Environmental Health Division
FOOD SAFETY PROGRAM
This information is provided for you so that you may know more about the food service establishments in Kalamazoo County from the perspective of safe food handling, or "food safety."
Food establishments that sell or serve food to the public must get an annual license and be audited by Food Safety & Facilities Division. These establishments include restaurants, bars, schools, mobile food carts, coffee places, vending machines, temporary events where food is served, and more. Establishments not included are retail grocery stores, convenience/party stores, produce markets, butcher shops, and food processing plants. This type of establishment is licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
There are nearly 930 permitted food service establishments in Kalamazoo County. The majority of these establishments have two unannounced audits per year.
The purpose of the food safety audits is to assure that the food is being handled properly from preparation through serving. Food safety auditors observe kitchen workers' food handling practices, assure equipment is working properly, take food temperatures, inspect refrigerators and storage areas, assure water temperatures, and correct level and use of sanitizers. Any problem found is written up, and the manager corrects the procedure or method. Food safety auditors use the safety criteria in the Michigan Food Law of 2000 and the Food and Drug Administration 2009 Food Code. There are two types of violations recorded on the audit report. Whenever possible, violations found during the audit are corrected immediately.
Priority Item or Priority Foundation Item violations are those food handling practices that, when not done properly, are most likely to lead to food borne illnesses. These food handling practices include:
- Hygienic practices/employee illness: such as washing hands, and not working sick.
- Controlling temperature: such as cooking meats to the right temperature to kill food borne disease germs, keeping food hot enough until it is served, keeping food cold enough, and cooling food properly.
- Cleaning & sanitizing: keeping food contact surfaces of equipment like meat slicers, knives, cutting boards clean and sanitized.
- Food source: making sure all food is from approved sources.
- Food protection: using utensils or gloves instead of bare hands on "ready to eat" food.
- Facility construction and maintenance: proper plumbing systems and controlling pests.
Core violations are primarily maintenance and sanitation issues that are not likely to be the cause of a food borne illness.
Using the links below you can view restaurant reports, go on a mock inspection, and find food safety information.
Food Safety Information Sheets Food code Information for food service facility mangers such as, temperature monitoring charts, consumer advisory statement, and specific food code standard guidelines.
Food Safety Classes 8-hour study course and accredited exam for food restaurant and food service managers.
The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department programs are open to all without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, height, weight,
marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Links to external sites do not constitute endorsements by Kalamazoo County.