hand washing, failure of the person in charge to properly train employees, no thermometers, or lack of food or chemical labeling. These observations may indirectly produce a priority violation, and may contribute to a food borne illness.
Core-violations that relate to general sanitation, standard operating procedures (SOP’s), facilities or structure issues, equipment design, or general maintenance.