Food Protection & Safety

The Environmental Health Food Program department is responsible for programs that protect our community from the transmission of disease by food. It provides state licensing, inspection and education to food service operations in Geauga County. The Geauga County Board of Health, with the help of the Food Services department, enforces food service rules and laws, which are set forth by the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative code. These rules apply to food service operations, retail food establishments, temporary and mobile food services, and vending machine locations.

Food Service Operations (FSO)

Under Ohio law, food service operations, including seasonal, are licensed and inspected according to their highest risk level of food service operation in accordance with the following criteria:

Risk Level I:

Poses risk to the public in terms of sanitation, food labeling, sources of food, storage practices and expiration dates. (such as coffee, self-serve fountain beverages, pre-packaged refrigerated or frozen
foods, baby food or formula).

Risk Level II:

Poses a higher risk than Level I because of hand contact or employee health concerns but minimal possibility of pathogenic growth. (such as handling, heating or preparing non-hazardous foods, or holding for sale foods that must maintain a proper serving temperature).

Risk Level III:

Poses a higher risk than Level II because of the following concerns: proper cooking temperatures, proper cooling procedures, proper holding temperatures, contamination issues, or processing a raw food product requiring bacterial reduction procedures in order to sell it ready-to-eat. (such as handling, cutting or grinding raw meat; cutting or slicing ready-to-eat meats and cheese; reheating individual portions; heating a product from a sealed package and holding it hot).

Risk Level IV:

Poses a higher risk than Level III because of the following concerns: handling and preparing where multiple preparation steps are needed to preclude bacterial growth, offering as ready-to-eat a raw potentially hazardous meat, poultry product, fish, or shellfish or a food with these raw items as an ingredient, serving a high risk clientele, or performs a food service that deviates from the normal preparation process. (such as a serving a nursing home, health care or assisted living; serves raw items such as sushi, raw shellfish, raw eggs; catering services that prepare and transport food; reheating bulk quantities or leftover foods).

Temporary Food Service Operations

Temporary operations are operated at a single events such as fairs or carnivals for not more than five consecutive days.

Mobile Food Service Operations

Mobile food services operate from a moveable vehicles or portable structure that routinely changes location and do not remain at any one location for more than 40 consecutive days.

Vending Machine Locations

The Food Service department is also responsible for inspecting vending machines to ensure they are sanitary and maintain appropriate heating and cooling temperatures.

Licensing and Inspection

The licensing period for all food service operations is one year beginning the first day of March and ending the last day of February of the succeeding year. Fees are dependent on classification and size of the operation. There are penalties for non-compliance with these regulations.

The Food Service department inspects food service operations, temporary and mobile food services, and vending locations to insure public safety. When a health code violation is discovered, the problem is explained and corrective measures are taken. This protects against food borne illnesses resulting from improper food preparation, handling, and storage as defined by the health code regulations.

Fees

Services rendered by the Geauga County Health District are subject to fees. Please refer to our current food service fee tables.