Business Owner/Operator Food Facility

Frequently Asked Questions

An application and fee must be submitted to the Environmental Management Depa​​rtment (EMD) office prior to opening. If the food establishment is new or undergoing remodeling, contact the Environmental Health Plan Review Office at 916-874-6010 before the application is submitted.

For more information please see the EMD Selling Food in Sacramento County page.​​

The Environmental Health Specialist has many things to do when conducting an inspection. Primarily, we inspect the food facility to determine if it complies with the requirements of the California Health and Safety Code (CHSC). Sometimes an inspection is confined to a specific problem resulting from a complaint, and at other times the inspection may be very comprehensive.

All inspections are conducted with the intent to observe conditions which may contribute to food-borne illness. All problems noted during the inspection are brought to the attention of the management and violations are pursued to correction.

The food facility does not usually know when the specialist will be conducting routine inspections or complaint investigations. Follow-up and permit inspections may be scheduled in advance.

Sacramento County requires food facilities to post a Green ("Pass"), Yellow ("Conditional Pass") or Red ("Closed") placard within 5 feet of the main entrance. Green, Yellow, Red Placecard image
The placard summarizes the results of the most recent inspection: 

  • Green Placard ("Pass"): No more than one (1) major violation (corrected during the inspection) was observed. Minor violations, if any, are required to be corrected within the time frame indicated on the inspection report.
  • Yellow Placard ("Conditional Pass"): Two (2) or more major violations were observed that required immediate correction and a follow-up inspection that will be conducted within 24 to 72 hours.
  • Red Placard ("Closed"): Closure is required when an imminent danger to public health and safety is observed. Examples include surfacing sewage, no hot water, rodent/insect infestation, or severe unsanitary conditions.

For more information please visit the Food Placard Information page.

"Food Facility" means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption at the retail level.

Food facilities include restaurants as well as markets, bakeries, liquor stores, bars, certified farmers' market, food service at fairs and festivals, catering trucks, hot dog carts, ice cream trucks, produce vehicles, and retail stores that sell prepackaged food. 

Any business that sells food for public consumption is considered a "food facility," of which restaurants are the most common examples.

Food facilities that engage in food preparation are inspected three times a year. Some of the low-risk food facilities, such as markets and bars are inspected twice a year.​​

Food may not be prepared, stored, or sold from a private home unless permitted as a Cottage Food Operation. 

Please see the Cottage Food Operation (CFO) page for more information, including restrictions on the types of foods that can be prepared at home.

Any food facility that sells unpackaged food (such as a restaurant or bar); a mobile food preparation unit (such as a "taco truck" or "hot truck"); a stationary mobile food preparation unit (such as a food stand at a county fair); or a commissary, is required to have an owner or employee who has successfully passed an approved and accredited food safety certification examination.

Any of the above food facilities that commences operation, changes ownership, or no longer has a certified owner or employee has up to 60 days to have an owner or employee successfully pass (or hire someone that has already passed) an approved and accredited food safety certification examination. See list of organizations providing Accredited Food Safety Certification Exams.

Gloves shall be worn when contacting food and food contact surfaces if the employee has any cuts, sores, rashes, artificial nails, nail polish, rings (other than a plain ring, such as a wedding band), uncleanable orthopedic support devices, or fingernails that are not clean, neatly trimmed and smooth. 

Whenever gloves are worn, they shall be changed, replaced, or washed as often as hand washing is required. 

When single-use gloves are used, they shall be replaced after removal.

All employees shall wear hairnets, caps, or other suitable coverings to confine all hair when required to prevent the contamination of food, equipment, or utensils.