Food Establishment Inspections
Food establishments are inspected using the 1999 Missouri State Food Code. Food establishments are inspected at least twice a year.
Violations found during an inspection fall into the critical or non-critical category. Critical items can have a direct impact on the safety of the food. Examples of critical violations include:
- Improper food temperature
- Direct handling of ready-to-eat foods
- Poor personal hygiene and employee health
- Food from an unapproved source
- Cross contamination between raw and ready-to-eat food
- Lack of food safety knowledge by the person in charge
Non-critical items are usually sanitation or maintenance issues and are the items most often observed by the public while dining. While they play an important role in the overall performance of the facility, by themselves they do not directly affect food safety. Examples of non-critical violations could include:
- Dirty floors
- Workers not wearing hair restraints like hair nets or caps
- Dirty non-food contact equipment
- Outside trash cans not covered
When critical violations are noted during an inspection, a follow-up visit is made to ensure they are corrected. If critical violations are not corrected and pose a threat to the safety of consumers then the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is notified, and the process of closing the restaurant begins.
Usually critical violations are corrected before reaching this point, but occasionally a restaurant must close its doors while it makes corrections.
The public is always welcome to contact the health department with concerns or complaints regarding food service establishments by calling (417) 466-2201.
An important part of the inspection process is for the food inspector to test the knowledge of food service managers, and to educate managers on the latest food safety information. It is the managers’ responsibility to make sure establishments have the proper checks in place to ensure that everyday the public receives food that is safe to eat.