When and where should I wash my hands?
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
What does the food protection section of the Environmental Public Health Program do?
The Food Protection Program is responsible for permitting, inspecting, and responding to complaints of all food establishments in Kansas City, MO. This includes restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, concession stands, push carts, mobile units, ice cream trucks, frozen truck vendors, and temporary events. Visit the Food Protection Web page for additional information.
What kinds of enforcement can the health inspector and the Health Department take?
The safety and protection of the community is our main focus. Inspections are completed to ensure that food served to the public is safe and free from illness. All inspectors are trained to identify any action or condition that may pose a threat to the public.
During a health inspection, health inspectors with the Health Department are allowed to cease business operation, suspend permits, and even revoke permits depending on the violations observed. Visit the Food Inspections website for additional information. (link to Inspections page)
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ABOUT FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS
What do I need to do to open a food establishment?
In order to open a food establishment, you will need to be inspected and get a permit.
Do I need a food permit to serve or sell food to the public?
Any individual, partnership, corporation, religious or charitable organization who wishes to serve food to the public, regardless of whether they charge for their product, must apply for and obtain a food establishment permit. Visit the Food Permits and Inspections Web page for additional information.
How do I obtain a food establishment permit?
You will want to contact our office at 816-513-6315 as soon as possible. Visit the Food Permits web page for additional information.
What is a temporary food establishment?
A temporary food establishment is an establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration. Visit the Temporary Events webpage for additional information.
What should I do if I have a complaint about a food establishment?
You should report any concerns or complaints about a food establishment in Kansas City as soon as possible. All complaints received are responded to within 48 hours. To report concerns or complaints, fill out our online complaint form or call 816-513-6315.
How often do inspections take place?
It depends on how complex your menu is. We inspect establishments with very complex menus three times in a year, while restaurants with very basic menus are inspected once a year. Our inspectors perform routine inspections on the rest twice a year. Also, if any complaints are made on or if there is a suspicion of food borne illness, the establishment will be inspected at that time.
Are inspections scheduled or are they unannounced?
Routine inspections are unannounced. Appointments may be made under certain circumstances if there is a special need or if the establishment does not have a regular schedule of operation.
What if I have a question about my inspection?
Your inspector will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your establishment's inspection report. You are encouraged to discuss any issues or ideas during the course of the inspection.
Are my inspection reports made public?
Yes. Under the Missouri Sunshine Law all inspections are a matter of public record and can be viewed by anyone. In addition, all other documentation is a matter of public record (applications, ownership information, etc.). You can find inspection reports online through our Inspection Search webpage.
What do the inspectors look for during an inspection?
Inspectors are trained to look for violations to the Kansas City Food Code. They work diligently to ensure that food is prepared, cooked, and served in a healthy way so to avoid food borne illness.
These inspectors will look for any food safety concerns such as hygiene and hand washing techniques and abilities, proper storage of potentially hazardous foods, ability to keep foods at the proper temperature, acceptable structural and building condition, compliance of training requirements, and much more.
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What is the difference between a “critical” and “non-critical” violation?
Critical violations are items that, if in noncompliance, are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness, or an environmental health hazard. Examples of critical violations include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene.
Non-critical violations cover such things as dirty floors, lack of hair restraints, and open waste receptacles.
What happens if a food establishment is cited for a violation?
It really depends on the type of violation. All critical violations must be corrected while the food inspector is on site and some critical violations may cause a cease of business to be ordered. Typically, non-critical violations are given a time frame in which action must be taken to correct the violation. If those violations are not corrected within the time allowed, further citations may be given. Depending on the number and severity of violations, a re-inspection may be necessary. Re-inspections are to take place between 3 and 10 days after the initial inspection. If re-inspections are issued, the food establishment is responsible for paying the applicable re-inspection fees associated. See the current food protection fees (link to fee schedule) for more information.
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ABOUT FOOD SAFETY
What is a food borne illness?
A food borne illness is a disease or illness spread to people through food. Food borne illnesses can be caused by biological hazards (bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast, molds), physical hazards (glass, toothpicks, fingernails, jewelry, poor hand washing, etc), chemical hazards (cleaner and sanitizers, pesticides, medications), naturally occurring toxins, and even food allergens.
How do bacteria get in food?
The #1 way for bacteria to get into food is from poor food handling practices. These include not washing your hands, not wearing and/or changing gloves between tasks, and being sick while preparing or handling food for the public. Another way for bacteria to get into food is through other foods. This can be done through cross contamination, improper storing and thawing procedures, and through time or temperature abuse.
What bacteria cause food borne illnesses?
Common bacteria associated with food borne illness include E. coli, salmonella, norovirus, Hepatitis A, staphylococcus, and many more.
Various fact sheets on a variety of topics are available in the "Fact Sheets" drop down menu on the Food Protection Program's webpage.
What are potentially hazardous foods?
A potentially hazardous food is any food or food ingredient that is capable of supporting rapid and progressive growth of microorganisms, particularly bacteria.
Some examples include :
- Cooked or raw animals products (beef, pork, poultry, and seafood) and dairy (milk and cheese).
- Cooked vegetables and starches (rice, beans, pasta, potatoes, etc).
- Other products such as tofu, raw seed sprouts, cut melons, garlic in oil, eggs, and sliced/diced tomatoes
What is the food “Danger Zone?”
The food “Danger Zone” is when temperatures are between 41and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because bacteria grow rapidly at this point. In addition, pathogens that grow between 80 and 120 F are the most dangerous and typically cause food borne illnesses.
What is the best way to thaw frozen raw foods?
To thaw foods properly, you can do one of the following:
- Place in refrigerator
- Make sure to place the food on a plate or in a bowl to catch any juices.
- Place under cold running water
- The water MUST be cold, not warm or hot, and can only be done for a total of 2 hours.
- Defrost in the microwave
- Place on a microwave safe plate/bowl in order to catch the juices.
- ONLY do this if you are cooking the food immediately.
- During the cooking process
You should NEVER place raw meat on the kitchen counter to thaw. The food WILL become out of temperature and it could cause a Food Borne Illness!
How can I prevent food borne illness?
You can prevent food borne illnesses by practicing proper hand washing and hygiene procedures, keeping food at the correct temperatures, and preventing cross contamination from raw foods.
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ABOUT HANDWASHING AND SANITIZATION
When and where should I wash my hands?
Food handlers should wash their hands as often as possible. Typically, when entering or exiting a food preparation area, before and after changing gloves, between all tasks, after going to the restroom, after sneezing or coughing, after eating or smoking, after touching your face or hair, after cleaning or sanitizing any area, after handling dirty dishes, and any other time your hands become soiled.
You should ONLY wash your hands in a designated hand washing sink. DO NOT wash your hands in the dishwashing, food prep, or mop sinks.
More information is available on our Good Food Handling Practices webpage.
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