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Food Protection Program

In this section:

BEDHD’s Food Protection program aims to promote and maintain food-safe measures and sanitary conditions at all licensed establishments and events, which lowers the risk potential and occurrence for a foodborne illness.

The purpose and function of the Food Protection program is three-fold:

  1. To protect public health by inspecting food service establishments, including temporary events involving public food service.
  2. To promote managerial control over the five identified risks factors for foodborne illness as identified in the FDA Food Code:
    • Poor personal hygiene
    • Food from unsafe sources
    • Inadequate cooking
    • Improper holding temperatures
    • Contaminated equipment
  3. To provide food safety training and certified education to food service personnel as a prevention measure against foodborne illness/outbreaks.  

The services provided through the Food Protection program include plan review, licensing, audits/inspections, complaint investigations, and food safety education.

Plan Review

Before building or opening a food service establishment, it is first required under the Michigan Food Law of 2000 that a food service plan review be conducted prior to construction. 

The plan review process involves a review of the following areas of design, function, and operation:

  • Facility layout
  • Food equipment and specifications
  • Menu (risk-control factors)
  • Food safety operations and procedures
  • Person-in-charge knowledge and employee training

To get started with the plan review process, please go to our "Forms" webpage to find the food service plan review packet.

Licensing

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) licenses all food service establishments. Food service establishments that are licensed by the MDARD and audited by BEDHD include:

  • Fixed or seasonal fixed establishments (e.g., restaurants, schools, hospitals, caterers, movie theaters, golf courses and park concessions serving prepared food)
  • Special Transitory Food Units (STFU)
  • Mobile food vendors
  • Temporary food establishments (which operate in a single location for 14 or fewer consecutive days)

For addition information and guidance on licensure, please visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website. For a temporary food license application and food safety guidelines, please go to our "Forms" webpage.

To find out what foods are exempt from licensure, please visit the "MDARD's List of Food License Exemptions" webpage.

Audits/Inspections

The Food Protection Program conducts risk-based audits at all licensed food service establishments. The frequency of audits depends on the type of food service operation and whether or not increased oversight is needed to ensure compliance with the Michigan Food Law.

A typical food safety audit includes:

  1. A pre-inspection interview with the person-in-charge
    • Review of the menu for food safety risk factors and any new food items
    • Review of the food safety operating procedures (SOPs) and employee health policy
    • Assessment of the person-in-charge’s food safety knowledge 
  2. A physical inspection
    • Review of the physical facilities and premises
    • Observation of employee practices and hygiene
  3. Assessment of the different food processes (including receiving, preparation and handling, cooking, cooling, reheating, and hot/cold storage)
    • Report generation and post consultation
    • Generation of an audit report
    • Consultation with the person-in-charge (a verbal summary of the audit, specifying where active managerial control is and/or is not being met.)

To view audit/inspection results of local food service establishments, see our "Reports and Inspection Results" webpage.

Complaint Investigation

BEDHD is the agency responsible for investigating all illness and non-illness complaints within its Barry and Eaton counties. See our "Complaints" webpage to learn how to submit a complaint.

Food Safety and Education

Formal Education

BEDHD conducts food safety classes for management level food service personnel who are looking to become certified in food safety. Classes are generally taught over two ½ days with an exam given at the end of the second ½ day. 

For the schedule of Certified Food Safety Manager classes and the class application form, see our our "Forms, Permits, and Licensing" webpage.

*The Michigan Food Law now requires that the certified food safety manager be training in food allergens. For more information, as well as a listing of exempt food service facilities, please see MDARD's list of approved allergen courses."

Informal Education

BEDHD offers food safety talks that are designed for small group settings and organizations wanting to learn more about food safety in an informal teaching environment; talks are generally kept to 1 hour or less. To schedule a food safety talk, please contact our Environmental Health Division.

Food Safety Resources

In addition to classes and group talks, BEDHD is also a good public health resource for educational materials and to answer your food safety questions. Contact our Environmental Health Division with questions!

For information on norovirus and cleaning up after a vomiting or diarrheal incident, visit our "Norovirus" webpage.

For web-based food safety materials, please visit the following websites:

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