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Food Safety – General Information

Important: Please click here to read the 2019 Food Safety Newsletter which includes Ohio Food Code rule changes.

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For Additional Program Information Contact

 Paul DeSario, RS, PhD
(216) 201-2000 ext. 1243
 Gerry Scott, RS
(216)201-2000 ext. 1259

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has adopted new fees for 2019 in this program. Click here to view these new 2019 fees


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 in food shops (restaurants and grocery stores).

The program is responsible for licensing and inspections of all facilities at the retail level that sell food. Examples are restaurants, grocery stores, school cafeterias, daycares, nursing homes, festivals, etc. Places like these are inspected on a frequent basis.

A focus on food safety education is a key component during the inspection process. Click here to view food inspections.

What We Do

  • License retail food service and food establishment operations
  • Inspect all licensed food shops, mobile operations, and temporary events to ensure compliance with the state’s food safety code. Click here to view the 2019 Ohio Food Code Amendments.
  • Review plans for all retail food operations. Click here to view a Plan Review Application Form.
  • Respond to food-related customer complaints. Click here to access the complaint form
  • Provide food safety classes to the food industry and the public. Click here to learn more about food safety classes
  • Investigate foodborne outbreaks, complaints and report
  • Conduct food source trace back investigations due to recalls. Click here to view our Food Recalls page with important links to both federal and state recall information.  Click here to view our epidemiology page
  • Monitor the flow of food. Click here to view how to monitor the flow of food through your facility.
  • Inspect carnivals, special events, chili cook-offs, and farmers’ markets. Click here to go to the Forms page for relevant Temporary Food and Temporary Park Camp applications.  
  • Provide food safety guidance during power outages and other emergencies

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

Home Food Safety Information

All food safety practices should start at home.

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 identifying and preventing these practices to protect your family and friends from illness.

The risk factors include cooking temperatures, cooling of food, cross contamination, food source and hand washing.

It is our goal to help improve the health of the community by providing information and advice on how to make food safe and healthy. Whether you represent a commercial business or are just making food for your family we want to help you to flow food safely from farm to table:

Avoid these Dangerous Food Safety Mistakes

Some tips for healthy food include

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) that can make you sick. Wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds and use a disposable towel to dry them.



Step 2: Separate

Clean kitchen surfaces like cutting boards, counter tops and food utensils are important too. 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).


Step 3: Cook

Use an instant read probe thermometer to test the cooking temperatures of foods.  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. Undercooked food can make you sick.For a list of food cooking temperatures,  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 food stored in the temperature danger zone grows pathogens (disease causing germs) quickly. Instead, check the refrigerator and cooking temperatures to ensure food safety.

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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 ready to eat foods.

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