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Food Safety – General Information & Emergency Response

 Program Contacts

Gerry Scott REHS
216.201.2000 ext 1259
Paul DeSario PhD, REHS
216.201.2000 ext 1243

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For information and guidance related to reopening your food business after closure due to COVID-19, CLICK HERE.

Click here to view the 2022 Food Protection Program fees which went into effect on January 3, 2022.


The Food Safety Program’s primary goal is to protect the community against foodborne illnesses caused by poor food handling practices and unsafe food products.

Our agency licenses and inspects all facilities at the retail level that sell food. Examples are daycares, fairs, festivals, grocery stores, nursing homes, restaurants, school cafeterias and more.

Focusing on food safety education with the operator is critical during our inspection process. Click here to view local food inspection reports.


What We Do To Protect Public Health

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health provides services in all communities throughout Cuyahoga County, except for the city of Cleveland.

The Foundations of Food Safety 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified risk factors that are the cause of foodborne illness in homes and restaurants. The information below will help you in avoid these risks and prepare your food safely, protecting your family and friends from foodborne illness.

The risk factors include:

  • getting your food from an approved source or vendor
  • maintaining proper cooking temperatures
  • properly cooling food
  • maintaining clean and sanitary equipment
  • good personal hygiene

It is our goal to help improve the health of the community by providing information and advice about how to make food safely. Whether you represent a commercial business or are just making food for your family, please take advantage of the information available on our website. 

Avoid these Dangerous Food Safety Mistakes

Tips for preparing healthy and safe food

Follow these four easy steps to prepare food safely at home:


Step 1: Clean

Clean hands are a must! Food is only as safe as the hands that prepare it.

If hands are dirty, all of the food they touch becomes contaminated with pathogens (disease causing germs).

Wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds and use a disposable towel to dry them.



Step 2: Separate

It is very important to keep kitchen surfaces like cutting boards, counter tops and food utensils clean and sanitary.

Wash these surfaces with warm soapy water, rinse them and let them air dry before beginning to work with food.

Never place clean food items on dirty surfaces because food will become contaminated (dirty) and could make you sick.


Step 3: Cook

ALWAYS monitor your cooking temperatures with a calibrated or digital metal-stem thermometer to make sure that your food is cooked to the right temperature.

ALWAYS stick the probe into the thickest or deepest part of the food to be sure food is cooked all the way to the center. Hold it there for 15 seconds to be sure it reaches the right temperature.

Under-cooked food can make you sick and possibly kill you.

For a list of proper cooking temperatures, please click here.

                                                                       use a food thermometer to cook foods safely

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Step 4: Chill

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold!

Never store foods between 42-134⁰F because this range is known as the DANGER ZONE!

Food stored in the temperature danger zone grows pathogens (disease-causing germs) quickly. You can become sick in a matter of hours.

ALWAYS monitor your refrigerator temperature by purchasing a small, plastic thermometer that easily fits on any shelf. Check it once or twice weekly to be sure it stays between 38-41⁰F .


Click to see an enlarged version.

Keep raw and ready to eat foods separate to prevent cross contamination.

Raw foods  can contain pathogens that can make you sick.

Store them below and separate from ready to eat foods.

Be sure to clean cutting boards, knives and other utensils used to prepare raw food with warm soapy water before using them.

For more information on CLEAN COOK CHILL SEPARATE, click here to go to the FDA’s food safety website.