Food safety guidelines

Food Safety

Food Safety

What we Do

The Environmental Health Unit (EH Unit) is responsible for licensing and inspecting food operations in accordance to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3717.

This includes:

  • Food Service Operations (FSO) (restaurants, bars, day care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)
  • Retail Food Establishments (RFE) (grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations)
  • Mobile Food Service Operations and Mobile Retail Food Establishments (fairs/festival trailers)
  • Temporary Food Service Operations
  • Vending Machine Locations (coffee, sandwiches, ice cream)

FSO and RFE Application are renewed each year by March 1.

Risk Classification Level Description


Food prep

Inspection frequency, plan review fees and license fees are based on the Risk Level Classification.

For new or remodeled operations, plans must be submitted to the EH Unit for approval prior to construction. 


Level I

  • Pre-packaged, Non-potentially hazardous foods
  • Non-potentially hazardous beverages
  • Pre-packaged refrigerated potentially hazardous foods
  • Pre-packaged frozen potentially hazardous foods
  • Baby food, Baby Formula
  • Food delivery sales operation
  • Micro Market

Level II

  • Baking of non-potentially hazardous foods
  • Manufacturing of confectionary products
  • Bulk displays of unwrapped non-potentially hazardous foods
  • Re-packaging of non-potentially hazardous foods prepared somewhere else
  • Warming of food from a commercially processed hermetically sealed container and immediately handled for retail sale or service
  • Maintaining hot potentially hazardous food at proper holding temperature until handled for retail sale or service if it was received at 135F or above
  • Manufacture and bagging of ice for retail sale
  • The operation only prepares and/or serves non-potentially hazardous foods
  • Hand dipping of frozen desserts, frozen dessert dispenser
  • Potentially hazardous foods received in individual portions, received from a licensed food operation or off premise commercial processor and served cold or heated individually and immediately served
  • Food received from a licensed food operation or off premise commercial processor in bulk quantities and maintained and served at the same proper temperature as received

Level III

  • Heat treatment dispensing freezer
  • Processing of produce for ready to eat sell
  • Cutting and grinding of meat products
  • Slicing of lunch meat and cheese
  • Cook/Serve
  • Cook/Cool
  • Cook/Hot hold
  • Cook/Cool/Cold hold
  • Heating of a product from an intact hermetically sealed package and held hot
  • Cook, Cool add additional raw ingredients, cold hold
  • Reheat in individual portions only
  • Reduced oxygen packaging without a variance

Level IV

  • Cook/Cool/Reheat/Hot hold
  • Cook/Hold/Cool/Reheat with or without additional ingredients being added
  • Time as a public health control
  • Freezing of fish to destroy parasites before sale or serve in a ready to eat form, raw, raw-marinated, partially cooked, or marinated-partially cooked fish
  • Reheats bulk quantities of leftover potentially hazardous foods more than once every seven days
  • Transports PHF as a catering food service operation or commissary food service operation
  • Serving primarily to a high risk clientele including immuno-compromised or elderly individuals in a facility that provides either health care or assisted living
  • Offers as a menu item raw potentially hazardous meats, poultry products, fish, or shellfish or food with these raw potentially hazardous items as ingredients
  • Non-continuous cooking of raw animal foods

Level IV (continued)

  • Canning
  • Reduced oxygen packaging with a variance
  • Bottling
  • Smoking for preservation
  • Selling of oyster, clam, mussels, from shellfish tanks
  • Any process which deviates from the food code
  • Use of additives for preservation
  • Use of additives to render a food non potentially hazardous
  • Juice pressing
  • Custom Processing
Home baked goods
Cottage Food Operations

Prepared home baked goods that do not require refrigeration are exempt from licensing provided the baked goods are properly labeled.

For baked goods that require refrigeration, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at (800)-282-1955 to obtain a Home Bakery License.

A temporary license may be required to sell products at events such as craft shows, fairs, festivals, etc.

Person-In-Charge Certification

Food protection is required for a Person-in-Charge per shift for all operations licensed after March 1, 2010; operations implicated in a foodborne illness outbreak; and all Persons-in-Charge for operations with a documented history of failure to maintain sanitary conditions.

Manager Certification

Food protection is required for all Risk Level III and IV food service operations and retail food establishments.

These facilities must have one Person-In-Charge, who has supervisory, and management duties and permission to direct and control food preparation and service, obtain the Manager certification in food protection.