Inspectors are trained to focus primarily on critical items as they have the greatest potential to cause illness or harm to the public. Some examples of critical areas of focus are:
- Current food worker training for all workers (www.foodworkercard.wa.gov)
- Proper hand-washing facilities
- Proper cold holding temperatures
- Raw Meats stored below or away from ready to eat foods
- Proper food cooling and hot holding procedures
- Use of barriers (glove and tongs) to prevent bare hand contact with ready to eat food items
- Fruit and vegetable washing
- Ill food worker discussions (restriction/exclusion of ill food workers)
Restriction/Exclusion of Ill Food Workers
Healthy food employees are important factors in foodborne illness prevention. Sick food employees are required to notify the Person in Charge (PIC) of illness if it can be spread to food.
The PIC is required to exclude (prevent employees form working in the food establishment) or restrict (keep workers from handling unwrapped food, utensils, or clean food service items) workers with the following conditions.
The PIC must notify the Regulatory Authority if a food employee has jaundice or a diagnosed illness that can be transmitted through food.
PIC must exclude food employees with:
PIC must restrict food employees with:
Food Safety Information
- Signs from Washington State Department of Health (DOH)
- Be a Germ-Buster…Wash Your Hands! – Sign illustrates the proper way to wash one’s hands.
- Keep Them Clean – Food establishments are required under the Food Code to post hand washing reminder signs for employees at all hand washing sinks used by food employees including restrooms. Food establishments can download and print the “Keep Them Clean” sign or create their own sign.
- Keep It Healthy – Germs are easy to spread. Sick food workers may not work with food or food-contact surfaces.
- Keep It Untouched – Bare hands may have germs that can spread to food. Ready-to-eat foods may not be handled with bare hands.
- Keep It Separate – Cross contamination is the spread of bacteria from raw meat, fish, poultry, seafood, eggs and unwashed fruits and vegetables to other ready to eat foods.
- Keep It Hot – The food in this unit must be kept at or above 135 degrees F.
- Keep It Cold – The food in this unit must be kept at or below 41 degrees F.
- Keep It Hot or Cold – Bacteria may grow in potentially hazardous foods. Keep foods out of the Danger Zone (41 degrees F – 135 degrees F) for safety.
- Cool It Quickly – Cooling hot foods rapidly is important to prevent illness-causing bacteria from growing in food.
- Keep Your Hands Off My Food! – No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
- Guidelines for Food Establishments During a Power Outage
- Charity Food Donations Guidelines
- Food Safety is Everybody’s Business
- Washington Food Recalls
State Food Rules
Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) regulates the following activities:
Cottage food production – The Washington Cottage Food Operations Law allows people to make low-risk food in their home kitchens and sell directly to consumers. Gross sales of cottage food products may not exceed $25,000 annually.
Meat or dairy food production – If you process, manufacture, store or handle any food or dairy products for wholesale or retail distribution, or if you custom slaughter or custom cut meat, you need to contact the WSDA Food Safety Program, for licensing and/or inspection information.
If you want to sell beer, wine or hard alcohol, you need to contact the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
Other state business contacts
Washington State Department of Revenue
Washington State Department of Licensing
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries