Food Program & Inspections
The Environmental Health staff is responsible for licensing and inspection of food service operations and retail food establishments including restaurants, convenience stores, coffee shops, concession trailers, food vending machines, temporary food sales at events, deli and grocery stores. Public health sanitarians help maintain sanitary standards by checking for cleanliness and proper food handling. The State of Ohio requires a minimum of one to four inspections per year (depending on type of license).
Temporary food services and retail food establishments are not held to the same equipment standards as restaurants. However, depending on the menu, the equipment provided must afford proper food temperature and storage control as easy as a cooler packed with ice to an electric cooler. A method to wash your hands must also be provided.
Ohio law requires a food service license for anyone who prepares or serves meals or portions of a meal for a charge or required donation. This includes hot or cold sandwiches, pizza, sloppy joes, etc., but generally does not include operations serving only soft drinks, popcorn, candy bars, snacks, etc.
How To Obtain A Food Service Operation (FSO) Or Retail Food Establishment (RFE) License
Food Service Operation (FSO) and Retail Food Establishment (RFE) license applications are mailed each year at the end of January to FSO and RFE owners/operators by the Division of Environmental Health Services. During the month of February, and not later than March 1, each owner/operator shall make application and submit a fee established by the Holmes County General Health District for the license to operate their FSO or RFE. As a rule, the Holmes County District Board of Health does not transfer licenses between locations or from owner-to-owner.
If a new FSO or RFE is proposed, the owner or operator must first complete a plan review process. A plan review application can be obtained in person or by contacting the Division of Environmental Health Services. The following items must be submitted to the Division of Environmental Health Services for review:
- A completed FSO/RFE Plan Review Application and fee
- Two (2) copies of the plans for the facility
- Equipment specification sheets a.k.a. "cut sheets"
- A menu listing all foods proposed to be served for sale
- State Agency approvals (Building, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire, etc.)
- Any additional information deemed necessary to properly review the FSO/RFE
If plans are determined to be acceptable, the owner or operator will receive a letter of approval and an application for a license to operate from the Holmes County Health Commissioner. The letter will state any conditions, is any, placed on the facility as part of the review process. A copy of the letter bearing a signature of acceptance must be submitted with the application and fee prior to an opening inspection being conducted by a Division of Environmental Health Services staff member. Upon issuance of the license to operate and a successful opening inspection, the owner/operate may commence business activities.
In the event of a change in ownership of a FSO or RFE, the new owner must make application and submit a fee for a license to operate prior to conducting any business activities. So long as the type of FSO or RFE remains the same and/or no more than twelve (12) months has passed after the expiration of a license to operate, a plan review process is normally not necessary. However, a plan review process must occur if the type of FSO or RFE is proposed to change and/or more than twelve (12) months has elapsed after the expiration of a license to operate.
To obtain a temporary license, complete the Temporary Food Service Operation or Retail Food Establishment Application.
Foodborne Illness Complaints
We investigate foodborne illness complaints from the public. You may notify us by phone, in person or by clicking the button below.
Email Sarah Burkholder, RS or call 330-674-8422.