Wondering how your favorite restaurant handles food safety? The Western UP Health Department makes inspection results for local restaurants available to the public. Reports provide information on the conditions observed by a sanitarian at the time of inspection, and may not reflect corrective actions or current conditions. To view local restaurant inspection reports, please click the link below.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Restaurant Inspections:
The WUPHD Environmental Health Division inspects food service establishments. Examples include:
- Night Clubs
- School Cafeterias
- Worksite Cafeterias
- Coffee Shops
- Donut/Bagel Shops
- Ice Cream Shops
- Rental Halls
- Catering Kitchens
- Private organizations serving the public
Establishments can be fixed or mobile, and long-term or temporary.
How often is a food service establishment inspected?
According to Michigan law, food service establishments are inspected as follows:
NORMAL Inspection Frequency: Establishments that operate year-round shall be inspected once every six (6) months.
SEASONAL Inspection Frequency: Establishments that operate nine (9) or fewer months each year shall be inspected once per season of operation.
The inspections described above are ROUTINE inspections. One or more FOLLOW-UP inspections may take place shortly after a routine inspection to verify that violations have been corrected. No matter the inspection frequency, all routine inspections are unannounced. The dates of follow-up inspections, however, may be told to the operator of the establishment.
What standard does Environmental Health use when completing an inspection?
The standards for all food establishments in Michigan are set by the Michigan Food Law. Food establishments shall comply with this law. The Michigan Food Law has adopted the 2009 Food Code of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the sanitation standard for all Michigan food establishments.
What kinds of violations are there?
Beginning October 1, 2012, a modified version of the 2009 FDA Food Code became effective in Michigan. A significant change for Michigan is how the 2009 FDA Food Code Categorizes food safety violations. When inspectors cited food safety violations prior to October 1st, the violations were described as critical or non-critical violations. Food Code violations are now being described as Priority, Priority Foundation or Core violations. Priority items are provisions in the 2009 FDA Food Code that contribute directly to the elimination, prevention, or reduction of hazards associated with foodborne illness or injury. Priority Foundation items support, facilitate, or enable priority items. When health department inspectors find Priority or Priority Foundation violations in an establishment, the violations must be corrected immediately and a followup inspection is required to verify the correction has been made. Core violations include items related to general sanitation, and facility or equipment design or maintenance. Food establishment operators are allowed ninety days to correct Core violations.
Prior to October 1st, there were two main categories for violations: critical and non-critical.
Examples of critical violations include:
- Absence of a knowledgeable person-in-charge during hours of operation
- Failure to restrict ill employees from handling food
- Failure of food employees to wash their hands when required
- Food employees touching foods that are ready-to-eat with their bare hands
- Failure to cook raw meats to a safe temperature
- Failure to cool foods cooked ahead of time rapidly
- Failure to reheat foods made ahead of time rapidly
- Failure to store cold foods at or below 41oF and hot foods at or above 135oF
- Cross contamination between raw (uncooked) and ready-to-eat foods
- Failure to clean and sanitize equipment and utensils that come into direct contact with food
- Presence of pests in the establishment
- Failure to use, store, or label cleaners, poisons, and other toxic chemicals properly
Examples of non-critical violations include:
- Failure to keep the floors, walls, and ceilings of the establishment clean
- Failure of food employees to wear hair restraints
- Facility or equipment in disrepair
Critical violations are more likely than non-critical violations to lead to contamination of food or to result in illness if not corrected. Each violation listed in an inspection report clearly states whether or not the violation is critical.
In the inspection report, critical violations are listed as “Violation (Critical)”, followed by the name of the violation, while non-critical violations are listed by name of the violation only. Additionally, there is a link for each violation that describes that violation in detail. The specific requirements may be found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code.
Are inspections scored?
Inspections of food service establishments in Michigan are not scored. The best way to judge the results of an inspection is to read the entire inspection report! A perfect routine inspection report would have:
- No Priority or Priority Foundation violations
- No critical violations
- No repeat violations
- No violations overall
A typical routine inspection report may have:
- A small number of violations that are corrected at the time of inspection
- No repeat violations
- A small number of repeat core or non-critical violations
- Few to several violations overall
A poor routine inspection report generally has:
- Several violations that are not corrected at the time of inspection
- Repeat violations
It is important to remember that the presence of violations in a past inspection report does not necessarily mean that an establishment has the same violations today. Furthermore, large establishments with extensive menus will generally have more violations than small establishments with simple menus. This does not mean that large establishments are less safe than smaller ones. So, when comparing inspection reports from different establishments, consider whether they are of similar size and have similar menus.
What happens if an establishment has violations?
A food service operator shall correct all violations of the Food Code by the time allowed in the inspection report. Failure to do so results in either summary or progressive enforcement action.
The Environmental Health Division takes summary enforcement action when the violations at issue pose an imminent health hazard. Summary actions include the immediate limitation, suspension, or revocation of a license to protect public health. Imminent health hazards include:
- Lack of water or electrical power
- An uncontained foodborne illness outbreak
- Severe pest infestation
- Back-up of sewage in the kitchen
- Any other situation in which the public may be in immediate danger
When an establishment has one or more of these imminent health hazards, the health department orders the operation closed, and the operation may reopen only after correcting the violations.
Environmental Health pursues progressive enforcement action when the violations do not pose an imminent health hazard. According to the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act, a food service license holder must be given three (3) opportunities to correct violations before his or her license is limited, suspended or revoked:
Opportunity #1 is to correct violations during the routine and follow-up inspection process. When this fails, the license holder is called to attend an “Office Conference.”
Opportunity #2 is to correct violations immediately following the Office Conference. When this fails, the license holder is called to attend an “Informal Hearing.”
Opportunity #3 is to correct violations immediately following the Informal Hearing. When this fails, the health department limits, suspends, or revokes the food service establishment license. The license holder may request a “Formal Hearing” before the WUPHD Health Board to appeal the action.
How do I read an inspection report?
The following abbreviations are sometimes used by the Sanitarians when writing their inspection reports:
BHC – Bare Hand Contact – Foods that will not receive any further cooking, such as salads, cold sandwiches, and breads, may not be touched with bare hands. Workers must use gloves, utensils, etc. to handle the food.
DM – Date Marking – Foods that need to be kept refrigerated and must be marked with a ?use by? date. Common examples of foods that need date marking are tuna salad, cold cuts, pasta salad and some salad dressings.
FIFO – First In, First Out – This phrase refers to proper product rotation. If the item is the first in the refrigerator (i.e. the oldest), then it should be used first.
PHF – Potentially Hazardous Food – This abbreviation refers to foods that must be kept hot or cold to prevent bacterial growth. Examples of potentially hazardous foods include meats, cheeses, cooked pasta, cooked rice, cooked vegetables, soups, and some raw produce such as seed sprouts and cut melon.
PIC – Person In Charge – Each restaurant is required to have a person in charge at the restaurant at all times while they are preparing or serving foods. That person must be knowledgeable about the safe operation of their facility.
RTE – Ready-to-Eat – This phrase refers to foods that need no further cooking, cleaning or processing to be consumed. Examples include salads, sandwiches, sushi, and pizza.
WIC – Walk In Cooler – This is the large refrigerator that many restaurants have to keep the bulk of their foods cold.
Where can I get more information?
For more information on restaurant reports, restaurant licensing, or food safety in general, please contact the Health Department’s main office at (906) 482-7382.
Also, visit our other Food Safety pages for information on opening a restaurant, food allergies, and more!